More PB History and Herstory

I’m waiting to publish a profile of a gold medal winner from last year’s US Nationals…..There is one piece missing. I hope to have it all together soon… That’s alright–patience is an important quality to have when, like me, you’re trying to learn something new….. It takes time….I already know how to be impatient:-)


In the mean time I have stories from two great personalities…First off, I asked some questions to a crucial figure in the modern development of our game. Here is:

Wayne Muggli       In His Own Words

1. How did you first discover pickleball, Wayne?

WM – I discovered PB at Bend, Oregon in the year 2000. I had just started out full timing in an RV after retiring from work–I had a Thousand Trails membership. I was riding my bike around the park and saw a group of people laughing and having fun. I stopped to watch. The next day I watched some more, and they invited me in to learn to play. Four days later I met Spike Christensen. We traveled together for 2 years and became playing partners….We practicised about 4-6 hours a day. We found the game at the same time and stayed partners for eight and a half years. We were part of the group that played the game at the highest level–so they decided to develop in greater detail the rating system. We were part of the original 5.0 group…The rest is history.

2. What is your proudest achievement in tournament play?

WM – Of course it was the 40 gold medals and 35 silver medals…I won the original Huntsman game and silvered the next 4 years. In my first year playing I silvered in the original ASO tournament. I traveled around the country playing in PB tournaments and spreading the game with clinics. I also helped develop the system used by referees at all tournaments. I won a lot of tournaments and can proudly say that I taught players to beat us–and guess what they did? A lot of the players we taught came back to beat us in later years. I think that speaks for itself.

3. How did you get involved in doing video commentary work?

WM – I was involved in the first Dennis Forbes memorial tournament which was put on in Ogden, Utah. John Gullo– who promoted that tournament and the Tournament of Champions later–asked me if I would be willing to do the commentary if he hired professional camera people and a professional broadcaster. He asked me to do the colour commentary. I enjoyed it….Later the USAPA asked if I would do the commentaries for the Nationals held in AZ. David Jordan (a long time friend), and Justin Maloof asked me, and I accepted.

DJB – Thanks Wayne for sharing your stories….For new readers of my blog, you can check out the Feb 24th, 2016 Challenge Court. Near the end of the edition I asked Wayne a question about his mentorship of his friend Gigi LeMaster…His answer was funny and interesting….check it out if you haven’t read it.

Here are 2 youtube links to learn more about Wayne. For my email subscribers, you must go to the CC website to see the video and the podcast:

The Pickleball Show – 004: Tournament Tips – On The Court with Wayne Muggli

Pickleball Refereeing


I enjoy looking at the postings on Facebook of this next pro pickleballer. I was curious about the pictures of her teaching PB to children in her home country, so I asked her a few questions. Here is:

Sara Lee Ash      In Her Own Words

1. Hi Sara…I know very little about you–except that you’re a badminton player from the Phillipines who now plays pickleball in the US. Would you mind telling me some details about yourself, your sports history, and how you got into pickleball?

SLA – I moved from the Phillipines to Phoenix in March of 2013. In many Asian countries, badminton is considered a very competitive sport requiring great skill and athletic ability. Good players often hit 100 mile-per-hour overheads, and everyone on the court must be able to move around quickly.

When my husband went to work for the Asian Development Bank in Manila, I began playing badminton almost every day and soon felt confident enough to begin playing in tournaments. It was not uncommon for me to play badminton four hours per day, five days a week. Although badminton is a very competitive game in Asia, it also has a wonderful social dimension (like pickleball) that produces strong friendships. When I return to the Phillipines, I always contact my ”badminton buddies” to catch up with how they are doing.

2. You obviously still have a strong connection to your home country. How would you describe your feelings for the Phillipines?

SLA – I’m proud of my country, and, encouraged by the development that has taken place there over the past couple of decades. I only hope that this development will support the creation of a much larger middle class. Although there is still a great deal of poverty in the Phillipines, you don’t notice it in the faces of everyday people. My husband is fond of saying that ”Filipinos are the happiest people on Earth”!

When I’m away from home for too long I miss my family, friends, and of course, the food. Even though we can purchase many Asian foods in our local Asian grocery stores, there are still many, many fresh fruits and seafoods that are only available in the Phillipines.

3. Please share with my readers what gave you the idea of getting involved with teaching our game to children, and how you followed through with the plan?

SLA – I have helped a few of my badminton friends in Manila to purchase pickleball paddles and portable nets through my sponsor, Onix Pickleball. During our last trip to the Phillipines in February, we were able to play pickleball in Manila. The problem now is finding enough suitable courts. Badminton courts use a special surface material that is a bit of a ”cushiony” feel to it that does not work well for pickleball.

I became involve with teaching pickleball to children in the Phillipines through my friend Shana Upperman–who, like me, is a resident of the US, and frequently returns home to Cebu City (the second largest city in the Phillipines). Together we recently introduced pickleball to several dozen school children. They really picked up the game quickly! One of the boys, in particular, kept asking to play ‘just with me’ because he thought he was ready for stronger competition than he could find against the other kids.

In addition to my personal efforts, I was pleased to give away six Evoke paddles–thanks to my sponsor – Onix Pickleball. In fact, both Onix and I received Certificates of Appreciation from the City of Mandaue (where the children’s school was located) for the Onix paddles and for my efforts to teach pickleball to the kids.

4. What is the best way for people to follow you on YouTube or social meadia?

SLW – The best way to follow me is on Facebook. I regularly post pictures, videos, and descriptions of my exploits. My friends in America and the Phillipines keep encouraging me to share what I’m doing, so Facebook is how I do it. I’ve only recently moved up to 5.0–so I’m definitely not yet one of the ‘elite players’ that you frequently see on YouTube.

5. Is there any other info you would like to share with the pickleball community?

SLW – I hope our game continues to expand so more people will learn to love the game the way I do. You can get a great workout from playing–but pickleball does not seem to produce as many injuries as other recreational sports. Plus, there is a welcoming egalitarian social vibe with this game that allows people to compete, but also form satisfying friendships. I guess I like to win as much as anyone, but what I look forward to most is being with my pickleball friends.


DJB – My sentiments exactly…..Thanks Sara for letting us get to know you….For those who missed it, I asked Sara about her tournament preparation in the Feb 24th edition of Challenge Court. New readers might want to look over the whole 3 part ‘Pumped To Play’ series.

As well as being a skilled pickleballer, Sara has some beautiful exercise videos. The one below is just for fun. Make sure you have a chiropractor on hand if you try her ‘yoga transitioning’ one:-) To view this video you must go to my website:

Hula @ Home – my mood booster


Invoking The Great Gherkin In The Sky

I will be hoping, and praying, that the ‘Concept Plan Options for Tolmie Park’ will include the intention to create 4 or more designated pickleball courts at the park!….I received an email from Saanich planner Julie Lommerse informing interested parties of an Open House to view the concept plans. If you would like to attend, the info is listed below:

Date:          Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

Location:   Cathedral Church of St. John the Evangelist, 980 Falmouth Rd., Victoria

Time:          Drop-in anytime between 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.

* I think it might help our cause if a good contingent of PBers goes to the open house.

*Saanich Parks will post the Concept Plans to between March 22 and March 31, 2016.


Where To Play Pickleball Next Week– Spring Break Adjustments

*Henderson Rec: closed next week

*Esquimalt Rec: regular hours next week

*Pearkes Rec: regular hours next week, closed the following week

*Commonwealth Place: Monday March 14 and Friday March 18 – 4:30pm to 6:30pm

Monday March 21 – 4:30 to 6:30 pm * Friday March 25 – 12pm to 4pm

Monday March 28 – 12pm to 4pm

Early morning play as usual Mon, Wed, Fri 6am-8:30, except cancelled Good Friday (March 25th) and Easter Monday (March 28th).


Cucumber Vinings – Ideas and Prognostications From My Side Of The Court

– As I do interviews with top players I notice that during their developments they go through a period of intense training. Once a player gets the necessary skills they can slack off, but first, they have to have worked like ‘the blazes’ to master our sport–slow and steady doesn’t win the race to the top for tournament pickleballers.

– The final for women’s 5.0 doubles at the Grand Canyon State Games is now out on the Pickleball Channel….In what other sport would you see two ’50-something’ ladies competing on an equal level with two ’20-something’ ladies? I won’t spoil things by telling you who won this exciting contest between Alex Hamner and Jennifer Lucore vs Corrine Carr and Christine McGrath!…Subscribe!!

– Pickleball has a great future for players who have a sponsor….For advertisers, the story is called exponential growth of your target audience, and, having a sponsored player who can, potentially, be in the public eye until they are in their 50’s, 60’s or 70’s (i.e. Scott Moore, Hillary Marold, Yvonne Hackenberg, etc)

– Since my blog has been getting out on Facebook, I am starting to get subscribers from everywhere that the internet goes….. Laskavo prosymo to Ukranian pickleballers.

– The Partners Tournament at Cedar Hill Rec is Saturday Mar 12th. Even if you aren’t registered to play, you can go down and watch the play from the upstairs pickle gallery. Bring your paddle….sometimes they need a spare player when people are sick or injured.

– I plan to be interviewing some great players for the coming future. If you want to get a message to any of the players you read about on Challenge Court, send me an email–I will forward your note onto your favourite player. My address is:

Thanks for the game,

DJ Baker.



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