In the famous movie Field of Dreams, the mantra “build it and they will come” became one of the most popular and repeated phrases in the sports world.
That is true in the pickleball world too. If you build the courts, people will inevitably show up to play. But with the financial outlay needed, it is not always easy to get the courts built.
So this winter here in the tiny tourist town of Brookville, Indiana, we took a different approach.
In Brookville we have two outdoor pickleball courts that were built about five years ago. Since then we have had a nice small number of regular players playing year round on those two courts and on 2-3 temporary courts inside a local gymnasium during the cold weather.
The last couple of years we have talked about trying to have a small tournament here in town, but knew that we couldn’t possibly pull it off with only two permanent courts to play on.
So this winter we decided the best way to get some more permanent courts would be to create a need for more courts. In other words, we had to grow.
It began soon after the Christmas and New Year’s holiday. We started inviting new people to come try and play our wonderful sport inside one of the local elementary gyms. Our very first night, we had enough players to fill three courts. Then came the challenge. The new people loved it. Not only did they love it, but they went home and told others they loved it.
Within a couple of weeks we had to move to the larger high school gym where we could set up four courts. Still trouble, as we had people waiting in line with no larger building in the county available.
Conveniently and strategically we snapped a few pictures of all these people playing pickleball and started making some phone calls and visits to our local community organizations, telling them of our plight. “We have many community members now playing, but sadly no place for them to play when the weather warms up and we have to move outdoors”, we told them.
We had our court building estimates in hand. We needed $15,000 to build us two new courts to accompany our two existing courts. This would give us enough courts for our community members to play on, but also allow us to begin promoting small pickleball tournaments that would bring people in to see our great town.
Soon organizations and individuals were pledging money and within 3 weeks we were just $3000 short of our fifteen thousand dollar goal and ready to break ground on our two new pickleball courts.
So life is good here in Brookville. Excavation is starting next week and I can’t wait to play on them.
Our strategy worked. If enough of you “Come, Then They Will Build It”. Pickleball Rocks!