Langley’s Harvey Joseph has been playing pickleball for five years. Prior to that, the 73 year old played racquetball for 30 years.
To his surprise, the sport not only keeps him fit but also engaged with the community.
An experienced player, Joseph now organizes tournaments in Langley like the Douglas Park Pickleball Charity Tournament, which took place from June 24 to 26, attracting about 208 players and hundreds of spectators.
Returning after two-years, the tournament caught the attention of several people visiting from across B.C. Even after trying to accommodate all, 32 players had to be put on a waitlist, said Joseph.
The charity tournament raised funds for Douglas Park Community School, and Joseph’s goal was to give the school at least $10,000. From registrations alone, about $12,000 was raised, but Joseph said operating expenses are yet to be calculated.
With a huge number of people attending the event, Joseph was not much worried about achieving his goal.
In addition, Douglas Park Community School Society volunteers served hotdogs and burgers for $5 each, all to contribute to the tournament’s fundraiser tally.
For Cloverdale’s Kerry Endacott and Surrey’s Janice Dierker, Saturday was a day to dominate the court. The ladies in their sixties teamed up to win a “tough” match, beating a much younger team.
“We are very happy to squeak out a victory, and the best part for me was playing with this gal,” said Endacott, pointing to her partner.
Dierker shared similar sentiments and added that she was proud to see money going to such a great cause.
While one side of the park was crowded with players, spectators, vendors, commentators, and organizers, Jim McGregor, vice-chair of the Douglas Park Community School Society, managed a busy concession with his team.
Proceeds from the hotdog and hamburger sales would return to society, which will use the funds for school and student development projects.
Without a parent-teacher group, McGregor said that society plays that “important” role in arranging field trips and other projects.
“It is a great event today and a good deal for everybody,” he concluded.
The Douglas Park pickleball tournament, first held in 2019, was temporarily halted. But, Joseph said it will be an annual event from now.
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