Tournament draws 45 players, raises money for the Coastal Women's Shelter

A year and a half ago, Tony Cataliotti started spreading the word around Havelock about a relatively new sport called pickleball.

“Pickle what?” people said, but that was then.

On Saturday, about 45 people from around the area came together for a round-robin tournament, the Charity Pickleball Classic, to raise money for the Coastal Women’s Shelter.

“It’s a fun game. It is good exercise,” said Cataliotti. “It’s really social. People play to have fun and enjoy the game. It’s the fastest growing game in the United States.”

Those in the tournament not only came from Havelock but also from Jacksonville, Swansboro, Oriental, Morehead City, New Bern, Newport and Atlantic Beach.

Havelock has about 25 regular players who come out to the Havelock Recreation Center at 9:30 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

“It’s a good workout and yet it seems a little bit more social than tennis,” said Marty Fancy, of Havelock. “I started when I was coming back from an injury and wasn’t cleared to play tennis and since I started pickleball, I have not gone back to tennis. The court is a smaller size than a tennis court. The dimensions are equal to badminton.”

Alice Petree, of Oriental, likes the dimensions, which are 20 feet by 44 feet, divided in half by a three-foot net.

“I am an aging person, not an old person, but an aging person, and I like the smaller court,” Petree said. “It gets me out, gets my heart going and keeps me exercising. I think even non-tennis players can pick this up.”

The game combines aspects of tennis and badminton. It gets faster and faster as the players progress, and in that sense, it’s more similar to racquetball.

“That’s when the game gets fun,” Fancy said. “As

people progress, there’s more and more play at the net. I enjoy it. That’s what counts.”

Many of the seniors participate for the social aspects as well as the physical benefits.

“I am meeting a whole new group of people,” Petree said. “I think it’s also good mentally. It’s a mind game as well as a physical game.”

The bottom line for Saturday’s tournament for Petree was the cause.

“I came because I love pickleball, but most of all to support the Coastal Women’s Shelter, which we believe is a great service and a very necessary one,” she said.

Susan Lucas, executive director of the Coastal Women’s Shelter, was on hand Saturday for the event.

“We’re always extremely gratified when people come out to support us by playing a game that they love,” she said. “This event is especially near and dear to our hearts because the city of Havelock has really embraced the Coastal Women’s Shelter as a cause and has been very generous in donating both time and money.”

Rosa Magnusson, wife of Havelock Police Chief David Magnusson, helped organize the tournament, which received support from the police department, recreation department, Chick-fil-A, Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts and BB&T.

For more information about pickleball in Havelock, call the Havelock Recreation Center at 444-6429.