Tourna-net triumphs: Pickleballers come out to play

Mar 24, 2024

On Saturday, March 23, 16 of the best pickleball players on the South Coast descended on the Gleason Family YMCA for a St. Patrick’s Day pickleball tournament. 

While participants gave it their all to try and bring home the win, the social nature of the sport kept the atmosphere friendly. 

Chuck Rossiter said the tournament was “pretty casual,” though it did have some elements which affected his play. 

Rossiter said he wasn’t used to playing to seven points, and found that to be a challenge. Additionally, he said the tournament hopefully helps him raise his level of play and “stop doing stupid shots,” he said. 

Another player, Lisa Orlando, said she has played in a number of tournaments, and that she gets “a little nervous” in each one.

“The tournament was a nailbiter,” said tournament organizer Dan Butler. “After 60 grueling games, the final placement on the victor’s podium was decided by a single point in the final game.”

Ray LeComte of Wareham took that point to take gold in the tournament, beating out silver medalist and Marion resident Wistar Wood. Onset resident Katie Frink took home the bronze medal. 

While the competition got fierce, contestants emphasized the sense of community that comes with playing pickleball. 

“You are going to meet 85 new friends you didn’t know you needed,” said Erin McHugh, a participant in the tournament and author of the book “Pickleball is Life.”

“Pickleball’s very welcome, everybody’s very kind,” McHugh said. 

Rossiter said he’d played racquetball all his life, but it was a much more physically demanding sport and not as popular as pickleball, so he made the switch. “This was a good alternative, and it’s very social,” he said. 

Tournament organizer Dan Butler said the competition raised over $400 for the YMCA’s pickleball program.