It’s a special place. If you’ve ever played here, you undoubtedly know what I mean. A little over a year ago, I moved to southwest, Ohio. I knew not a soul. I remember researching places to play pickleball in the area and calling a number listed on the website. I spoke with a very kind lady named Brenda. She was so sweet and welcoming. She invited me to play. I visited shortly thereafter. She saw me, introduced me to others, and made me feel very welcome on that first visit. And I’ve been playing here ever since.
128 Players from 7 States Got to See What I Saw When I was First Introduced to Pickleball in Middletown
Last weekend, Middletown hosted their annual 50+ Pickleball Tournament. And 128 players from 7 states with skill levels ranging from 3.0 to 5.0 got to see what I saw when I was first introduced to pickleball in Middletown.
They saw “family” – a club of selfless individuals who love the game of pickleball, take pride in their city and want each of you to love the game as much as they do.
In 2006, he introduced pickleball to Middletown. If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting him, you quickly realize that Stanley Volkens, Middletown’s pickleball patriarch and consummate ambassador, epitomizes everything that is great about the pickleball family in Middletown.
Pickleball Court Preparations
They saw (actually, they didn’t see because the work was done behind the scenes before the tournament) many volunteers headed up by Tony Brewer – who performed weeks of back-breaking work to get the courts ready for play. Uniquely, the courts in Middletown are not maintained by the city – instead, it is by the donations and sacrifice of its members and sponsors. Many were on their hands and knees patching, power-washing, painting, and striping the courts. When Tom Brokaw coined the term, The Greatest Generation, I think he was referring to the sacrifice, pride, and hard work of these volunteers.
Tournament Directors, Volunteers and Drones
They saw a pair of tournament directors in Michell Cook and Gayle Lear who spent countless hours, weeks, and months preparing for the tournament by finding sponsors, food donations, vendors, organizing, generating excitement, planning, and doing everything under the sun to make sure your weekend tournament experience in Middletown was the best possible.
They saw many who performed seemingly thankless jobs – including those who kept score, were line judges, put up signs, announced start times and court assignments, assisted with first aid, took pictures, updated the website, provided free massages and so much more.
They saw a drone capturing tournament footage – much like the video footage captured below by another talented Brewer – this time, Jeremy Brewer.
Behind the Scenes
They saw the hospitality of those who provided chips, pretzels, granola bars, cookies, apples, bananas, oranges, grapes – not to mention pizza, chicken wings, and other snacks. They saw individuals who worked behind the scenes getting water, replacing broken clothespins for the score-keepers, cleaning up after the last matches had been played, and doing everything necessary, no matter how seemingly inconsequential, for a successful tournament showcase.
This is Middletown – a special place. We hope you enjoyed your stay. Stop by any time. See you on the courts.
And by the way, there was compelling action on the courts as well. For complete tournament results, please check out the results at the USAPA.
Todd is the talent behind PickleballMAX. He knows pickleball and demonstrates it on the court as a 4.5 – 5.0 player. In addition to creating content and running the PickleballMAX business, Todd is IPTPA Level II certified. As an instructor at the Ohio Pickleball Academy, he instructs students and runs adult and youth clinics. He also manages tournament desks throughout the tri state for tournaments ranging from 100-500 participants.