"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulder of giants" - Isaac Newton
We have all seen the sport we love come so far, but often we forget some of the 'giants' who grew and fostered the development of this sport. They did so in it's infancy, far before most of us even knew it existed. In the spirit of remembering those who laid the foundation for this sport, it's my honor to announce the "Memorial Shootout".
This shootout is an evolution of the "Helen Pappas Memorial Shootout" that we held last year in loving memory of Mark and Steven Pappas's mother Helen who instructed and guided so many of the veterans of our local player base. Helen, known as the "Pickleball Queen" at Glenwood YMCA, was a pioneer of pickleball in Erie, starting in her 80s. She played thrice weekly until 88, halted by the pandemic. Besides pickleball, she frequented Nautilus, was a keen pinochle player at the Senior Center, and taught swimming at the old Suburban Y in her youth. A vivacious individual, her absence is deeply felt by all who knew her.
In recognition of the fact that since then we have lost amazing players both near and far, we have renamed the tournament the Memorial Tournament so as to properly honor ALL those who deserve it.
Although the tournament name may be generalized, we still are excited to announce some honorees for specific divisions. We will be offering 6 divisions overall for a one day tournament, no small undertaking, with some novel bracketing.
They will be:
- Jim Whitford Men's Doubles (under 4.0 and above 4.0)
- Helen Pappas Women's Doubles (under 3.5 and above 3.5)
- Memorial Mixed Doubles (under 3.75 and above 3.75)
Jim Whitford was a man I had the pleasure of personally knowing and loving but few in our community loved him as much as my close friend (and boss) Elena, so I requested that she write a short tribute in memory of his passing this year:
"Our men's divisions honor the late Jim Whitford. Jim was a friend to all who stepped onto the pickleball courts with his smooth technique and positive attitude. Jim was over 80 years old, yet still rode a motorcycle to the courts and played multiple times a week. Jim was still playing competitively up until last December when he subbed in last minute to fill a spot for another player who got sick. Jim played 2 hours of open play that morning and still came back to play the round Robin because I called in a favor. I'll never forget his response to my text message 'anything for you'. I miss Jim every day and am proud to have been his friend."
We aim to fill every slot for women's players and believe our revamped skill bracketing will attract more registrations. We've set 3.75 as the threshold for mixed doubles, targeting players on the cusp of reaching 4.0. While unconventional, this level often represents transitioning players. What better way to honor the original inspiration for this tournament than to showcase the huge female player base she inspired!!
In keeping with this being a tribute tournament, we are excited to announce one of the best deals to date for EPPA members. Members will only pay $20 to register for a division with each additional division being merely $10. This is HALF what some of the fees have been previously. Non-EPPA members will pay $40 for registration and still only $10 for additional events.Click HERE to Register