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Tampa Pickleball Crew celebrates women with Rad ‘80s Ladies Tournament

 With Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day in mind, co-founders of the Tampa Pickleball Crew brainstormed to come up with something special.

Their idea was — some might say — a tad radical.

As in the Rad ‘80s Ladies Tournament, played March 9 at the Crew’s eight regulation courts in an Ybor City warehouse off Second Avenue.

“Kayla (Goldman), our creative mind, came up with it,” said Susan Forsyth, who, along with Jennifer Plummer, Dené Williamson and Goldman, are the Crew’s co-founders. “Everybody dressed up. People had a great time.”

Photos by David Tabb
Two costumed players got in the spirit of the themed event.

“It was really about the ladies in the ‘80s,” Williamson added. “They all came in their ‘80s attire and that just made it really fun. It added a cool vibe.”

David Tabb, who runs All Florida Pickleball and helps organize tournaments and events throughout the state, lauded the Crew’s staff for their ingenuity.

“What better way (to recognize women) than to play a little pickleball,” he said. “It’s extremely important to have women compete. Statistics show that there are way more men than women competing in tournaments.

 “They’re doing unique and fun things,” Tabb said of the Crew. “What they’ve created in Ybor City is pretty special.”

Photos by David Tabb
Two doubles teams get set to play a match in the women’s-only tournament.

Nearly 50 women — including Forsyth and Goldman — competed for doubles titles in four divisions. The event included a DJ spinning tunes from the ‘80s with plenty of dancing in between matches. Aside from the winning teams, prizes were doled out for the best-dressed players.

“From the music to the costumes to the pickleball, it was a fabulous time,” Plummer said. “Being an all-women’s business, it was important to celebrate International Women’s Day and the accomplishments of women everywhere. The tournament was our small but fun way of doing just that.”

Photos by David Tabb
These players clearly love the ‘80s.

The top three teams in each division, listed as gold, silver and bronze winners, were:

Beginners 2.5 — Nikki Dejsubha/Nerlande Joseph, Mary Platts/Alicia Tanner and Laurie Winters/Connie Lutgens.

Low intermediate 3.0 — Alyssa Hartstein/Ashley Burke, Catriana Messina/Gianna Messina and Diane Smythe/Lisa Richman.

High intermediate 3.5 — Leah Smith/Natalie Newcamp, Taylor Winter/Alex Jones and Rachel Chiang/Alyssa Westcott.

Photos by David Tabb
Donning similar outfits for the tourney, two players wore wigs and held oversized microphones as a DJ spun hits from the ‘80s.

Advanced 4.0 — Jillian Roig/Tracy Anderson and Sasiwimol Harrigan/Kim Alexander.

Afterward, the Crew heard plenty of positive feedback with women clamoring for more women’s-only events. Forsyth said her group plans to do just that.

Next up for the Crew is Battle of the Brands. That tourney, featuring businesses primarily from the Tampa Bay area, is slated for April 27 with proceeds benefitting Feeding Tampa Bay.

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