COLLEGE STATION, Texas — UPDATE: The remainder of the the pickleball tournament has been cancelled as a preventative measure against COVID-19.
Tournaments and games across the nation are being cancelled because of the coronavirus but that’s not stopping one tournament from taking place here at Texas A&M this weekend.
When you hear the word pickleball, it just might make you think twice, but this sport has nothing to do with vegetable. It is a combination of ping-pong, badminton, and tennis.
“So you hit a wiffle ball, which is a ball with holes in it, with an oversized ping pong paddle, and it’s played on a short net like a tennis court but a short badminton court," said Marybeth Henthorne, a health and kinesiology assistant professor at Texas A&M University.
Bryan college station is hosting the USA Pickleball Association Mid-South Regional Tournament this weekend at the tennis courts at Texas A&M.
“You need a venue that hold this many people," said Henthorne. "I’ve played in the Mid-South regional last year. Our university is so welcoming to others. We have restaurants, hotels, 18 beautiful tennis courts here which makes 36 pickleball courts.”
“This pickleball tournament has brought over 850 competitors here this weekend to Texas A&M to play this fun sport," said Henthorne.
“The economics that this is going to bring in really benefits our community in terms of people’s beds and heads, especially during spring break, where the students are gone and maybe it’s a little quieter around here so I just think that the economic value of it is going to benefit the community greatly.," said Henthorne.
In the midst of the pandemic, the tournament is taking extra cautions to keep everyone healthy.
“We are trying to provide a safe environment, there’s a sign that says wet wipes and those wipes are all across our tournament and at the administration table," said Tom Burkhart, the tournament director. "We’re trying to do our part. We encourage at the end of our match we usually shake hands, we encourage them to do the elbow bump and things like that. “
This regional tournament will feed into the national tournament in Indian Wells, CA in November.
If you’re interested in joining the local pickleball association, click here.