Pickleball has taken off across North America, and in B.C., that’s no exception.
Despite the sport’s popularity across the province, Pickleball BC has never had a northern representative — until now.
The president of the Quesnel Pickleball Club, Sharon MacDonald, was elected to the board Nov. 18.
“I was hoping for it, and I had so many members going on our Facebook page and saying ‘get in there and vote for Sharon,’” MacDonald said. “Oftentimes you don’t get a huge turnout, so I was glad they went ahead and voted for me.”
There are more than 6,000 members in Pickleball B.C., who voted to place 11 people on their board.
MacDonald said it was important to bring a voice from B.C.’s north to the table, recalling a story about how she tried to get certified as an umpire in Canada (she is certified to referee games in the States). The closest of the two-day clinics to northern participants in the province took place in Surrey.
“If it wasn’t for COVID-19, I’d be there in heartbeat … but I’m not going down just to be certified,” MacDonald said. “My question to [the board] was ‘can you have a clinic up north?’ and their answer was ‘well, we’re thinking of going to Kamloops.’”
MacDonald said the board had a blind-spot for members outside the Lower Mainland.
“It’s not through any fault of their own,” she said. “The Vancouver area is where most of the pickleball members are, and we’re trying to change that.”
MacDonald added she suggested Prince George as a location for future clinics and events.
“It became really obvious they weren’t hitting the mark,” she said. “We’ve got people in Burns Lake, we’ve got people in Fort St. John, we’ve got people in Dawson Creek, so if I’m feeling isolated, they must feel like they’re off the map. We need a voice.”
The Quesnel Pickleball Club is going strong locally, transitioning into its winter programming. Once the flu clinic moves out of the Quesnel and District Seniors’ Centre, they’ll be playing games in small groups every day.
“We are very lucky because we have such co-operation with the Seniors’ Centre,” MacDonald said. “We’re in there every single day of the week with our own cohorts. Rick Prosk has done a tremendous job to get people matched up into a bubble.”
The club has also just received a grant from the Senior Games and will be running a junior program out of the Quesnel and District Arts and Recreation Centre, with members as coaches.
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