Inaugural Pickle Bowl a sweet success

Season playoffs, Pickle I and Pickle II, preceded Pickle Bowl 2019, an inaugural event recently hosted by the Nashua Pickleball Club, a group of around 320 with more than 215 weekly picklers.

Play dates starting May 1 pitted six teams of four players each. Eventually, ‘The Kids’ challenged ‘Totally Pickled,’ the winner.

Cheers and groans backgrounded the Aug. 21 event. A starting field of 24 enrollees and 25 substitutes dwindled to the eight players competing at Doug Price Pickleball Court in Fields Grove Park, Nashua.

Nashua Pickle Bowl creators John and Kathy Soubosky, of Nashua, and NPC statistician Pim Houlihan, of Merrimack, concurred that Pickle Bowl gave players an exciting way to improve their skills.

John Soubosky, NPC’s volunteer commissioner, is retired from 40 years at the Nashua post office. His wife, Kathy, retired from a nursing career at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center. Both play almost daily, as do others from diverse walks of life.

“We treat newcomers like they’re family,” said John. “This is a happy game that’s easy on the body – some players don’t want to go home.”

Pickle Bowl finals brought together The Kids – Barb Viti, of Nashua; Doreen Weiss, of Litchfield; Kathy Soubosky and Coletta Gabele, of Lowell, Massachusetts; – and Totally Pickled – Paul Bausch, of Chelmsford, Massachusetts; Ginger Christiansen, of Nashua; Marsha Ramahlo, of Litchfield; and Bob Martin, of Londonderry. Pizza, ice cream and awards followed at the Soubosky home in Nashua.

Pickleball, invented in 1965, is played nationwide at around 4,000 sites (usapba/org). Over-sized paddles and lightweight balls are used. A mandated bounce precedes underhand serves and returns. A non-volley zone at the net prevents spiking.

The pickleball site in Fields Grove Park was dedicated by town officials Aug. 29, 2018. Its birth is credited by teammates to Doug Price, a Nashuan and a seasonal Floridian who is a USA Pickleball Association ambassador. The former dilapidated tennis court there now is a pristine pickleball destination boasting four courts.

“It’s pretty cool having something named after you while you’re still alive,” Price said. “I was shocked when they turned the sign around and I saw my name.”

Patriarch Price casts kudos elsewhere, especially to Nick Caggiano, Nashua Parks & Rec director, for plenty of paint and ongoing support. Bob Hanek, of Hollis, the club’s “sign-up king” is cited for instituting software that enables players to see who is signed up for games. Hanek, Roger Langlais, of Nashua, and Russell Woollacott, of Nashua, frequently coach newbies. Others contribute in many ways.

The dues-free NPC accepts dollar donations at games, mostly for supplies. Other places members play include Greeley Park and the YMCA facilities in Merrimack and at Westwood Park. Information on joining the Nashua Pickleball Club is available via email to Bob Hanek: npc.sugmaster@gmail.com.

– Submitted by NPC