The second staging of the event that included clinics, a wooden paddle tourney, tours of the original Pickleball Court at Scott and Carol Stovers’ home, and competitive play over several days between players of all ages, was held exclusively at the Founders Courts at Battle Point Park.
The first tournament was staged in 2019 at makeshift courts across the island, but thanks to fundraising and lobbying efforts by island Pickleball enthusiasts eight new courts were built last summer, along with a grand entrance and kiosks celebrating the game’s founding and history.
This year’s tourney drew close to 400 players and was supported by nearly 80 volunteers, said tourney organizer Sean Megy.
“The tournament was an amazing success, even considering the challenges presented by the heat and wildfire smoke,” Megy noted. “An incredible team of volunteers hosted clinics and tournament players for a full seven days. Anecdotal feedback from players that we spoke with (were) very positive. We heard positive responses regarding the tournament, the amazing volunteers, and the island itself!”
The Bainbridge Island Historical Museum sponsored the event in cooperation with the Bainbridge Island Pickleball Community. Proceeds from the tourney and the sale of merchandise – including shirts and hats – will benefit the museum.
Megy’s efforts in pulling together the nearly week-long event were lauded by several players.
“I want to give a shout out to Sean for all of the work he puts into making this tournament happen,” said Andrew Allemann. “I’ve learned what goes into this during the past couple of years, and it’s a remarkable amount of work. Yes, it takes the support of the museum and local pickleball community, but Sean manages to herd all of the cats and handle every curveball that gets thrown his way.”
Pickleball started on Bainbridge in the mid-1960s and Roberts and others are hoping to transform the island into “the Cooperstown of the game.” With the Founders Courts, the grand entrance and kiosks now in place, one could safely argue that they’re on their way!
Pickleball is here to stay!