Pickleball Points: Pickle smorgasbord

About 20 percent of survey respondents in this part of Sussex County — 1 in 5 — play pickleball, so I suppose this can be declared a hotspot where it is best to raise and cultivate pickles.

Perhaps it is in the water, because Michael Siegert of the Coastal Communities Pickleball League wanted readers to know that their league, CCPL, donated a thousand dollars to the Delaware Center for Inland Bays, proving that good pickles need and appreciate clean water.

The First State Pickleball Clinic run by Rick Bell was quite successful and emphasized attention to the fundamentals to help catch bad habits before they become too ingrained in your pickleball game. Bad habits are difficult to shake, especially in competitive play.

Beth Kravetz was excited to tell everyone that Sea Colony will continue with the Sunday-afternoon indoor pickleball from 2:30 to 5 p.m. but are adding two more sessions.

The first will be on Monday afternoons from 2:30 to 5 p.m., and two of the four courts will be for intermediates/advanced players. The next added session will be on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 9 p.m. for intermediate/advanced players.

Their new season begins on Sept. 7 and continues to May 19, 2020, except posted holidays. There is no cost to Sea Colony owners, and it costs $10 per session for guests. Play is limited to the first 24 players who have preregistered, and 24 players means 16 in play, eight waiting.

The Peninsula in Millsboro just announced the Battle of the Bays pickleball tournament for men’s and women’s singles, doubles, and mixed doubles on the weekend of Oct. 11-13. Contact Jeff Siegel at (610 637-6124 for more information.

On the other side of the Delmarva Peninsula, in Easton, Md., Nick Papson is running another tournament, the YMCA of the Chesapeake Fall Brawl on Oct. 12 and 13. Nick cautioned that registration ends Oct. 2 and advised that 93 players have already registered. Contact Nick at (410) 913-7129 or Nick.papson@gmail.com.

Steve and Colleen Costa of the Coastal Communities Pickleball League called to say that the community of Salt Pond has joined their ranks for the upcoming season beginning on Sept. 11. Welcome, Salt Pond!

I admire what the CPPL has done and asked Steve to describe the two greatest benefits of their league. He felt that, first, he had to single out the many new friendships that players in the league — mostly newcomers to the area — have experienced almost overnight. The second was how everyone improved their quality of play dramatically.

Speaking of improvement — Mr. Smith, the Mr. Nice Guy of local pickleball, expressed nothing but praise for the enthusiasm of everyone in the county participating in the new Challenge Ladder concept. Quality of individual play has improved remarkably after just eight weeks of play. The next Challenge Ladder will begin Sept. 5, for five weeks.

Charlie Biddle informed me about the upcoming 2019/2020 Indian River School District Community Education Pickleball League for the first 31 players to enroll. Registration can be mailed to Indian River Educational Complex, 31 Hosier Street, Selbyville, DE 19975.

The format is ladder play on Tuesdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the John M. Clayton indoor gymnasium. There will be three distinct sessions, and the first is September through December. Realtor Charlie Biddle, an exceptional player, is the contact person, at charlie@sandcastlerealty.net.

Doug Worman advised that he will again be teaching this season at both Sports at the Beach and The Factory. Folks can schedule lessons with Doug from their websites.

Frank Creamer of the Ocean Pines Pickleball Club announced the creation of a new 20-foot-long shade structure there, with side shades and two ceiling fans. He also announced that there are two lighted pickleball courts for night play. And all still just for $5! He also reminded me they have their Pink Ribbon Charity Tournament for Cancer on Oct. 4.

Speaking of great charity fundraisers, Sue Rattner sent me an invite to her Sept. 23 pickleball fundraiser for multiple sclerosis (MS), from 5 to 8 p.m. It will be a round-robin format, where you get plenty of playing time. They have rented the Northside Park facility in Ocean City, Md. If you want to get involved and don’t know the organizers, send me your inquiry and I will forward it to Sue.

Kathy Casey, president of the First State Pickleball Club, is always working behind the scenes for pickleball. She now is organizing a detailed survey of all members of the First State Pickleball Club, about their needs for indoor and outdoor pickleball requirements. Before she publishes it, Kathy is wondering how she might be able to include all of entire Sussex County in the survey so all pickleballers can be counted. Any ideas?

Kathy also mentioned that in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Jean & Joan Cancer Fund Golf Tournament, to be held at King’s Creek, organizers added pickleball to the format this year. Funds are to support patient treatment at Beebe Healthcare’s Tunnel Cancer Center.

Craig Southard reminded me that Darryl Noble will be conducting pickleball ratings on Sept. 5 and 10, from 9 a.m. to noon, at Northside Park in Ocean City. The cost of the evaluation is $5. This is only for folks who have no current rating. Thank you, Darryl!

Kim Allison of Ocean City called to explain that Ocean City will hold their Fall 2019 Pickleball Tournament on the weekend of Sept. 14 and 15, with the registration deadline on Sept. 2. This might be a nice tournament for those of you who have gotten the competition bug this summer from Mike Smith’s Challenge Ladder.

Eddie Pinto of Ocean City Recreation said he was delighted with the first-ever Ocean City Junior Pickleball Camp.

“They were a fine group and enjoyed the camp” said Pinto. “We thank all the adult pickleballers who loaned or donated paddles for the camp.”

Hunter Nelson of Ocean City Recreation told me about a six-week junior clinic they are planning for fifth- to eighth-graders on Tuesdays, early evenings, Sept. 10 to Oct. 10. I suggest contacting Hunter Nelson at (410) 250-0125 or dnelson@oceancitymd.gov for more information. My thanks to the mayor of Ocean City and his spectacular recreation department for all that is being done to support the wild expansion of pickleball.

Rick Bell, a fully qualified IPTPA Level 2 pickleball teaching professional, advised that he again will be giving private and group lessons this fall. You can contact him at (302) 245-1620 or pickleball1975@gmail.com.

Something very funny happened at the camp in Ocean City. I always dread teaching the scoring of pickleball and all the subsequent questions from some of our senior citizens.

“Why did you decide to do the scoring this way, mister?”

“I didn’t invent the game, lady!”

The one that really makes me laugh: “Why isn’t scoring easy like tennis?”

“Excuse me? Simple like tennis?”

After an hour, when I am pulling the hair out of my head and saying something like, “You do understand, and are just kidding me, right?” Mr, and Mrs. Retiree finally tell me they think they understand pickleball scoring.

Meanwhile, at the kids’ clinic in Ocean City, they understood the scoring and rules in five minutes and were anxious to just start playing the game.

Finally, I just wanted to mention I have several quality paddles with old cosmetics I will sell for an attractive price. Say goodbye to the dog days of August and hello to the pickle days of September.

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.


By Vaughn Baker

Special to the Coastal Point