On Sunday, April 14, from 2 to 4 p.m., 24 Case Western Reserve University students gathered at the Veale Track Area to participate in the Student Dietetic Association’s (SDA) Pickleball Tournament Fundraiser. The association offered a cash prize, which was 25 percent of the revenue, to the tournament winners: freshmen Niko Flores and Erwin Pang.
Pickleball is a racket sport that is often described as a combination of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. The court itself has the same dimensions as a doubles badminton court, but has a net mounted two inches lower than tennis nets. The rackets used are hard paddles. The ball used is essentially a smaller version of a whiffle ball.
One main difference between pickleball and tennis is that the ball travels at one third of the speed a tennis ball does and the court is one third of the size of a tennis court. As a result, pickleball is considered to be a sport that is more accessible to players.
All the proceeds from the event were donated to the Children’s Hunger Alliance. The total amount of money raised from both the tournament and the bake sale that SDA held was $150.
“I’m really grateful for everyone that showed up to SDA’s first annual Pickleball Tournament. I think this tournament was a great way for people to have fun while fundraising for a great charity,” said vice president of SDA, Judy Chen.
Children’s Hunger Alliance is known for providing nutritious food for children and helping teach healthy eating habits. They do this by providing meals to childcare homes and after-school programs, increasing access to healthy food during the summer, and educating students about healthy food choices and exercising in life.
Students paid $8 for a standard team of two. They were able to compete either competitively in a single elimination bracket or just for fun separately.
“Everything went very smoothly, and it was organized,” said chief organizational officer Pranav Sarda. “The 24-person turnout was kind of expected, as this was the first tournament, along with the fact that pickleball is not yet a very common sport. I am satisfied with how it went this year and I feel we can improve on it next year.”
For next year, SDA plans to enhance the event with food for the spectators and participants, playing music during the tournament, possibly having officials regulate the game (or at least the semifinals and finals), and accommodating CaseCash as a method of payment. They are also looking into a better time for the event. While pickleball may be unfamiliar to the average student, it is the cause that SDA hope everybody will recognize.