July 26, 2010

2010 Great Lakes Region Pioneer Award!

Pat Sullivan has always enjoyed starting new things, especially things that help people stay active and fit.

She has in effect been our SE Michigan connection to Surprise, AZ, the home base for Pickleball.

For many of us, she was our first Pickleball teacher and coach. When you played with Pat, you were hooked on the game because of its uniqueness and her unique level of enthusiasm.

In 2007, Pat got us started playing and seeing a small part of her vision for what could be in Michigan, both recreationally and competitively.

In 2008, she sparked the “Pink Ladies” softball team to become competitive Pickleball players and advocates for the game amongst the recreational community across the entire state of Michigan, where we now have more Pickleball courts than any other state. She became a USAPA Ambassador for Royal Oak, MI and its surrounding communities where the game has flourished.

She convinced the city of Royal Oak that she and a few players should paint a court at Upton Park to create the first dedicate court in SE Michigan.

That year, she showed us how important trained referees would be to the growth of competitive play and got us started by teaching our first set of referees for our initial USAPA sanctioned tournaments.

In 2009, she focused her efforts on getting a decision to develop the Whittier Park Pickleball Complex – the first set of eight dedicated Pickleball courts in Michigan and in the entire Great Lakes Region.

She moved the city to commit grant funds to the project and got the project started.

This year, Pat marshaled the efforts of 15 loyal Royal Oak players over 3 months to resurface, paint, and line the 8 courts at the Whittier Park Pickleball Complex which are being dedicated today, July 26, 2010.

Pat has developed an entire program for the Royal Oak community to fully utilize the new Pickleball Complex including

 Skill-based ladders

 Youth and Adult Clinics and Drop-in sessions

 Drill Sessions focused on the “soft game”

 Plans for a 2011 League

 Plans for 2011 skills-based Tournament

Her focus is as much on the 2.5 rated player as the 4.5 rated player in terms of enjoyment and skills development.

She is now a member of the Michigan Skills Rating Group helping players in Michigan tournaments receive the first ratings.

Pat Sullivan is a model for all of us Pickleball Promoters and a most worthy recipient of the 2010 Great Lakes Region Pioneer Award.

Dick Manasseri
USAPA Director
One of Pat’s Many Grateful Students