Pickleball Medals & Memories

“It’s not the Medals. It’s the Memories.”

Ahhh – the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Every pickleball player has experienced this dichotomy of emotions, whether playing in a tournament or just messing around in rec play. You finally get the opportunity to play against your rival and you either rise to the occasion or you biff it.

Pickleball Tournament Game-Day — The Preparation & Anticipation

I’m someone who has never played in a tournament, but my husband, Todd, has. I have, however, helped him run several tournaments, so I know first-hand what goes into game-day play — the preparation, the anticipation, the nerves, the expectation, the excitement…

If you’re a pickleball tournament newbie, check out our list of the Top 10 Tournament Preparations you should make when playing your first tournament.

As I check players in on the day of the tournament, I can see all of these emotions in the faces of the competitors.

I get asked questions from players wanting to know who they are going to play against, if their partner has checked in, what the game format is going to be, where the snacks are — you name it.

Then I see players who are in from out of town. They are excited to be playing in a new venue against different competition. They likely explored our city the night before and are enjoying a mini-vacation.

I see players come through who are brand new to tournament play. They walk around taking in the whole experience. Then I see players who are seasoned veterans. They are experienced, dialed in, and raring to go.

Fun — Even if a Pickleball Medal Isn’t in the Cards

As the tournament day goes on and teams get eliminated, I watch them pack up and get ready to leave. Many times, players will stop by the tournament table and mention how they enjoyed the experience even though they were out of the tournament and heading home. They enjoyed the competition and the new friends they made. They were happy the tournament ran smoothly and they enjoyed the food.

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Medal Matches — In the Zone, Baby!

As the day goes on, I watch the medal matches. Many of the players are now in the zone. They are playing, perhaps, the best they ever have. Serves are going in. Returns are hit deep. Drop shots are landing softly and unattackable into the opponent’s Non-Volley Zone.

Some win their very first medal while others have won their 25th.

Medal stand pictures are taken and posted on Facebook to be shared with everyone they know.

Pickleball Tournament Management

Keep Winning and Losing in Perspective

Whether you win or lose, the game of pickleball creates many memories. I was reminded of that recently by a gentleman who plays locally and travels to warmer locations in the winter. He has played a ton of tournaments and has medaled in many. As his picture was posted on Facebook with people congratulating him after yet another win, he commented that “it’s not the medal, it’s the memories.”

Todd and I couldn’t agree more. Whether you win a pickleball medal or lose, pickleball provides some great memories.

What memories have you taken away from the tournaments in which you have participated? Please let us know in the comments below.

About Teresa

Teresa is the idea-maker behind PickleballMAX. Teresa joins Todd to manage and market PickleballMAX. She creates pickleball content and assists with pickleball tournaments. In 2023, she wrote a pickleball devotional book titled Pickleball Is [Not] Life

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  1. Piece of advice for tournament goers…After you lose, and often you will, don’t drive off thinking about the loss. Hang around and support the Medal matches and you will be in the company of a lot of losers. Those that lose and hang at the venue to volunteer or support freinds moving on are the nicest people you will meet.

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