FOLEY - The Bama Beach Pickleball Club is using funds raised during its Valentine’s Day Classic Tournament held in Feb. to donate pickleball equipment to all four middle schools in South Baldwin County. The donations kicked off with Foley Middle School, who found the offer came at the perfect time.
“Rex Davis with the club called me right before Christmas break and just asked if we were interested in getting equipment, and funny enough Coach Langford, our 7th grade girl’s PE coach, was already looking at buying the equipment and bringing it to the PE classes,” said Assistant Principal Ashley McNair. “It was the perfect opportunity for us to get some equipment, see how we like it, try it out, and maybe purchase some more to add to it. It’s exciting to bring something new to the students that they might can do even later in life or carry on through the summer, so we’re definitely excited about it.”
Club members brought the school three nets, 12 paddles, and 20 indoor balls to get them started with pickleball. To help the coaches learn the sport, the club also donated a 2020 rule book with instructions and court design. The gym is large enough to set up approximately six courts.
Not just items, but the club has offered to donate their time. Members offered to come to the school on a specified day to hold an all-day lesson with every PE class on how to play pickleball. Members did a similar demonstration day with Foley Intermediate School last year.
“We work with the schools and the Foley Sports Tourism Department to try and promote the growth of pickleball,” said Eddie McDonald, pickleball Ambassador for Baldwin County. “This is such a fun sport that anybody can play. It’s fun when you’ve got kids who are ten playing with 75-year-olds.”
The club is beginning Youth Clinics soon for children who are interested in learning the sport. More information will be announced soon. Eventually, the club would love to organize a youth pickleball program in Baldwin County, allowing children to play after school.
The Bama Beach Pickleball Club hosts a few separate fundraising events throughout the year; all funds raised at club events go to charity.
If you’re interested in joining the club or learning the sport, Bama Beach Pickleball Club plays at the Gulf Shores Church of Christ Mon.-Sat. from 9 a.m. to noon and from 6 - 9 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays. The cost is $3 per person, and a typical day sees around 35 players on the courts. All proceeds made from players is collected and donated to the church in exchange for use of the courts. Membership is $20 a year and gives access to tournaments, community events, and club get-togethers and cookouts.
Those who are looking for a place to play can download the Places to Play app and input your location to get a detailed map of nearby places that offer pickleball courts. For those who want to join the Bama Beach Pickleball Club, they have organized courts from beginner to advanced, so you can play with those who have similar levels. To learn more about Bama Beach Pickleball Club, check out their website at https://bamabeachpickleballclub.teamapp.com.