Pickleball Points — Pickleball locations below Indian River

Date Published: 
June 2, 2017

Local residents are now learning to play pickleball at the CHEER senior center in Ocean View. Nan Colella, a resident of Ocean View and volunteer in the First State Pickleball Club, has worked closely with CHEER and has now graduated multiple classes of pickleball players.

On a hot summer day last year, she talked local resident Dudley Sluder to lay out and paint lines at the CHEER center, and Dudley recruited yours truly to help him. Once they have learned how to play, Yolanda Gallegos, manager of the Ocean View CHEER, explained, folks can play at CHEER from 10 a.m. to noon every Tuesday and Thursday.

I would like to give a shout-out to folks at Bishops Landing who started developing their pickleball program, which has suddenly exploded like a volcano. Programs are also just beginning at Bear Trap, South Bethany and Salt Pond. Fairway Village and Bay Colony have more active programs, while Bay Forest will likely get under way this summer.

These are all private communities, but I mention them because visiting house-hunters reading the Coastal Point are now specifically looking at pickleball as an amenity. There definitely are other active pickleball communities, and I invite them to send me information — and please be sure to state if they are private or public.

Players from the Ocean View Crew have volunteered to visit local communities and conduct pickleball clinics to help generate more interest, should your community be in the development stage. Drop me a line at vaughn@pickleballcoast.com.

The pickleball outdoor season is opening once again for members of First State Pickleball Club (FSPC) at the dedicated pickleball courts located behind the John M. Clayton Elementary School between Frankford and Dagsboro.

Membership in the First State Pickleball Club — a nominal amount of $25 — insures you receive the latest updates about events such as “Nights with Nan” on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons at 5 p.m. Meanwhile, FSPC is your advocate representing your interests in the county and state.

Last week, I set out with my reporter hat and notebook to get the story about public pickleball courts in the town of Millville. As I was driving past land just off Dukes Avenue, I saw four men doing some heavy-duty clearing and heavy lifting. (A classier guy would have helped them out, but I am the Baron and don’t do lifting.)

The leader of the pack was Steve Maneri, deputy mayor and chair of the Millville Parks & Recreation Committee. He was assisted by Eric Evans, the building code enforcer, Councilman Peter Michel and resident Paul Ducott.

Maneri isn’t a stuffy bureaucrat sitting behind a desk, but a hard-working elected official trying to be a good custodian of public money. I was delighted to see they have created plans for a public park that includes three dedicated pickleball courts under lights. I think it is too early to expect a timeline from Millville about their park and pickleball courts, but I would guess it might be the fall of 2017.

This will be the first visible effort that I am aware of made by any local, county or state official to bring pickleball to this rapidly growing pickleball community. I am hoping pickleballers, from not only Millville but the surrounding area, will check out their website for their next public meeting regarding the park. If you have any applicable skills, let the town clerk know, should they need volunteers. I definitely will keep you posted on future developments at Millville.

Now that Sea Colony is going into summer mode, they will not have their indoor pickleball court available, but I would imagine they will include it again in their winter program. For Sea Colony homeowners, resort guests and summer members, there will be outdoor pickleball in the afternoons on a space-available basis. Information on that program is available at the tennis shop in the tennis center.

The big news this week for many pickleballers living in southern Delaware and along the Maryland border is about the eight dedicated pickleball courts at Ocean Pines, Md. I attended the Ocean Pines Pickleball Club grand opening last Saturday — an event attended by a much larger crowd than expected, which was worthy of coverage by Coastal Point and television, and it is a very fine facility.

Two tennis courts were converted into eight dedicated pickleball courts. The best news is that the public can play for $5 per day. Simply check in at the Rackets Club office and pay your fee. The courts are located at 11443 Manklin Creek Road in Ocean Pines. Job well done, Julie Woulfe, Frank Creamer, Bob O’Malley and the rest of the board.

Note, there are still spots available for intermediates in the Ocean City, Md., pickleball clinic on June 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Some of the best pickleballers in the area are helping, with one instructor per court. Sign up at the Ocean City facility on 125th Street.

With Memorial Day on Monday, my prayers go to all those that have fallen, and thank you to all those who served us in the military, police, fire and first-responders, from the bottom of my heart.

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.