For the past week, I have been traveling the midwest playing pickleball and giving clinics. As strange as it is to say, after winning prize money in a tournament I am now technically a professional pickleball player. People see me as the expert – they have even asked me to sign their paddles!
On this trip, I’ve played pickleball at all kinds of interesting places and met great people. In Kansas City they took 6 tennis courts and made them into 12 pickleball courts, holding a tournament with over 60 participants and letting me do a clinic. Topeka, Kansas has converted their public tennis courts into 10 dedicated pickleball courts and has plans to make 8 more. In St. Louis, they play in between the pits of a concrete horseshoe pitch at the International Horseshoe Hall of Fame. Edwardsville, Illinois uses an indoor roller-hockey rink. Pickleball is exploding across the country and it’s cool to get to be a part of the movement.
My impression of the midwest is that it’s not the greatest place (sorry, it’s kind of flat) but it has some of the nicest people I have ever met. People all over Kansas and Missouri took me in and welcomed me, almost like I was part of their family after just a couple of days. I went to one family’s house for pizza and the Royals game, I stayed with another guy I had never met and went out to dinner with several others. I’m sure there are people like that in Colorado, but they don’t seem quite as overtly friendly.
I’m now in Arkansas and I’m on to Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma for more pickleball! Keep following my blog to get updates, and check out pickleball at http://www.usapa.org to see what it’s all about. Also, check out Paddletek, the paddle company I am sponsored by and let me know if you are interested in playing pickleball or becoming an authorized dealer.
Here’s another video of me playing in Kansas City!