top of page

From Monday Madness to Wacky Wednesday to open play at HCC

A group of local pickleball enthusiasts sought to unite fellow players for fun and fitness by helping to organize games. Hence, the Tampa Pickleball Meetup Group.


What began as Monday Madness and Wacky Wednesday has been transformed to open play on those nights. Players register and pay to participate on the 11 outdoor courts at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa.

On a recent Wednesday night, the courts at Hillsborough Community College were filled with pickleball players.
On a recent Wednesday night, the courts at Hillsborough Community College were filled with pickleball players.

Founded by Elizabeth Somers, Maggie McClintock and Cathy Kaufman, the Tampa Pickleball Meetup Group began with about 20 members in July 2022. Now, that number exceeds 1,000.


“For us, it got the word out,” McClintock said of forming the meetup group.


So why the madness in Monday and wacky in Wednesday?


“We wanted folks to recognize it was fun and to remove any apprehension for coming,” McClintock said. “We wanted catchy names.”

Maggie McClintock, co-founder of the Tampa Pickleball Meetup Group, returns the ball over the net.
Maggie McClintock, co-founder of the Tampa Pickleball Meetup Group, returns the ball over the net.

On any given night there are accomplished players mixed with newcomers and plenty of players in between those stages. Count Winston DuBose, a former goalkeeper for the Tampa Bay Rowdies and longtime area youth soccer coach, among the newcomers.


“My girlfriend likes this game,” he said. “It’s a good sport that requires good reactions. The games go very quick.”


Another recent newcomer was Tampa’s Janice Fisher, who said she came out “to gain some experience and meet some new people. I play tennis so I’m looking to fill my time with something else. The strategy is a little different, but I feel it helps my net game.”

Cathy Kaufman, a co-founder of the Tampa Pickleball Meetup Group, hits a backhander.
Cathy Kaufman, a co-founder of the Tampa Pickleball Meetup Group, hits a backhander.

“We welcome people who have never played before,” Kaufman said. “We walk them through.”


There often are family members playing together or against one another at the courts off Dale Mabry Boulevard. Corinne Zimmer, 35, and her mother, Wendi Russell, have been playing since taking a workshop in February.


“We were so sore the next day, but we kept it up,” Zimmer said after their first time.


Added Russell, “I like to play with my daughter. It’s generational.”

Wendi Russell and her daughter, Corinne Zimmer, smile for the camera on the pickleball courts.
Wendi Russell and her daughter, Corinne Zimmer, began playing pickleball together earlier this year.

It is for Chelle Stringer and her son Palmer, a sophomore at Plant High, as well. Being the parent she feels she should be more experienced at things, but she has learned a thing or two about playing the game from her son.


Sharing their passion for the game that seems to be thriving everywhere is Somers, who often tries new paddles and passes on the ones she no longer uses to new players at a minimal cost.


By Steve Lee

Times Total Media Correspondent

Photos by Steve Lee

193 views0 comments

Comentários


bottom of page