Submitted by Melva Barrault

Several members have done Steamboat Mountain Pickleball Club proud by returning from the Western Canadian Championship with medals around their necks.

The group out of Edgewater was in Medicine Hat on July 5-9 when they competed against players from  Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C.

The competition was one of the toughest tournaments that we have competed in. We had a lot of preparation leading up to this tournament because we had a club member who coached us for a solid month to get us ready. 

We have members from our club that live out of province but are faithful in returning to the valley and coming to play pickleball and helping us with skill and technique. Because we have such a small club, we don’t have access to instructors like some clubs from bigger centres, so we cherish any help we are offered.

The game of pickleball is becoming more popular everywhere. It is the fastest growing sport. A lot of people say pickleball is like playing ping-pong as if you were standing at a table. While it might also seem similar to tennis there are a few differences. In pickleball you must serve underhand, also players don’t have to run a lot as in tennis. Pickleball can be played indoors or outdoors. You use a paddle and a ball that has holes in it. Any age can play and it is very simple to learn. This sport can be played single or as doubles. The games go to 11 or 15 depending on tournament rules. There are no ties, as you must win your game by two points.

Tournaments are broken down into age category and skill level.  

The following are the medal winners from our club: 

• Amy Xu/Richard Osborn, Bronze medal age 50-59 mixed doubles

• Amy Xu/Melva Barrault, Silver medal age 50-55 ladies doubles

• Bing Wu/Richard Osborn, Silver medal age 50-59 men’s doubles

• Natalie Sielski/Murray Sielski, Silver medal age 55-56 mixed doubles

• Brenda Hawryluk/Steve Elder, Gold medal age 50 plus – mixed doubles

• Brenda Hawryluk/Gay Harris, Gold medal age 60 plus – ladies doubles

Steamboat Mountain Pickleball Club has 51 active members, so this is quite an accomplishment to return from the championship with this many medals; very impressive from such a small club. Most clubs in the city have 500-plus members.