Bits & Pieces: October 2015

Pickleball is exploding in Beach Haven, New Jersey

Submitted by Robin O’Brien, USAPA Ambassador – Forked River, NJ

When Candy and Ted Zolcinski returned from Florida in the spring of 2014 their wish was to bring pickleball to Beach Haven, NJ, located on Long Beach Island (LBI), a beach community. Their efforts started as a humble beginning with a handful of players and two courts on a blacktopped playground area of an elementary school.

During the winter months, with their negotiations, the games moved indoors to a local church gym and the growth continued. Reaching out to the Beach Haven Town Council, who embraced their idea of bringing the sport to the community, pickleball took off. With the town council’s support and continued efforts an abandoned roller hockey rink was renovated into six beautiful tournament worthy courts during the early summer of 2015.

Along with a group of dedicated Pickleball lovers Candy and Ted were able to enhance the area further by providing a seating area for spectators, repair a shed to use for storage and refreshments, add new wind screens and place signage on each court. Don Kakastis and Karl Lombel (ambassador), who served as core members from the start also deserve credit as they planned, designed, and, provided labor to execute the details of the newly renovated Beach Haven Recreation Center project.

Pickleball promotion and growth on LBI exceeded the Zolcinski’s expectations and EXPLODED! Since opening day on July 27th, until Sept. 7th, the Beach Haven Recreation Center has hosted 1,700 pickleballers!! It is open six days a week from 9am-12pm.

Even with 55-60 individuals playing each day there was still quick rotation of playing time and socializing. The record number of players on one day was 74! Instruction was held on two beginners courts during the first hour of play, and over 200 brand new players have been introduced to Pickleball.

Candy and Ted have been the driving force behind the promotion and growth of Pickleball in Beach Haven. They have been able to establish a Pickleball following that will spread throughout the NJ, PA & NY areas since so many of the players are from other locations.

Pickleball has been growing throughout Ocean County but I feel sure the growth in Beach Haven has exceeded all others. It was a wonderful Pickleball EXPLOSION!!

Like so many, pickleball has the changed the life of this USAPA member

Submitted by Marian…

I have always been an athlete and physically active. Due to numerous surgeries and injuries, I began to be limited in the kinds of sports I could play. I then developed a serious stomach disorder which limited me even further. Then I was introduced to pickleball and my life completely changed

Due to my stomach disorder, I have to eat small meals frequently throughout the day and generally, when exercising, otherwise I get nauseous and have other gastrointestinal issues. Pickleball is so wonderful because I am able to eat little-by-little (and in between games). It’s the perfect sport for me; it keeps me active which is most important!

It has changed my life in many other ways too. I play almost every day, 3-4 hours a day and I am still working full time. Pickleball has been a tremendous stress reliever and has expanded my group of friends. Our local pickleball family has grown a lot in the year I have been playing and it’s a great group of people. We all love to laugh and have a good time, along with being competitive. I also practice meditation/mindfulness and pickleball is a terrific way to put into practice my training; if you are not focused and being in the “here and now” when playing, you will miss the ball, hit it out or end up doing the dirty dishes in the kitchen area. It’s also been a terrific way to practice “loving kindness” with my fellow beings/players as tempers flare when calls are questioned, etc.

Pickleball has been a huge personal growth experience for me in that it has really built my self-confidence; I believe more than ever that I can do something very physical and be good at it (I won my first 4.0 mixed doubles tournament this summer)! As many of you can relate, I am a pickleball addict and proud of it!!! My co-workers continue to think that I need a pickleball intervention, but I know it will never work – I am hooked.

Pickleball Pay-It-Forward

Submitted by Rick Harpster, USAPA Ambassador – North Myrtle Beach, NC

Frank Kolbe of the North Myrtle Beach Pickleballers identified a great way to use cracked pickleballs under their pickle-it-forward program. After cutting the appropriate sized hole in the ball, Frank places the pickleball over the ball of the trailer hitch on a car or truck. In addition to providing some protection for the trailer hitch ball, it also goes a long way to help promote the game. Great idea Frank!


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