Staten Island, NY, Pickleballers celebrate first World Pickleball Day, eye own court

The Gym Bag: Staten Island Pickleballers celebrate first World Pickleball Day, eye own court – Oct 14, 2020

By Joe D’Amodio |

The Staten Island Pickleballers celebrated the first World Pickleball Day at Midland Beach last Saturday with a season-ending tournament hosted by experienced player Tom Cartelli.

“Tom donated gold, silver and bronze medals and kept the scores of the round-robin tournament,” said Anthony Maddaluno, the organizer of the growing group which consists of 30 members. “Sixteen people participated in the tournament, eight men and eight woman. There were a total of 25 people and everybody brought food and drinks and we set up a tent and everybody had a wonderful time.”

For those who are unaware pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. It is a paddleball sport that combines elements of badminton, table tennis and tennis. Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball over a net.

Pickleballers usually play their games on tennis courts, but the game can be played really anywhere.

According to Maddaluno, the S.I. Pickleball club had to supply its own nets because Staten Island does not have any outdoor pickleball courts.

Maddaluno says his group has been hounding the local politicians to invest some money to build a couple of courts for the group, but so far that plea has fallen on deaf ears.

“We normally play at the Greenbelt Nature Center on their basketball courts but it has been converted into a COVID-19 testing site,” explained Maddaluno. “Since Memorial Day, we’ve been thrown out of the parking lot and basketball courts at Miller Field and several other parking lots, including the one at the Greenbelt until we stumbled upon a little area behind the bathrooms and handball courts at Midland Beach.

“The Parks Dept Supervisors were great about letting us set up there and even provided us with masks. We were only allowed to set up two nets. During the peak of the summer people thought this was Parks Deptartment-run activity and came with their paddles and would ask to play. It’s was unfortunate that we could not let them play because there would be a hundred people waiting to play. We were turning away at least five people a day.”

Maddaluno describes his group as a passionate bunch who have become family.

“After we play, we all sit around have lunch together and even had an end of summer barbecue in the picnic area, which is right next to our courts.”

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