Board Member Profile: CJ Jermstad
There are numerous factors that coincide with the explosive growth of pickleball over the last few years. The unparalleled work of outstanding individuals is one, none more so than that of CJ Jermstad, one of the most recognizable names and faces in the sport.
As Vice President of the USAPA, CJ is at the forefront of this major uptick in popularity.
First introduced to pickleball by her father Ron, CJ, along with her husband John have been mainstays with the USAPA for nearly seven years. Starting out as a local ambassador in her town of Grand Haven, Michigan, CJ worked her way up with unbridled enthusiasm for not only the sport itself, but for people in general. She quickly became the Great Lakes Regional Director, followed by her appointment on the USAPA Board of Directors as Ambassadors Chair.
Always seeking that next upward step, CJ has been the Vice President for the sport’s governing body since 2017, while John is the Western Michigan District Ambassador. You can also see and hear John on many of the USAPA’s live streaming action on the Internet. “I have always had a passion with our Ambassadors who are diligently working in so many areas including growing the sport and membership,” said CJ. “I thoroughly enjoy interacting and connecting with each one of them. Our Ambassadors have done a remarkable job and they have mightily contributed to the success of the USAPA.”
CJ, who has two sons that live on the central coast of California is normally up before the crack of dawn for an early run and workout at the gym. That motivation has spilled over into all aspects of her life. For almost 20 years, John and CJ have owned the Birch Lodge in Grand Rapids, a popular restaurant/bar that unfortunately suffered a major kitchen fire recently that forced the closure of the popular hangout for a year. It’s been re-built and busier than ever.
Speaking of busy, tournament directors are hard-pressed to find open dates to stage an event. “The number of tournaments being offered and popping up all over the country is exploding. If you visit Pickleballtournaments.com, you’ll see an incredible number of tournaments available to play on any given weekend. It’s becoming very difficult for tournament directors to find a weekend across the country that is not already holding a pickleball tournament. Our 11 Regional tournaments have also grown in popularity. Everyone wants to play and pre-quality for early registration for the Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships.”
With her infectious personality and can-do attitude firmly in place, CJ sees nothing but unlimited potential for the future of the sport. “Pickleball is partly growing by leaps and bounds because of the door it opens to physical activity. The sport is not limited by age or ability and is easy to learn and extremely affordable for families to play. Once people play pickleball, they are hooked. It’s a great way to get moving or continue to move with physical exercise. It keeps your brain sharp and of course it is a very social game. Who doesn’t want to meet new people and make connections in their community as well as across the country.”