When Mike moved to Arizona in 2008, he enjoyed playing tennis, but he was sidelined for many weeks with an Achilles tendon injury. After healing and later injuring his tendon again, a friend suggested he try pickleball when he was well. Mike was skeptical, but he agreed to try it. He visited his friend at Pebble Creek in Goodyear, AZ, and they headed to the courts. Like so many of us, Mike says, “As soon as I picked up the paddle, I was hooked.”
Mike began to plan a way to get pickleball at Vistancia. It began as most start-up pickleball endeavors do: he chalked lines on a basketball court that didn’t see much use, obtained a portable net through the USAPA’s Grant Program, and began recruiting players. Soon there were ten to sixteen regulars who played at least once a week.
Mike approached the HOA Board and asked for approval to paint semi-permanent lines on the basketball court. The HOA was receptive, and the pickleball players now had a place to play, as long as they shared it with the basketball players.
Eventually, the HOA agreed to give the pickleball club use of one of the tennis courts and they were there for about a year. I asked how that went over with the Tennis Club, and Mike chuckled. He said that it wasn’t well received, but what made it even worse was that his wife was the President of the Tennis Club! He also said the HOA refused to tell her about their decision, insisting it was up to Mike to break the news. He said he was in the doghouse for quite a while.
In time, the noise became an issue, and the club and HOA began looking for another open space that would hold four courts. The developer, Shea Homes, agreed to proceed and procured a bid of $70K to build the courts. The Pickleball Club said they would bring half of that (and in fact they raised $40K).
But when actual plans were finished, the cost skyrocketed to $214K, which included $40K for a sound wall to satisfy surrounding residents’ concerns. Devastated, the club turned to back to Shea, but the builder wouldn’t go forward at that cost. After much discussion regarding the terms of the contractual arrangement and even threats by the residents to picket, or worse, the Shea Homes Area President called Mike and said Shea had agreed to add $100K toward the courts and suggested that the plans could be redone to save costs.
Fast forward to one year ago December, when the four beautiful pickleball courts became a reality. Now, the club has organized play, with many scheduled activities on a daily basis. They held their first tournament last fall, and they’re hosting a USAPA-sanctioned tournament in October 2015. Mike is also a USAPA Ambassador for Peoria North.
Kudos to Mike and the others in the Trilogy at Vistancia Pickleball Club whose efforts paid off for so many others to enjoy. It’s the dedication of these star pickleballers that help make the sport so great. Thanks, Mike, for all you have done and all you continue to do for the sport of pickleball.