Lorna and Jim Popofski aren’t just passionate about pickleball, they’re passionate about sharing their knowledge of the game with others, too.
The couple started playing the sport when they retired in 2013.
“I saw the game and I said to Jim, ‘I am going to learn this game’,” recalls Lorna. “Jim said to me, ‘No way am I playing that game’. While six years later, with many tournaments and medals behind us, we are loving the game.”
Pickleball has been rewarding physically, mentally and socially for the pair. Together they have played in more than 30 tournaments all over Ontario and Florida, including five Ontario Championships and one Eastern Canadian National Championship. “We medalled in all of those six tournaments. We both have medalled in over 20 other tournaments in Ontario and Florida,” said Lorna. They have made many new friends playing the sport as well.
Some pickleball tournaments are sanctioned and athletes competing receive a rating between 2.0 and 5.0 based on their skill level. Lorna has been ranked at 4.0 from her tournament performance and Jim has received the second-highest level, being ranked at 4.5. Once an athlete has been ranked they must continue to compete at that level in tournaments.
Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in North America—Pickleball Canada is currently signing up 400 members per month—and the Popofskis knew that there would be interest here, too.
The Popofskis have made it a priority to use their knowledge to help grow the sport.locally by teaching others how to play.
“Jim and I love the sport so much that we wanted it to grow in Huntsville, since we retired here,” Lorna said. “Other smaller communities have grown and we thought with the population of Huntsville, we can help it grow too.”
Pickleball is a fun game which offers a parallel sport for tennis players and has a shorter learning curve than other racquet or paddle sports. It has less physical impact on the body, making it an attractive option for all ages. It can be played both recreationally and competitively.
Lorna and Jim have just wrapped up a weekly pickleball clinic for kids aged nine to 13—”[It] was so rewarding to see the progress in a few weeks,” said Lorna—and recently ran a seniors’ clinic. The clinics were offered at no cost to participants and both filled to capacity quickly. Lorna and Jim are planning to do another seniors’ clinic at the end of August.
Recreational pickleball play is offered at the Meadow Park tennis courts on Monday and Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and competitive play is on Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
To learn more, join the Huntsville (Ontario) Pickleball Club Facebook group, or contact Lorna and Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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