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Picklemania in Oklahoma City

Posted on September 13, 2021 by under Hobbies, Travel.    

I spent the weekend in Oklahoma City a couple of weeks ago to participate in the Picklemania pickleball tournament held at Lifetime Athletics at the end of August. Sometimes I wonder why I never made pickleball its own category on this blog because that’s mostly what I write about these days. Zumba has its own category but I don’t even spend as much time doing that anymore.

Anyway, Picklemania was a three-day event. Women’s doubles was on Saturday and mixed doubles was on Sunday. There were no singles events but they had a split-age event called 50/50 on Friday night. It didn’t cost that much more to play in extra events so I decided to play in all three. Chris Wilson was my partner for both 50/50 and mixed. Kimberly Howe was my women’s doubles partner.

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Part of the fun of going to tournaments is seeing some pickleball friends that you only get to see at these events. I bumped into Julie and Antonio (pictured above) — a couple of friends I made when I was at the OKC Chicken n Pickle a few weeks ago for Lauren Stratman and Patrick Smith’s clinic. It’s always so fun to reconnect with pickleball pals from other states.

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Several friends from Wichita came down to compete but we mostly hung out with Kimberly and Eric Howe because they were our doubles partners. Eric played with Chris in men’s doubles and Kimberly and I were women’s doubles partners. The two of them, Kimberly and Eric, also played in the 50/50 tournament. We were all in the same division for 50/50 but, thankfully, we were in different pools. Kimberly and Eric were in Group 3 and Chris and I were in Group 2. So we didn’t have to play each other during pool play.

There were 15 teams altogether and they divided us into 5-team pools for the round robin. The first and second place teams in each pool advanced into the single elimination bracket. Kimberly and Eric ended up third in their pool missing bracket play by a few points. Chris and I cruised through our bracket for the most part. There was only one team that gave us a challenge and we ended up having to play them again in the championship.

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Chris and I ended up with gold, followed by William Chaing and Cindy Minard from Tulsa, and then Gene Click and Barbara Mock from Edmond and Oklahoma City in third. William pulled out his chainsaw serve in the championship and really made me look like an idiot. That serve is ridiculous!

Anyway, the format is a bit different. They only play two games in the round robin and the team with the higher total score wins that match. They award bonus points for each game and match you win. And then in bracket play, you played two games in the quarter finals and the team with the higher total wins the match but then in the semi finals and finals the points don’t matter and if it’s split then you play a third game but only to 7 points. It was so different and that one game to 7 is kind of stressful. I mean, sometimes I’m down 7 points before I even start actually playing. It turned out okay for me and Chris, though.

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The 50/50 tournament was on Friday night. The next day was mens and women’s doubles. Kimberly and I looked pretty spiffy in our team uniforms. Our shoes even matched! There were 20 teams in the 3.0-3.5 skill level so they divided us into four 5-team pools. Kimberly and I cruised through pool play. But, unlucky for us, we ended up with several 3.0 teams in our pool so we didn’t really get much preparation for bracket play.

We ended up having to play the gold medal team in the first round. After playing against some lower skilled teams, we really weren’t prepared to crank up our game and didn’t adjust fast enough. Committed too many errors, which we would have gotten away with had we been playing the same caliber of teams as in pool play. Bottom line, we didn’t play our best.

It was really unfortunate because it was a single elimination bracket so, once you lose, you’re out, and I feel like we were fully capable of beating both the third and second place teams. We had already defeated the third place team in the round robin portion, 11-7 and 11-8, so we knew we could beat them. And the second place team were Brandi Richardson and Parrish Gumeringer from Wichita. We play with these girls all the time and I feel like we had a great chance against them as well. Honestly, I think we could have beat the gold medal team too, had we not played so poorly. We really beat ourselves with all the errors we made.

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The guys did much better and ended up with bronze in 50+ men’s doubles. They won their pool and got third based on their total points in bracket play.

Mixed doubles on Sunday was interesting because there were so many teams. There were four teams from Wichita: Brandi and Ty Richardson, Parrish Gumeringer and Ryan Kellenbarger, Rachel McMahon and Kyle Long, and then me and Chris. There were five pools in the round robin portion and each of us were in our own pool so we didn’t have the potential to run into one another until bracket play.

I kind of wish they separated 3.0 and 3.5 because we ended up in a super easy pool and cruised through the round robin (which is not always a good thing). We ended up getting a bye in the first round and had to play a team that came out of a tougher pool and also had to play in the first round so they had some momentum going with a bracket win under their belt already as our very first match. Same story as the previous day. Just made too many errors and got eliminated.

Wichita still took home medals, though. Rachel and Kyle ended up getting silver in 3.5 mixed and Parrish and Ryan ended up with gold in 3.0 mixed. They ended up in the 3.0 bracket because they were third place in your pool. They basically pooled all the 3.0 and 3.5 teams together and then first and second place in the pool advanced to play in the 3.5 bracket and third and fourth place advanced to play in the 3.0 bracket. Parrish and Ryan are a solid 3.5 team so they pretty much smoked everyone in the bracket.

In some ways, since there were more than enough teams, I kind of wish they separated 3.0 and 3.5 rather than pooling them together. It’s great that you get a lot of games but, depending on the group you’re in, they may not be very challenging. And then, when it really matters you end up not being ready to play your best. I know this sounds like a really lame excuse for my poor performance in women’s and mixed but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. LOL.

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As tournaments go, this has to be my most favorite one in terms of cost and location. The entry fees were reasonable and they even provided food — breakfast and lunch! The venue was also top notch. Lifetime Athletics is probably the most amazing gym I’ve ever set foot in. It smells so good in there (probably because the spa is right by the front door). It doesn’t smell like a gym at all.

I loved that we got to play indoors on outdoor tennis court surface so we got the best of everything. We had the perfect playing surface but didn’t have to worry about the sun and wind. I’m totally adding this to my list of tournaments to hit next year, along with the Sunflower State Games (another one that is indoors).

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Anyhow, that’s all for now. Until next time. GNG.

Related Stories

  • Another Weekend, Another Tournament on November 19, 2021
  • Doubles and Bubbles at CNP on February 23, 2021
  • Winter League Tournament on March 19, 2020
  • League Finals on September 21, 2020
  • Picklemania MMXXI on July 1, 2021

  • Replies to "Picklemania in Oklahoma City"

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    S&B’s Burger Joint  on September 14, 2021

    […] weeks ago. The restaurant was conveniently located close to our hotel and Lifetime Athletics where the pickleball tournament was being […]

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    Another Day, Another Dinner  on September 15, 2021

    […] dinner at Industry on Saturday night. It’s another restaurant that was close to the hotel and pickleball tournament venue. It was a really good location for a tournament, actually. It’s in a shopping area with […]

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