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Proud to be a Pickler

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Many of the 28 participants in the first ever Stonebridge Friendly Play Pickleball Tournament sported T-shirts with Proud to be a Pickler on their backs.

On Saturday, Nov. 24, 14 beginner-level teams from as far away as Tecumseh, Michigan met at Glendale High School in Tillsonburg to play pickleball, a sport that combines elements of tennis, ping-pong and badminton.

Pickleball is relatively new to this area. Learn to Play Pickleball classes were being offered by Stonebridge Community Service this past summer.

“The idea of hosting a beginner level Friendly Play tournament came about when we were brainstorming ways for our new picklers (someone who plays pickleball) to become more experienced and confident with their play,” said Abby Malott, health and wellness coordinator at Stonebridge. “We are always looking for ways to bring people together for fun and fitness.”

Although pickleball is a sport largely played by seniors, the Stonebridge Friendly Play Tournament encouraged beginner level players of all ages to join in the fun. As a result, the tournament included teams of fathers and sons; seniors and 20-somethings, husbands, wives and friends.

After a morning of round-robin play, the top four teams from each division went on to play in semifinal championship games. In the end, the winning team in the Women’s Double division was Carol Bossenberry and Bonnie Cohoe of Woodstock. The winning team in the Men’s Double division was Andy Hall and Gerald McKichon from London and the winning team in the Mixed Double division was Jane Kemp and Dave Ancil from Brantford.

One of the many highlights of the day included The Friendliest Game of Them All, where the fifth place teams from the Women’s Doubles division and the Mixed Doubles division faced off. In the end William and Pat Campbell of Port Rowan came out on top and were awarded medals for their excellent efforts at the tournament.

Although the medal winners bore some pretty big smiles, it was evident that all of the players were more than happy with their efforts and the tournament as a whole.

“It was a really good experience for our first pickleball tournament,” said Judy McLean, a beginner pickleball player from Tillsonburg.

If interested in learning to play pickleball, contact Abby Malott, health and wellness coordinator at Stonebridge Community Services, at 519-842-3200 extension 209 or amalott@stonebridgecs.com.

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