Pickleball players from across B.C. came to Langley for a four-day tournament, in search of opportunities to play, prizes, and to support a local charity.
The 2023 Douglas Park Charity Tournament is the third annual tournament held on the Langley City courts, and raising money for nearby Douglas Park Community Elementary.
There are about 180 players taking part this year, with most, but not all, from Langley and nearby communities.
“The furthest one today, the guy came from Kamloops this morning,” said Harvey Joseph, one of the organizers and self-described “chief cook and bottle washer” of the event.
Another participant came from Vancouver Island.
Posts on a B.C. pickleball tournament website and word of mouth have drummed up interest in the event among players from around the province.
Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in North America. Invented in the 1960s, it took off in recent years, with new courts being built all over the Lower Mainland, including in Langley.
A combination of tennis and badminton, with unique squared-off rackets and a hollow plastic ball, it was taken up eagerly by seniors as a lower-impact alternative to tennis, but it has rapidly found popularity with all age groups.
The tournament in Langley ran from Thursday, July 6 to Sunday, July 9, with men’s and women’s singles and doubles as well as mixed doubles play on various days. On Saturday, a number of local politicians were scheduled to visit.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s a great cause,” said Joseph of the tournament.
He credited Kristina Crosgrey, head fundraiser, with taking on the most work, and with gathering 40 sponsors for the event and the prize draw for participants.
Money from the entry fees and the draws will go towards the local school. In the first two years of the tournament – 2019, and again last year, following an enforced COVID pandemic hiatus, the tournament has raised a bit over $16,000 total for the school.
This year, Joseph was hopeful that they could raise up to $15,000.
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