Pickleball tournament brings hundreds to Philadelphia area this week

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Thursday, August 25, 2022
Pickleball tournament brings hundreds to Philadelphia area this week
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Players of all ages are "dinking" around the "kitchen" in this fast-growing sport at the Upper Main Line YMCA!

BERWYN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "Here at the Upper Main Line Y, it's a one stop shop for a family, really," said Tim Irwin. "And when pickleball became a part of the program, I mean, all of a sudden, people are finding a spice of life that they didn't know about before."

Irwin, the Director of Pickleball within the YMCA of Greater Brandywine, has been eagerly awaiting this week. That's because the Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP) Philadelphia Open Tournament is taking place at the Upper Main Line YMCA.

"The values of pickleball so align themselves with the values of the YMCA," said Irwin. "And that's why I think we've made a commitment to the sport."

Across the Greater Brandywine YMCA locations, there are 43 courts on which members can play both indoors and outdoors. Each week, there are roughly more than 100 hours of play sessions. The Y also offers instruction and an upcoming youth pickleball camp.

All eyes are on the Upper Main Line pickleball courts this week, where amateurs and professionals ranging from teens to adults will pick up paddles and compete.

"You're moving a lot but you don't really notice it," said Larry Kilcullen, a 10-year member of the YMCA. "I lost about 30 pounds playing over about a four-month span and it wasn't like I was trying. It was just, I was out a lot, sweating a lot, moving a lot, but having a lot of fun."

The sport is treasured for its low barrier to entry and its fun avenues to exercise. It has created a unique space where people of all ages can not only play together, but compete together.

"You'll see, you know, people from 15 all the way to 70 years old playing in the same tournament," said Biswajit Datta, who participated in the tournament alongside his son, Rahul.

Rahul and his family traveled from Plainsboro, New Jersey, to test their mettle with their paddles. But it's also a chance for the family to bond.

"It's brought my dad and I a lot closer, my brother and I a lot closer," said Rahul. "It just fires up the competitiveness and it's great."

While registration for the tournament is now closed, many are still going to the YMCA to simply spectate pickleball matches. To learn more about the APP or year-round pickleball play within the YMCA of Greater Brandywine, visit their websites.

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