For Tournament Directors: Postpone or Cancel Your Pickleball Tournament?

Deciding Whether To Cancel Or To Postpone Your Tournament:
That is a tough question, with many things to consider.

Dear Tournament Directors, we don’t envy you at all during these very uncertain times. Actually, we never envy you because we have been tournament directors and we know the work that goes into pulling off a top notch pickleball tournament.

So the new COVID-19 virus has ground every pickleball playing event to an abrupt halt, and you had a tournament scheduled.

You had people registered, you had sponsors lined up with money committed, and you had vendors, ready willing and able to give your players a first class tournament experience.

We are sorry to see you in this predicament, but the reality is, you have to make a decision.  Will you cancel your tournament and deal with everything that goes with it?  Or will you postpone your tournament til a later date?

As you make this very important decision, there are a number of things to take into consideration.

From our personal experience from working and supporting hundreds of tournaments across the country, we have some observations that might help you.

We know that every tournament needs players, sponsors and vendors.  These are a given.Throughout the year, there are anywhere from 15 – 20 good tournaments already on the PickleballTournaments.com or PickleballBrackets.com websites every single weekend.

If a tournament must be cancelled altogether, it is a reasonable expectation that, when you hold it next year on the same basic dates, you can get the same basic number of players back for it, along with the same basic sponsors and vendors.

If however you decide to postpone your tournament and move it from this spring or early summer to late summer or fall, then things will change drastically.

Since there were already 15 – 20 good tournaments already scheduled each weekend for late summer and fall, you will now be competing for players who were likely already registered or committed to one of those tournaments.  So make sure you are counting on a lower number of registered players for your tournament.

The same basic premise for your sponsors.  Business, whether pickleball related or not, are going through a really tough time right now, so expect that when things open back up for pickleball, their marketing budgets will be greatly reduced, especially if they had already committed funds or resources to the already scheduled late summer and fall tournaments.  

As for vendors, they make a wonderful addition for the players at any tournament.  Unfortunately, some of your smaller vendors may not survive the crisis.  But for those who do survive, we can assure you they are not going to be able to pay the exorbitant vendor fees that have been so commonplace in the last couple of years.  Our hope is that vendors will support those tournaments who support them.  Make it easy for them to come back to your tournament.

So if you do decide to postpone and reschedule your tournament for the late summer or early fall, make sure you understand the obstacles and the consequences for everyone involved.

Pickleball will rise again, stronger than ever, but if everyone tries to operate tournaments and bootcamps and clinics all at the same time, it will only dilute the efforts of everybody.

So, don’t take your tournament planning decision lightly.  There are a lot of moving parts.   Plan your tournament carefully and we will all be better off for it.

We are extremely thankful for those who have reached out and continued to support Pickleball Rocks during the pandemic.

We will not forget it.

Pickleball Rocks because of all of you.

Rodney “Rocket” Grubbs
CEO: The Pickleball Rocks Clothing & Equipment Company
www.PickleballRocks.com

 

When the dust has cleared, WE WILL SURVIVE

So, have you seen it?  Have you seen Morgan Evans’ amazing video of hope, perseverance and victory?
It’s all over Facebook and Youtube.  It’s “When The Dust Has Cleared”,

And it was the impactful last words of the video that really hit home with our team.  “WE WILL SURVIVE”.
It struck a positive chord with us and we knew it was touching many others as well.

The moment we watched it, we contacted Morgan to see if the power of that video could be used for even further good.  And his immediate response was, “I’m in mate. Sounds like a great idea.”

So in collaboration with Coach ME Pickleball, Selkirk Sports, and Morgan’s great video of perseverance and victory, we have created this very special shirt to help raise awareness and funds for those who need COVID-19 assistance now.

All profits will be donated to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, specifically the CDP COVID-19 Response Fund.

A little about the fund:

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) has launched the CDP COVID-19 Response Fund to support preparedness, containment, response and recovery activities for those affected and for the responders.

The Fund and the Needs
The CDP COVID-19 Response Fund will focus on supporting nonprofit organizations working directly to respond to the pandemic among the most vulnerable populations in order to help build their capacity for response. These will include social service organizations focused on supporting hourly wage earners, workers in the gig economy, immigrant/New American populations, older adults, people with disabilities and other communities vulnerable to the physical health, mental health and economic impacts of the pandemic.

CDP is working closely with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to follow what the likely needs will be:

  • Supporting healthcare workers: Many public health, low income and other clinics will not have the ability to make significant capital purchases of masks, gowns, gloves and other essential personal protective equipment. These items help prevent the infection of essential medical staff who are at increased risk because of their close contact with people who may be infected.
  • Supporting quarantined and especially vulnerable individuals: The use of quarantines is crucial in helping control the spread of any infectious disease, including COVID-19. However, this means individuals are unable to go to work, go shopping for necessities, attend social functions or even see their families in some cases.
  • Supporting hygiene promotion activities:  Water, sanitation and hygiene are key to limiting the spread of any infection, especially those that are spread by close contact. Increasing access to WASH resources will help limit the spread of coronavirus and other infections. Supporting areas with poor access to medical healthcare by supporting healthy populations. This will help limit the spread of all viruses and other infections.With these factors in mind, CDP will use contributions to the Fund to address any one of these issues, which will allow CDP to be adaptive in our support.
  • Thank you to the following donors for their generous support of the CDP COVID-19 Response Fund:
    • The Coca-Cola Foundation
    • Google Play
    • The Hershey Company
    • New York Life
    • UPS Foundation
    • Verizon

The shirt is available in men’s crewneck and women’s vneck fits.  Available in White, Lime and Light Blue.
Allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.

Can We Play Pickleball Please?

The quick answer is NO.  Read on to see why I believe that.

A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM ROCKET:

As of the middle of March 2020, the COVID-19 virus has been identified in over 140 countries and every single state in the United States, making it one of the, if not THE, most viral epidemics in history.  That is because it spreads sooooo easily.

A person carrying the virus simply needs to sneeze or cough and the tiny almost invisible droplets settle on virtually any surface, hard or soft, where it could live for up to 9 days, to be accidentally picked up by any unsuspecting person.  That surface could be a hand railing, or gas pump nozzle or a seat at the pickleball courts, or another person’s clothing that you just touched elbows with. 

The point is, the virus moves around easily, and it is transported by people who have ZERO idea that they have it, or where they picked it up from.  Did the person hug a grandkid a couple of days ago.  Did the person pump some gas and didn’t immediately wash or sanitize their hands before accidentally putting their hand to their face (eyes, nose or mouth).  We all touch our faces so much without thinking. But that is how the virus enters the body, only to be sneezed or coughed out again on the next seemingly innocent surface.

Oh, and did I mention that a pickleball court is a hard surface?  Yes, if a person, unknowingly carrying the virus, playing before you arrived at the courts, sneezed or coughed while playing, the tiny virus carrying droplets have settled onto the court.  From there the virus can easily be picked up on the bottoms of players shoes, but waaaaay more importantly, onto any pickleball that bounces in the infected area.

Now it transfers to your hands or the glove you are wearing.  Just don’t touch your face or send the infected ball back to an unsuspecting opponent.

Yes, the virus can move around that easily.  That is why we are seeing the number of positively identified people growing like wild in so many places.

So to answer the question, can you play pickleball safely?  NO, IT JUST CAN’T BE 100% SAFE

My opinion, based on what I now know about the transporting of the virus, is this:

It has nothing to do with wearing gloves because gloves can retain and pass on the virus.

To play almost 100% safely….

1) You must wash the balls before you begin your game.
2) Every person on the court would have been through 14 days of isolation directly prior to coming out to play.  This would assure they have not unknowingly picked up the virus anywhere. If they’ve been anywhere around people after completing the 14 days of isolation and prior to coming to play, they could potentially be carriers again, so invite someone else.
3) Any benches or chairs at the court would need to be sanitized.
4) The courts you are about to play on haven’t had anyone carrying the virus playing on the courts in the last 9 days (supposedly that is the maximum about a time the virus can live on a hard surface). So there is no danger of the ball picking up the virus while you are playing.

I personally live in a tiny rural town that I lovingly call Mayberry when I’m on the pickleball trail.  Well, the COVID-19 has been positively found now in Mayberry and we are encouraging everyone in our tiny community to hunker down for a few weeks so we can drastically limit the incoming or outgoing spread of this disease.  Because it travels so quickly and so silently, we simply don’t know of any better way to battle its growth.

So for those who may think I’m infringing on your right to play or right to congregate, that is not the case at all.  This post is simply to let you see the situation from my viewpoint and you then can make any decision you choose.  But now it is simply a decision with more things to think about.

Here in Mayberry, 1% of our population plays pickleball and they have individually all decided to help our community slow the spread rather than take a chance of unknowingly spreading it on to others. 

As much as I’d love to be out on the pickleball courts or at the restaurants and movie theater with them, I am very thankful for their choice.

Good luck in your community.  May everyone stay healthy and virus free until we meet on the courts again.

Back to my 14 isolated days.
All the best,

Rocket
The Pickleball Rocks Team

DISCLAIMER:  Any numbers quoted in this post may not be exact, but they are close and pertinent to the message I wanted to convey to all my pickleball friends.