Like many towns across the U.S., Klamath Falls is truly an up-and-coming pickleball hotspot. Three large outdoor and two indoor court facilities make up a wide range of possibilities to play year round.
Members of the Mt. Shasta Pickleball Club competed at a tournament in Klamath Falls, Ore., on Oct. 25-27.
‘Keep the Faith’ was on the bright yellow server wristbands as the Klamath Falls Pickleball Club put on an emotional fundraising tournament.
Donations went to young Faith’s family to help with the expenses incurred in the arduous race against terminal childhood cancer. Sadly, five-year-old Faith passed away in early October.
Like many towns across the U.S., Klamath Falls is truly an up-and-coming pickleball hotspot. Three large outdoor and two indoor court facilities make up a wide range of possibilities to play year round. Only the outdoor courts could manage this devoted crowd of players and spectators who braved the elements for a good cause.
Unfortunately, the heat was nowhere to be found by the end of three days of play. Weather would not be a deterrent for this worthy purpose.
The four new tennis courts at Henley High School were lined with pickleball tape to create eight pickleball courts, using temporary nets. The same set up was recently used for the successful Mt. Shasta Pickleball Club tournament in September and the Klamath Club used several ideas from the recent MSPC event.
The games began on a brisk Friday morning after players and volunteers sang the Star Spangled Banner and four F15 jets flew over on cue.
Women’s doubles participants showed up for gorgeous weather (70 degrees by afternoon) on Friday. By Sunday, it was quite a different story with temperatures plummeting and windchill factor unthinkable. Pickleballers are a determined lot for a heart-tugging cause.
Friday saw the MSPC team of Susan Waller/Claire Meranda take silver in the 3.5 division Round Robin with a stack of wins and several close games followed by a nail-biter playoff for gold/silver. The four players giggled like youngsters following the stress-filled final 23-21 loss. The gold medal winners from Klamath Falls (Jules and Barbara) also wore their blue Mt Shasta Pickleball tourney shirts so the camaraderie level deepens.
Saturday play started a great deal cooler and much more wind. This sport is especially challenging in the wind because the ball has numerous small holes in it similar to a heavy-duty wiffleball. A player must keep a close eye on the ball and predict where it will land since the wind can be strong enough to blow the ball in a flurry of directions.
Saturday afternoon, Sooz Waller and ‘Smitty’ Brummel-Smith played in Mixed 3.5 Doubles against five teams and struggled with shots flying out of bounds as they adjusted to the weather issues. Although they struggled to get to 14 (out of 15) first against two teams, they ended up relinquishing the lead and losing those games. So they missed getting into the medal round by “only 1 ‘stinking’ point,” Waller quipped.
On Sunday, Men’s Doubles play started at 10 a.m. in 33 degrees weather with north wind at 10-20 miles per hour. It was strange to see pickleballers dressed in down jackets, ski caps and hoods.
Lee ‘Maytag’ St. Pierre (playing in his second tournament ever) and Ken Brummel-Smith competed in the Men’s 3.0 Doubles. At one point their opponent lobbed a very high ball over Maytag’s head. He took off running back towards the baseline, only to have the wind blow the ball almost all the way back towards the net. However, they persevered and took the silver medal for second place.
All in all it was a successful event that hopefully eases the pain as both family and friends ‘Keep The Faith.'