Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Morris Prokop

PICKLEBALL PLAYERS – Players in the Corporate Challenge pose for a pic during Pickleball Day at the Canada Games Centre May 7.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

ROUSING RETURN – Jeanie McLean attempts to return a ball during a Corporate Challenge match.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

COMPETING PADDLES – Sabrina Clarke, left and her mom Yvonne both attempt to return the ball during a Corporate Challenge match against Paul Dabbs and Scott Berdahl.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

TRIUMPHANT TWOSOME – The Snowline Gold team of Paul Dabbs, left and Scott Berdahl won one of the Corporate Challenge groups.

Pickleball Yukon holds second annual Pickleball Day

Pickleball Yukon held their second annual Pickleball Day at the Canada Games Centre on May 7.

By Morris Prokop on May 15, 2023

Pickleball Yukon held their second annual Pickleball Day at the Canada Games Centre on May 7.

The day consisted of a Family session, followed by an Adult/Youth session.

Twenty-four people took part in each of the events for a total of 72 participants.

The Star stopped in for the Corporate Challenge, which ended the day.

Ed van Randen and Paul Payne of Yukon Health and Social Services won one of the corporate groups.

It was the first time playing the sport for van Randen.

“It’s fun. It’s a lot like tennis and ping pong and badminton all combined. So I’m having a good time.”

Payne has played a few times. “I love it too. It’s really fun.”

van Randen said, “I’m actually sweating pretty hard. I’m surprised by that. I guess it’s kind of billed as a seniors’ sport but … my heart’s beating hard and I’m sweating. It’s a real cardio workout.”

van Randen has played racket sports his entire life.

“I had to give it up though, because my knees are quite bad and this feels OK on my knees, so far.”

Payne added “It’s been a fun afternoon.”

Yukon Education Minister Jeanie McLean and her husband Rick were playing for the first time.

“We haven’t won a game yet but we’re having fun, we’re learning,” said Jeanie. “That’s the whole point of the day, I think.”

“I’ve been wanting to try Pickleball because everybody’s talking about it,” said Rick.

Whitehorse Mayor Laura Cabott and Keri Rutherford, program supervisor for the city, also came out to play.

“It’s pretty fun,” said Rutherford.

“Totally fun,” added Cabott.

This was Cabott’s first time playing. Rutherford has played a few times.

“You get your heart rate up a little bit and work on some coordination. It’s good,” said Cabott.

“I haven’t learned how to keep score yet. Year two,” she joked.

Cabott said she thinks she would like to play again.

“The pickleball club, they are so assertive on getting people out to play, because they have a good game.”

Yvonne Clarke and her daughter Sabrina came for the second straight year.

“It was really fun,” said Yvonne. “Sometimes I make mistakes and it’s frustrating but the more I relax, the more I get the points.”

When asked if she was pretty competitive, Yvonne replied, “Yeah, I’m kind of competitive. I don’t want to make mistakes.

“Sabrina’s so calm.”

Sabrina said, “It was a lot of fun. A good social sport.”

Both mom and daughter tried the orientation last year.

“It’s like this is going to be our tradition,” said Yvonne. “We’re learning lots. The more we play, we just get better and better.”

Yvonne said they’ll be back next year.

“Definitely. Absolutely.”

Hector Campbell, vice-president of Pickleball Yukon, said, “I thought it was a great day. Everyone that came, I think, had a good time. We saw a tremendous improvement in skills from all the people that came out. Some had never played before. Some clearly had some prior experience. And everyone seemed to have fun. We didn’t hear any negative comments.

“Really pleased to see some of the younger folks out, like in the family one, because that’s really the growing sector now and the one that’s been slower to start up in the Yukon, but now it’s in full swing. They’re playing it in the majority of the elementary schools now as part of gym class and of course the rec centres in the remote communities have all started playing pickleball, so we’re pretty excited – and that’s what this day was about. To get the awareness out for pickleball. Because it’s now the fastest-growing sport in the world.”

Paul Dabbs and Scott Berdahl won the other Corporate Challenge group.

Pickleball Yukon is planning on doing this event again next year.

They will now move outside to play on the tennis courts at Mt. McIntyre.

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