WELCOME to the first post of the new-as-of-December 2014 Heber Valley Pickleball Club. We are up and running, and going strong. Our Kick-Off party was a huge success, lots of food, wine, information about the club, and general excitement about the game of pickleball. We have elected (by show of hands) officers and committee chairs. The board is as follows:
President: Kris Beer
Vice-President: Barbara Miano
Secretary: Carol Lee
Treasurer: Kay Shean
Social Chair: Leslie Oksner
Training Chair: Mike altieri
Many of us "picklers" had been playing since July on tennis courts in the Midway Park at Valais. After a presentation to the city about the growing popularity of the game and how we needed a place to play, the city council authorized and hired a striping company to paint lines on one of the two existing tennis courts. In early August we convinced them, through a survey sent to players and by the number of people turning out daily to play, to stripe the second court.
It was amazing how many people stopped by to see what we were doing, asking about the fun game with the funny name, and staying to try it out. We typically had extra paddles and learning the basics was fairly easy. Not surprising that once someone started to play, addiction was the next step.
To spread the word and try to grow the sport, we organized a pickleball clinic the second weekend in August. Wayne Bullock, the tennis and pickleball pro from St. George, conducted three sessions of 12 players each Friday evening and Saturday morning. We practiced newly acquired skills in a mini tournament Saturday afternoon, with many coming back for a potluck on the courts as Wayne, his wife Kristi and their daughter continued to demonstrate the game.
Our growing group of regular picklers received lots of tips from Brenda Blackham, who lives and plays in St. George but hangs out in Midway during the summer. When not golfing, she would show up on the courts to play and instruct on technique and strategy. Warren and Susan Dinter, also in Midway for the summer, play in St. George the rest of the year, were great teachers also. Throughout the summer, many other players heard about us and dropped in. We usually filled both courts and often had others waiting to circulate in.
Play continued through what was one of the most fabulous Utah autumns in memory. Some mornings we started when temps were still in the 30's but by mid-morning, we were shedding layers. By November we had moved indoors to the Wasatch County Rec Center in Heber City where 3 courts were striped. More confusing lines as courts were multi-use: pickleball, volleyball, badminton, basketball.
Indoor play required adjustment to wood floor, lighting, no wind (nice!) or weather issues. It is just a little different game. Through the winter we almost always have at least 2 courts of play and sometimes 3. Our training chair, Mike Altieri, has conducted 2 mini clinics to help players learn or improve their game.
Our social chair, Leslie Oksner, hosted our first board get together and meeting. Another event with lots of good food and wine. And the discussion was great too. We will be organizing a tournament later in the season, probably March or April. We hope to have a logo designed and Leslie thought her daughter who is a graphic artist might be able to help. (Erin's design currently is on the blog--fabulous work!)
This is just a brief summary of how pickleball has invaded the Heber Valley and of the club's activities. We will continue to post information about drop-in play, mini clinics, tournaments, and any other news about our fun group. Please post comments to keep the blog alive.