OP Pickleball to host second annual Pink Ribbon Classic, Oct. 4

A group photo of players in the Pickleball Pink Ribbon Classic tournament, last year.

A group photo of players in the Pickleball Pink Ribbon Classic tournament, last year.

The Ocean Pines Pickleball Club on Friday, Oct. 4 will raise money for the American Cancer Society during the second annual Pickleball Pink Ribbon Classic.  

The tournament is part of the Pink Ribbon Classic Series started in 1996 by a group of local volunteers. To date, local Pink Ribbon events have raised $3.4 million for breast cancer research, awareness, programs and services. Last year, the Pickleball Club contributed $4,000.  

Tournament hours are 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Manklin Meadows Racquet Sports Complex on Manklin Creek Road. Entry, $35, includes snacks, lunch and prizes. The deadline to enter is Monday, Sept. 30.  

Organizers are also seeking tournament sponsors, with sponsorship levels ranging from $100 to $1,000.  

For questions related to tournament entry or sponsorships, contact Bobbie Corbett at 443-735-2328 or email bbcocean@msn.com. 

The sport of pickleball was invented in Washington state in the 1960s. Court dimensions and the layout of a badminton court are used, and rules are similar to tennis. The game is played by four players using composite or graphite paddles and a whiffle ball. 

Ocean Pines first offered pickleball as a drop-in sport in 2011. At the time, the recreation and parks department offered six hours of drop-in play each week to just over a dozen players.  

By 2013, there were about 80 regular players in Ocean Pines and, when the sport officially became an amenity a year later, more than 100 player/members joined.  

Earlier this year, the Ocean Pines Pickleball Club hosted a tournament in June that include more than 220 players from 12 states, along with and 17 corporate sponsors. 

Today, Julie Woulfe and Frank Creamer oversee the Ocean Pines Pickleball club that organizes drop-in schedules, clinics and special events for outdoor pickleball, which boasts eight courts at the Manklin Meadows Racquet Center.  

The Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks Department hosts indoor pickleball at the Community Center on 235 Ocean Parkway, where a gym renovation will soon add a third indoor pickleball court. 

Woulfe said the game has been popular with retirees because of the smaller court size and slower pace than tennis, although it’s also catching on with a younger set.  

“Our kids and our grandchildren are embracing it because it’s an easy sport to learn, especially in a gym class when not everybody is athletic,” she said. “Some of our local schools have embraced it and the outreach from the schools has been a wonderful thing. 

Woulfe encouraged anyone interested in the sport to attend the Pickleball Pink Ribbon Classic on Oct. 4. 

“It’s one of the fastest-growing sports in the country, and it’s just a lot of fun to play and it’s fun to watch,” she said. “The tournament is a great showcase for Ocean Pines, and it’s the perfect way for anyone interested in the sport to come out and see what Ocean Pines Pickleball is all about.” 

For more information on Ocean Pines Pickleball, visit www.oppickleball.shutterfly.com. 

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