Friday, September 28, 2018

Pickleball Festival

Hy-Vee Arena
Last weekend I traveled to Kansas City with some girlfriends to attend the second annual Third Shots a Charm Festival (TSAC2). Last year about 125 people came, but this year registration was capped at 400. The event was held at the newly (almost) renovated Kemper Center, which has just been named the Hy-Vee Arena. While construction is ongoing, TSAC2 was the first event to be held at the center. We had 24 pickleball courts that were striped on the multipurpose wooden floor, though 4 of the courts were almost always taken by group lessons. So 21 courts divided by 400 people = a LOT of wait time to get out to play.

We were invited to a free open play session on Thursday night from 7-9, and it was kind of a zoo. Registration opened at 8:00 on Friday morning, and I caught a ride to the center with some other friends as my carload was not wanting to go that early. We breezed through registration and onto the courts. By 9:00 the place was packed. They had three tables on which to place your paddle in a stack, with each table covering six courts. So the best plan was to look at each table when you came off a court to see which had the fewest stacks of paddles on it. I typically waited about 25 minutes to play, but some people told me that they waited an hour or an hour and a half!

inside the arena
I think enough people complained about the different levels of play (from beginner to pros) that on Saturday the three tables had labels on them - advanced, intermediate, and social. I started out on the intermediate court, which is where I belong, but as the day went on realized that social play had way fewer paddles waiting. So I spent the rest of the day there, and had a lot of fun. They kept the same arrangement on Sunday as well.

double decker bus tour
Friday and Saturday nights they had live music and food for us. The bands were great and so was the food, which I understood came from Hy-Vee. On Saturday you could also take a double decker bus tour of Kansas City, which was fun even though we had the same route and tour guide as last year.

Overall TSAC2 was another great experience in what pickleball is all about, which I refer to as the three Fs - fun, fitness, and friendships. I already have my room reservation for next year!

some of the St, Louis crew

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