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Pickler Recap: My Time at the US Open

News Stacie Townsend 04-30-2018

This past week, I was one of the lucky ones that had the opportunity to not only attend the US Open in Naples, Florida, as a pickleball fan, but also participate in the US Open as a competitor. East Naples Community Park, where the US Open is held, was quite a sight to see, as almost 50 pickleball courts were filled with passionate pickleball players and fans from across the United States (and 16 other countries). I had the opportunity to compete in two events—Womens Doubles Age/Skill 4.0: 19-49 and Mixed Doubles Age/Skill 4.0: 19-49. I also had the opportunity to cheer on my friends from across South Florida (and other new friends from across the country), who all put on a real show of talent on the pickleball courts.
Here is what I took away from my time at the US Open:

  1. Timely Strategy Can Give You an Edge. As one of the biggest pickleball tournaments in the country, the US Open hosted an impressive line up of pickleball players, including those in the brackets that I competed in. My opponents were tough! What I quickly learned is that a good strategy can give you the edge when playing tough competition. However, the key is finding that good strategy quickly. The quicker you figure out your opponents and make adjustments, the more successful you will be. If you cannot figure out your opponents quickly, you may find yourself in a 4- or 5-point deficit, which is tough to come back from. 
  1. The Pickleball Community Is Passionate. Thousands of people were in Naples, Florida this past week for the US Open. Pickleball players, fans, supporters, spectators, vendors, coaches and media were all present in some capacity, and all of these people were passionate about the sport of pickleball. It was apparent from the loud cheers, the excited smiles, the fist pumps, the high fives, the greetings, the social media posts and the overall buzz in the air. The US Open was a great display of why our sport of pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the world—and, I do not see the growth of pickleball slowing down any time soon! 
  1. Pickleball Players Are Absolutely Amazing! The US Open reminded me of why I fell in love with the sport of pickleball, as my opponents and my friends that competed are the kindest and nicest group of people that really know how to have fun. Don’t get me wrong, we all competed and were gunning for gold, but my pickleball opponents and friends did it with class. Thank you to all my opponents and friends for reminding me what pickleball is really about, as your kindness, competitive spirit and sense of how to have a good time is exactly what inspires us here at Pickler.

Before I conclude this Pickler Recap post, I’d like to give a special shout out to my amazing competition, who pushed me as a pickleball player this week. You all are beyond talented pickleball players, and, more importantly, amazing people. I cannot wait until the next opportunity to play with you on the pickleball courts!

Brandi Head
Gale Bagwell
Holly Gonzaga
Holly Rea
Jennifer Wilhelmson
Kim Krueger
Kristen Snider
Leigh Lewis
Lloyd McClendon
Mike Wuerdeman
Mila Sayre
Pamela Cabrejos

I’d also like to give a special shout out to my amazing friends from South Florida, who slayed in their respective brackets and represented our clubs in Delray Beach, Lake Worth and Palm Beach Gardens so well. I had so much fun rooting for each of you this past week!
Lastly, I’d like to thank my partners for the week, Anna Leigh Waters and my dad, David Townsend. Thank you for putting up with every third shot drop and dink, including the bad ones. I know that can be tough for our little ripper, Anna Leigh —for those of you that do not know, Anna Leigh, you soon will! And, dad, thank you for giving your all on every point for me, including your killer around-the-post shot. I cannot wait until the next opportunity to be on the pickleball court with each of you!
Did you attend or compete in the US Open? How was your experience at the US Open? Do you know someone that deserves a shout out? Share with us at!


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