Pickleball Points: Pickles, Ocean City and the spring tournament

I recently sat down with Kim Allison to discuss the third spring 2018 pickleball tournament, May 5 and 6 at the Ocean City (Md.) Recreational Complex at Northside Park. Kim is the recreational supervisor and managed the previous pickleball events at Ocean City.

Ocean City is one of our best pickleball facilities, and it is such a good location for tournaments because of the availability of hotels for visitors, as well as a variety of upscale restaurants.

Again this year there will be Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles in the Open-54 category, the 55-64 category and the 65-Plus category. To expedite matches this year, there will be a Bull Pen (Pickle Pen), a waiting area for competitors next to the tournament director’s table. Players will be escorted to their courts and given an initial maximum five-minute warm-up. Jugs indoor pickleballs will be used.

The Ocean City tournament will be a good warm-up tournament for the First State Pickleball tournament on May 19-20 and then the tournament at Ocean Pines, Md., on June 9-10. There is always an abundance of talent at Ocean City, where there are bleachers, and the general public is invited free of charge to watch and learn more about this fast-growing sport, pickleball.

I recently watched tennis stars Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick on television, playing one another in pickleball, and found it quite entertaining, but ESPN has not yet advised if they will cover the O.C. event.

The number for information is (410) 250-0125, and registration forms are available for download at www.oceancitymd.gov, under Sports Tournaments, in the Recreation Parks section. Call Kim, or email me, if you would like to volunteer to help.

Ocean City is also planning another tournament or special event in the fall. Last year, the tournament was canceled so as not to interfere with participation in the Delaware Senior Olympics.

For the occasional reader, this is the same outstanding location where weekly pickleball play takes place on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, under the supervision of Craig Southard at Northside Park Recreational Center. Call Northside to learn more about open pickleball sessions.

Some pickleball notices:

• A fun community pickleball league is now being planned by outstanding leaders of various pickleball communities in Bethany Beach and Ocean View and the surrounding areas. I will report on that later, but send me an email if you want to learn more for your community. Pickleball7to7@gmail.com.

• I noted on pickleballtournaments.com that there is a tournament at the Easton YMCA on April 7 and 8. I have no other details, but that is a nice indoor facility, and I do know that they attract quality players from across the Chesapeake Bay.

• Sue Brooker announced the dates of the Delaware Senior Olympics, which will be Sept. 7-9 at the same facility as last year, the Kent Recreation Center. This year, it will be the very first officially sanctioned USAPA, and also a qualifying event for the nationals in Albuquerque, N.M. She encourages you to join the USAPA early. It costs only $20 and is a requirement for entry. Sue does a great job running this event, and players from around Delaware look forward to it each year.

Vaughn “The Baron” Baker is a Senior Olympics gold-medalist in pickleball, and is public relations director for the First State Pickleball Club (FSPC) and captain of the Ocean View Crew pickleball community. He spent his career working with top tennis professionals while working for Wilson Sporting Goods and introducing the Prince Tennis Racket and Wimbledon Tennis Lines. For more information, visit PickleballCoast.com.