A few days ago I asked my blog subscribers what did they want to learn more about? Quite a few asked, “When will play resume?”
Today is April 22, 2020. The world is a different place. Where ever you live, you are asking, when can I resume outside activities? When can I play pickleball? Will my upcoming tournament / camp / trip be canceled? So many questions. So with that, I asked a few of the pickleball leaders around the country that make their living on these exact questions. Let’s hear their thoughts, and remember these insights are relative to where we are TODAY, April 22.
#1 When Will Your Tournaments, Camps, League or Tours Resume?
#2 What’s the Big Picture or Inspiration to Share with Players
Melissa McCurley, President, PickleballTournaments.com
#1 I am hopeful that we will be back for the Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships 10/31 – 11/7. Some states that are not as hard hit may be able to host events before then, but it’s so fluid that every 30 days requires another review of the situation. In the meantime, we encourage all to follow recommended guidelines to stay healthy and well. #PickleballStrong
#2 Stay in faith and though the impacts are unique to our own situations know there is purpose in what we are all going through. Don’t miss your purpose.
Fred Hartzman, Club Director at Indian Wells Tennis Gardens (Home to USA Pickleball National Championships)
#1 Obviously that is the million-dollar question that all pickleball players want to know. I think as much as we are all itching to get back on the court we must adhere to the safety precautions enforced in each County and State.
We/Indian Wells Tennis Garden was less than 18 hours away from the start of the BNP Paribas Open, one of the biggest professional tennis tournaments in the world. We had to come to the decision to cancel the tournament because of safety issues with regards to players, fans, staff, and volunteers. Safety has to be the number one priority and we just felt it was not safe to proceed with the tournament. We relied on medical experts to help us with that decision.
That same thought process needs to be taken when considering at which point pickleball tournaments and camps can be held again without danger to its players, staff, volunteers, and fans.
My best guess would be tournaments would begin in June with a limited amount of participants, probably 50 or less. I think camps could start at the same time with limited participants as well. I think we will know more by mid-May where we are at with a number of new cases and if the curve is flattening. Hopefully, by September/ October more bans will be lifted and the infection rate is down and tournaments will not be limited to the number of participants.
#2 Big picture during this lockdown is how much we miss this game and I think how much we miss the friendships we’ve made because of this sport! I think we all will appreciate the time on the court more than ever once we can play again. We are hoping that we will be able to host Nationals starting Oct 31 and I think everyone will be excited to not only play in Nationals but get back to playing tournaments around the country and renewing friendships and making new ones.
Daniel and Jon Moore, Brothers and Co-Owners, Pickleball Trips
#1 We all have cabin fever and want to resume camps/clinics as soon as we possibly can! However, our customers’ safety is our primary concern so we don’t want to rush back into things before it’s safe. We are reminded by this pandemic that there are things more important in life than pickleball, but also that pickleball is such an important part of our lives that we want to get back to it as soon as we can. Please stay safe and we hope to see you somewhere in the world soon.
#2 What makes traveling so special are the adventures we share with each other and the relationships that are built along the way. If nothing else this crisis has been a reminder to cherish the moments we do have together, whether on the pickleball court, in another country, or sharing a meal together.
Russell Elefterion (Coach Russell), Owner, Suncoast Pickleball Association
WHEN to resume activities is the BIG question. I’m trying to follow my current state guidelines here in North Carolina but I know when things resume, things will be changing. I already have a tournament planned for October using 4 of the 8 available courts. Likewise with the “Boot Camps” we will make concessions to practice social distancing not only on the courts but with all the socials planned each night!
Mike Hoxie, President, Pickleball Is Great Inc.
#1 We are optimistic that we will be returning to the courts when it is safe for all. As we all know, each area of the country will reopen differently, where we encourage local partnering to have tournaments and camps return. We will strongly encourage all participants and facilities to continue to use preventive measures. We have tournaments planned in multiple states starting the last weekend of May. Our plans are for returning in June to mid-size tournaments (under 200) in Washington, Oregon, and California. In July, larger potential events of 300+ players in Hawaii, Washington, and Idaho are planned. We are very excited to be returning to Bainbridge Island in mid-August as this a must-go-to tournament for every pickleball player.
#2 We want players to know that we are going to thrive, not just survive. Participation will improve as there will be more tournaments to choose from every weekend in the second half of the year.
I wish to thank Melissa, Fred, Daniel, Jon, Russell, and Mike again for taking the time and sharing their thoughts.
I also wish all those businesses involved in pickleball the best. Different times require owners, employees, and even players to pivot and adjust to make it work. Oh yeah, start designing your gameday pickleball mask!
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