July 27, 2012

Muskegon County Pickleball Brochure

Muskegon County Pickleball Brochure  

The past couple of months I worked at compiling places to play Pickleball in Muskegon County.  With the help of my more tech savvy wife, Irene, and one of our sons, Darren, who was visiting with his family, we made the Muskegon County Pickleball Brochure .

With several others helping me paint, we added to the outdoor sites when I received permission to paint four courts at McGraft Park about a month ago.  It was a request that started about four years ago and finally was achieved. 

Muskegon County Pickleball History

In 2007, I was exposed to Pickleball when shown at a Senior games introduction meeting, and none of us present (including the presenter) knowing how to play, four of us actually tried playing a couple of times and I really enjoyed it. Armed with my little wooden paddle I purchased, and such a rookie and beginner that I was unable to hit a back stroke successfully over the net, I signed up to play at the 2008 Senior games in Michigan.  Actually, I thought four of us had agreed to it, but I ended up being the only one. The experience at the game, in spite of the massacre I incurred that was only exceeded by Custer's last stand, was so much fun! I was hooked on pickleball, and when I introduced it to Marna Kaijala (a formerly ranked tennis player) and to the Agewell Services, it quickly drew an interest.

From then on, with some limited play on a shortened indoor court to a court on a driveway that was more like a wind tunnel, interest climbed, especially when Marna began teaching pickleball classes. Also, a few seasoned pickleball players started showing up who had privately played sparingly, usually when they were in Florida for the winter months.

We ended up having 11 of us attend the Senior games in 2009, and this year, several Muskegon players received medals!

Since 2009, we have also had our own tournament, and have greatly expanded places to play.  We began a phone/email list, and asked everyone to throw in $5.  That money has paid for paint, water at the tournament, tape, and part of the cost for the brochure.

Marna and I ran the Ottawa county Seniors tournament for the Coast Guard festival in 2010 and 2011.  Marna is also in charge again for this year's Coast Guard  tournament.

Thanks to Marna's classes, pickleball has now virtually exploded in Muskegon county.  Thanks to Marna, Darrell VanFossan and John and Peggy DeHoog, our county is now truly fortunate to have several indoor places to play.  It has also expanded to Ottawa county in a big way.

Four years ago I compiled a letter requesting outdoor pickleball courts and sent copies to:  Muskegon, Muskegon Heights, North Muskegon, Roosevelt Park, and Norton Shores. Roosevelt Park and Muskegon responded, resulting in permission for me (with the help of two others) to paint two courts in Reese park.  But first, after presenting pickleball at the Roosevelt Park city meeting, Roosevelt park was excited about being the first place to have an  outdoor court in the county.  They had one court painted and permitted us to tape (and leave it on) two more courts. Since then, the county/township has painted a court at Sodini field in northern Muskegon county, and Muskegon has added a court at Wesley Park.  Plus, of course, we now have the four courts at McGraft park.

The Muskegon County Pickleball Brochure that I made is intended for anyone to find a place and time to play.  They can call one of the site people, or go to http://usapa.org/ with an explanation on the back of the brochure of how to find the Muskegon County sites. Each site director has copies of the brochure available, plus I dropped 50 copies off at the Muskegon Visitors Center.

Respectfully Submitted,
Wayne J. LaPointe
USAPA Ambassador