If you’ve played in Pickleball tournaments, then you probably know about the USAPA Ambassadors. They’re 1,700 strong, spread across the USA into 11 regions.
When they’re not volunteering at tournaments they are:
Gary Gossett, USAPA Ambassador for Simi Valley, CA, located about an hour northwest of LA, didn’t play sports growing up. His Dad thought watching sports on TV was a waste of time and put his kids to work.
(What time is college bowling on ESPN 4 tonight?)
How does someone that didn’t play sports growing up become a USAPA Ambassador at age 67? A woman of course. Gary’s wife, Pippa, played tennis for years and about 4 years ago received a flyer in the mail from the Parks & Rec department about a new sport being played at their rec center. The flyer said Pickleball is open to any residents age 50 or older. (Really?)
Not being 50, she held onto the flyer but kept playing tennis. About a year later, Gary took Pippa to a picnic lunch next to the tennis courts for her 50th birthday. While sipping champagne and smelling the roses Gary brought, a passerby commented on their romantic lunch. As they were talking they noticed their new friend was carrying an odd-looking tennis racquet.
Gary: “Where are you going?”
New friend: “To play Pickleball”
Pippa: “Really? I turned 50 today, so I guess I can play”
New friend: “Huh?”
Gary and Pippa stuck their heads in the fence of the courts and both were sold. They immediately bought wooden paddles and started playing. After a few months, they were playing daily and upgraded to graphite paddles.
Like many players, Gary’s love of Pickleball went from 0 to 100 almost overnight:
Why did Gary want to become an Ambassador? “I fell in love with the game and the people.”
What advice does he give new players:
Congrats to Gary and all the 1,700 Ambassadors growing the sport of Pickleball!
© Quick Pickle 2018
Never has a sport come onto the national scene and grown as quickly as pickleball. As most people that play the sport know, finding a consistent and available location to play is the drawback to the explosion. Even with an estimated 6,000 places to play it can be difficult finding courts nearby. Cities, towns and recreation centers are trying to accommodate players with new courts, but that requires funding.
Whichever holiday you celebrate, it’s that time of year!
We’ve put together the pickleball holiday gift guide whether you need a present or you have a pickleball addict in your life.
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