GREEN COVE SPRINGS – On any warm day, you can find players at Ronnie Van Zant park engaging in the lively competition of pickleball. The city of Keystone Heights recently unveiled their new courts, …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – On any warm day, you can find players at Ronnie Van Zant park engaging in the lively competition of pickleball. The city of Keystone Heights recently unveiled their new courts, while Green Cove Springs’ Thomas Hogans Memorial Gym hosts their city’s players.
The sport has become so popular locally, the Sunshine State Games selected RVZ Park to host the pickleball state championship during the Clay County Festival from June 11-13.
Glee Glisson is an avid pickleball player. The 66-year-old Green Cove Springs resident has been playing the game for about five years now.
“We used to play at the YMCA in Fleming Island,” said Glisson. “Now the city [Green Cove Springs] offers us the Thomas Hogans Memorial Gym.”
In her previous position as the city recreation director, she established the city’s pickleball program.
Recently though, she, other Green Cove residents and players from throughout the area were involved in the Smash Against Domestic Violence tournament at Lake City.
The tournament recently was held at Richardson Community Center was a success. Proceeds, primarily derived from a $30 a person entry fee, went towards supporting victims of domestic violence. Quigley House was the primary beneficiary.
There were about 100 players, and before the tournament, she sensed there was excitement about it.
“People from several different counties came and played in it,” Glisson said. “A lot of Green Cove players came and played in it. They played in divisions by skill level.”
Being the fast-growing sport in the country, pickleball is grabbing enthusiasts everywhere and the tournaments are as popular as the pickup games in parks and gyms.
“They just love it [pickleball],” Glisson said. “It’s just very competitive, it’s a lot of exercise and meeting a lot of friendly people and it’s just so much fun.”
The top spot in men’s doubles was taken by the team of Chris Guzewich and Jeff Sales of Orange Park, with Jerry Dutcher of Green Cove Springs and Kevin Doering of Fleming Island earning silver.
Mixed doubles were won by Danny Blevins of Green Cove Springs) and Rose Ellisor of Fleming Island. In mixed doubles, Glee Glisson and Jerry Dutcher, both of Green Cove Springs, took home the second-place spot.
In women’s doubles, Sandra Willen and Rose Ellisor took first, while Kristen Schermer and Sherrie Hamilton were second. All four women represented Fleming Island.
Finally, the women’s doubles, both first and second places, were occupied by players Debra Ross, Cathy Florig, Sarah Huenke and Debbie Brainard, all of Jacksonville. Sherrie Hamilton and Robin Dionne of Fleming Island and Starke, respectively, finished fourth.
“Pickleball is a game for all ages,” said Glisson. “From ten years old to 85 years old. I’ve seen people of all ages play this sport, believe it or not.”