In July I was hoping all would work out for a quick trip to Bainbridge Island, WA to visit with the last surviving founder of pickleball – Barney McCallum. All worked out!! Alex Hamner and I flew from San Diego to Seattle and for four action packed days we made the rounds to see friends, new sights, new courts and stay with Barney at his vacation home on the island…. Priceless.
Bainbridge Island and a visit with Barney have been on my list – after all it is the 50th anniversary of pickleball. Over the last three years I have had the chance to get to know Barney and have personally visited with him numerous times. This visit was to further understand and document the history of pickleball, hear all the great stories he has to share and celebrate 50 years.
I had a wonderful time. Barney gave us the extensive island tour by car, reminiscing the past and seeing the present. Talked into the late evenings about pickleball past from his memory and Alex’s and my present. Barney absolutely loves this game and is always curious of what is happening, the growth of players and all the new venues. He truly never thought pickleball would get as big as it is today and how it has made so many people happier or healthier. He feels so humbled when players go up to him and thank him for being a part of the sports creation and in some respect changed lives.
In the spirt of giving back (which you all know most pickleball players do often in their volunteering, promoting, teaching, etc.) Alex and I wanted to share our passion and tips by teaching a clinic. While there we had the opportunity to give a clinic on Bainbridge Island, WA to 37 local players. With a two week notice of us coming to town the event was organized by Julie Miller of Bainbridge Parks and Rec – thank you Julie! As usual, we met so many nice and enthusiastic players. Here was the newspaper article: Champion pickleball duo coming to island
So cheers to the players on and near Bainbridge Island – you do have a slice of pickleball heaven!