The adage, “if you build it, they will come,” is true in Vistancia. Suddenly the new courts were full of players, and the club continued to grow.
Last year, the group held their first tournament. They set up four temporary courts on space borrowed from the tennis club and arranged with PickleballTournaments.com to oversee the brackets.
The tournament was well attended with 167 players, and many of the locals enjoyed their first tournament. Jim and his coordinators were gratified by the many comments they received afterward, saying how well the tourney was run, how much fun it was, and asking when the next one would be.
Of course, there will also be more sponsors and booths. The Worth Group, Shea Homes, Liberty Buick, and Massage Envy are just a few of the sponsors, and many more have helped make this tournament a reality. If you are nearby and need equipment, come see Selkirk, ZZT Sports, Omni, Paddletek, and many others who will display their goods. The funds from this tournament will go toward creating shade structures over the seating areas around the courts.Jim says his club has about fifteen 4.0-ranked players now, with more on the way. Some of the Trilogy Vistancia residents medaled last year, and he hopes more will again this time. When I asked if he had difficulty finding people to referee, Jim said no—perhaps because the club buys lunch if the refs work four matches.
Talk turned to Jim himself, and I learned that he was sidelined for a while not long ago with a head injury sustained while playing pickleball. He admitted that he used to be a “go for it” kind of guy, and that extended to reaching for a far ball that was too near the fence. The fence got the better of that encounter, and Jim has the scar to prove it. He says he thinks about it more now when shots like that come along.
He also told me that his wife, Sharol, is now a better player than he is, a fact of which he’s proud. Neither of them had heard of pickleball when they moved to Arizona from Oregon in 1999. They both fell in love with the sport immediately. Sharol kept playing while Jim was recovering, and she has surpassed him, although they’ve started playing together again recently, which Jim says he loves.
Knowing how fast clubs outgrow their facilities, I asked if they had visions of more courts in their future. Jim said he's been negotiating with the HOA and Shea Homes again about expansion, and now a new area of Vistancia is being developed, and the builder plans to include both new tennis and pickleball courts.
I enjoyed getting to know Jim better, and I wish all the folks at Trilogy at Vistancia well with their upcoming tournament.