, 2022-08-14 23:00:12,
The pickleball courts at Linn-Benton Community College in Albany were packed this weekend with competitors in the Oregon Senior Games.
Pickleball organizer Kathy Rambousek said that last year 136 players signed up to play in the tournament, which includes men’s and women’s singles and doubles, as well as mixed doubles, in a variety of skill and age brackets. This year, 210 players competed in the tournament, which was held Thursday through Sunday.
“We had a couple come from New Hampshire just to play pickleball in the Senior Games. Their goal is to play in all the Senior Games states that will allow them. We had a number of players come from Hawaii to play, as well,” said Rambousek, who is the Northwest Coordinator for Pickleball is Great and organizes tournaments in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
The Oregon Senior Games are open to competitors 50 and older, with separate brackets for those 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, and so on, as long as there are enough competitors to form a bracket.
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“Once you get to a certain age you want to play within your age and that’s what the Senior Games gives you. We’re going to see some 85-plus players, where you will not see them at regular events,” Rambousek said.
Andrew Carrell, of Kona, Hawaii, and Karen Curry of Portland teamed up in the 60-64 age division of the recreational mixed doubles. She has been playing pickleball for three years while he has been playing for just a couple of years.
Carrell is a table tennis player and one day he soundly defeated a friend who suggested they try pickleball, instead.
“Played it, hooked,” Carrell said, adding that table tennis was great preparation for pickleball. “The paddles, the strategy, a lot of it translates well. A lot of ping pong players and tennis players do well.”
Curry previously played racquetball and has always enjoyed sports, so she picked up pickleball quickly. The duo blitzed their way through their pool on Saturday, going 4-0 in their matches.
But for Curry, pickleball is more about the friendships that can be built than the competition.
“I watched a lot of people playing and having fun and then I got to retire. It’s something to do in retirement,”…
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