Thursday, May 12, 2022

The PPA Comes Our Way

Last week the PPA North Carolina Open was held at LifeTime Charlotte. PPA stands for the Professional Pickleball Association, so that meant that many of the leading pros in the sport would be coming to Charlotte. Jim and I decided to volunteer on Sunday, since it was Mother's Day and we figured they would have a hard time fining volunteers on that day. We also offered to host one or two pros at our house.

Collin Johns & Patrick Smith
Because we have two extra bedrooms and bathrooms, Collin Johns and Patrick Smith took us up on our offer. Both are in the top ten of male pickleball players in the world, and had partnered up for men's doubles in this tournament. They also each played in mixed doubles.

As volunteers we could come on any or all of the days to watch play. Our guys had no games on Thursday, so Jim made them a nice breakfast while I went to my women's league play. Then they practiced on our courts here before heading to the venue to get some practice in on the indoor courts. Friday they played mixed doubles, and we went on a wine bus tour with our neighborhood. This event had been rescheduled from May of last year due to Covid.

Saturday the guys had their men's doubles games, so we spent the day at LifeTime watching. Someone ended up giving us wrist bands to sit in the VIP section, which was a slightly elevated seating area above the championship court. It was amazing to watch the pros play.

some of the winning pros

Our guys did not advance to the finals on Sunday, but we still had to work so we left them slumbering at 7:00 in the morning. As luck would have it, Jim got assigned to the championship court to check that guests had the correct wrist bands on, and I was assigned to the VIP section. Both of us had great opportunities to watch the gold medal matches of singles, men's, mixed doubles and women's play. It is totally different to watch the games live as opposed to on television or a computer. And to get caught up in the enthusiasm of the crowd was so fun! I definitely would volunteer to help out again, and Collin and Patrick are more than welcome to stay with us in the future. They were a delight to host. I learned a lot from picking their brains, and watching them play. Paddles up!

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