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Bob Jackson Friendship Tournament

Posted on November 3, 2019 by under Hobbies.    

Bob Jackson passed away in August 2017, long before I discovered pickleball. I kind of wish I would have had an opportunity to meet him. He seemed like an amazing man. I still hear people talk about him today.

Not having met him, all I know is that he loved pickleball. He taught pickleball for the Wichita Parks & Rec department and was a great ambassador for the sport. Those who knew him continue to honor his legacy by hosting an annual Bob Jackson Friendship Tournament. We had the third one this year and I was honored to participate in it for the first time.

I hadn’t been participating in tournaments because I personally didn’t think I was ready. I’m a bit competitive and I wanted to hone my pickleball skills and improve some more before actually playing in one. However, my friend Michael invited me to be his parter for this one which honors a great man and it isn’t sanctioned so it seemed like a good place to start to get my feet wet. (BTW, I’m not counting the pickleball event during the Wichita Corporate Challenge because I was doing that for work and it was just kind of a free for all. You didn’t compete according to your skill level and it was just a fun thing for local corporations to do.)

In the Bob Jackson Friendship Tournament, they had 3.5 and below and 4.0 and above. I’ve considered myself a 3.0 for a long time since I started playing regularly so I didn’t mind Michael signing us up for 3.5 and below. It was actually spot on.

The weather did not cooperate that day. It rained on and off which really threw off the schedule but we got to play some games (some we won, some we lost) and had a lot of fun. And, we honored a great man while raising money for a good cause — lights for the pickleball courts at Edgemoor Park. Oh, and Michael and I looked legit in our team outfits.

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I had recently bought a paddle similar to his so we had matching shirts and paddles! The shirts were Michael’s idea. He got a “Cobra Kai” shirt (it’s the name of the dojo in the Karate Kid movie) from Target a while back and he said they still had some so if I got one then we could wear matching shirts for the tournament. I thought the motto “Strike Hard, Strike Fast, No Mercy” kind of applied to our pickleball strategy and I was just nerdy enough to go along with it. LOL.

I’m not sure how much Michael paid for his shirt but Brian got our shirts for $10 (Brian got one for himself too – he’s like our team manager – LOL). I just looked on the Target website and the shirts are on sale for $8 right now.

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The tournament had a great turnout, despite the weather. This actually isn’t everyone. This is maybe a third (or half at best) of the people who were there. I don’t know that there’s one thing we can attribute to the level of participation for this event. I think part of it is that Bob Jackson is loved and respected by those who knew him and they continue to honor his memory to this day. Part of it is, for those of us who didn’t know him, we just love pickleball so much that we want the sports exponential growth in our area to continue. And, finally, we really want to raise money for lights at the park.

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Here are a few more photos from that day.

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This is my friend Matt. He organized a cookout during the tournament and just helped support the tournament altogether to keep things going.

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I don’t know if I ever told the story of Matt. I met him a couple of years ago through a YMCA staff ping pong tournament. I credit him for my pickleball addiction. When I discovered pickleball last year, I didn’t really know where to play. I didn’t have any friends who played pickleball so I didn’t really know where to begin. He invited me to play pickleball at West YMCA. It’s where I learned the basics of the game and things haven’t been the same ever since. The struggle I had finding places to play and people to play with is actually why we started the pickleball group on Facebook earlier this year (Wichita Pickleball Connection). Selfishly, I wanted an easy way to find people to play with and places to play but the group is actually beneficial to all those new to the sport. Those who want to try the game but don’t have anyone in their friendship circle who plays pickleball can just post on the group and are immediately invited to games. Our pickleball community is amazing!

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BTW, Michael and I weren’t the only ones to sport matching outfits at the tournament. Huyen and Crystal wore matching shirts too.

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As did Bill and Trixie. It’s because great minds think alike!

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Here are a few more pics from the event.

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A couple more matching outfits…

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It was a great day overall and a wonderful first tournament experience. I can’t wait to sign up for the next one!

Related Posts

  • Pickleball Events on September 11, 2019
  • Wichita Corporate Challenge on September 1, 2019
  • Making New Friends on May 24, 2019
  • Help Us Light Up Edgemoor on May 25, 2019
  • The Franklin Pickleball Masters on October 18, 2019

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