Pickleball Hall of Fame 2017 Inductee Ceremony Dinner


(dramatic music) (cheering and applauding) – Rif: If that doesn’t (drowned
out by clapping) I don’t know what it does. Everybody give a great hand for Rusty and his crew. (applause) Thank you all for being here. This is really history in the making. We are celebrating six
individuals that created the sport that we all love. The foundation, the bedrock, the greatest players,
the most dominant players of their time, and the contributors that make the game what it is today. These six individuals really are our, I don’t know what you’d want to call it. What’s that mountain out in Wyoming? Mount Rushmore! The Mount Rushmore of Pickleball. Thank you very much. (speaker drowned out by crowd noise) – [Crowd Member] South Dakota! – South Dakota, all right. (laughter) I failed geography. What can I say? (laughter) We’re here tonight, and the
way that this is gonna run, is each one of the
inductees will have to have a presenter that would be meaningful, to give them their gifts, to say a few personal words about them. I will introduce that presenter. I’ll say a few words about
their accomplishments. But all of these six
individuals are well known to everybody in this room. We haven’t met them. I haven’t met them. And I’m honored to be here today. I’m probably one of
the youngest as far as, in pickleball years, and it’s been my pleasure
to play a small part in what’s taking place. There’s a lot of people
that we need to thank. So I want to spend a
few moments just giving all of you an idea that this idea has been talked about for a long time. But it was really the USAPA, the IPTPA, and a number of pickleball
leaders that came together, all within a four-month
period of time and did everything as far as putting together a not-for-profit corporation, developing the criteria, the website and everything
that you need to have in order to develop a hall of fame. And then we got volunteers. And you know in the pickleball community, we’re so blessed to have so many people that love this sport
and that are willing to give of their time and their effort and their energy, who are also
passionate about the game. And without those volunteers,
something like this would never have taken place. So there are a number of
people that are wearing pickleball hall of fame shifts. These were people that
stepped up to the plate and donated funds. Because since we’re such
a young organization, we paid for having all of our
inductees coming out here, the travel expenses, the hotels,
the gifts and everything. And of course all that takes money. And so, we need to thank first of all, all of the players that stood up and opened up their pocketbooks. So thank you for all of your… (applause) I want to also thank the major sponsors. We have tier one and tier two sponsors. So IPTPA, USAPA, Pickleball Channel and Pickleball Central
stepped up and became tier one sponsors. And then of course, Selkirk and Pro Lite are tier two sponsors. So thank you so much for
allowing this to take place. (applause) Along the way we have
some criteria in order to even have the six people
that we have here today. So we have a nominating committee. Their job is an extremely difficult one. All of the nominations that come in, their task is to go through
all those nominations and find 10 of the most worthy. Because every one is worthy obviously. But 10 of the most worthy
and then recommend those people to the selection committee. The selection committee
then, in this inaugural year, selected the six inductees
that we have today. So thank you to all of
the committee members that gave so much time, energy and effort to make this event happen. Again, thank you to all of those folks. (applause) We also had an organizing
committee made up of a number of pickleball leaders. And these people were
responsible for weekly meetings. Because our objective back
in July was that we cannot wait any longer. We have to get a hall of fame, and we have to get it done by nationals. We have to have our initial inductees because we don’t want to have a memorial to any more people. We’ve lost two of the three founders. We’re blessed to have at
least one more around. Barney unfortunately was not able to come. I mean, it just, my heart is torn out because we’ve rushed and worked so hard thinking that Barney would certainly be one of the inductees, and of course he is. And if it was a week
earlier, he’d be here. If it was a week later, he’d be here. But unfortunately he got in a car accident a week ago, and even
though our best efforts of using technology to
allow a teleconference, he just wasn’t up for it. So our prayers and all of the love that we all have go out to Barney and his family, and we’ll talk a little
bit more about that when we have our inductee come up and our representatives for Barney and for Joel will come up. Finally I’d like to pay
special attention and thanks to Yvonne. Yvonne, where are you? Yvonne actually did the embroidery for all of the jackets. We have several gifts. All of you that were at
the court saw that we provided plaques to all of our inductees. We have jackets, hall of fame jackets and Yvonne did the
embroidery for all of those. We also have hall of fame rings. And my wife, Holly and Fran
worked diligently to create a unique and special
ring that each one of our inductees are going to have. So thank you so much for those. (applause) And finally, as we move forward, we’re going to have two of our inductees before dinner, simply
because Frank has to get on a plane to get back out of here. And I promised him that
we would not rush him, but we would make it
available and we would design our program so
that he could certainly enjoy the love and the
honor that his family so deserves, but he’s
still able to get out on time. So, we’re gonna make that happen, Frank. What I’d like to do is
to quote something that Joel Pritchard said a number of years ago. And it’s so apropos. And as I look at the hall
of fame and this start of a new year moving into
2018, Joel said this. And I quote, “It’s amazing
what you can get accomplished if you don’t worry about
who gets the credit.” Don’t worry about who gets the credit. Do the right thing for the game. And the IPTPA, the USAPA,
all the pickleball leaders, we got together in a very short order, and we created this
special, unique opportunity called the Pickleball Hall of Fame. This will be a yearly event. This is something that
is going to bring pride and joy to so many people, and we witnessed that
with the first six people. And it’s going to be
something that is going to carry through as a tradition each and every year. So let’s remember those words, not just for the hall of fame,
but for everything that we can do moving forward for pickleball. Let’s put aside worrying
about who gets the credit. And let’s just do it because
it’s the right thing to do. So, with that being
said, let’s move forward with our first inductee. And lights. (upbeat music) (applause) So Joel Pritchard is oftentimes called the Father of Pickleball. And I’m sure he had no
idea what he created back in 1965 when he just
tried to keep his kids busy. And here we are today. And the one word that I hear
from so many pickleball players that I’ve never heard
from any other athlete, and I’ve worked with many athletes in many different sports, is I’m
addicted to this game. How many of you have ever said that? I’m addicted to this game. Joel wanted to create a game
that was great for kids, which is how he tried to
keep them out of trouble, and also all the way through to the adult. And he was so, so successful. We are so honored to have
Frank Pritchard, his son, represent the family and to come out and say a few words about
the behind the scenes. He was back with him in 1965. And so we will welcome
Frank to come on up. (applause) – Frank: Thank you. I kind of feel like Rip
Van Winkle who woke up 40 years later or whatever. I had no idea. Coming here, I mean it just, my jaw’s just hanging down. You know, my frame of
reference was this little court on Bainbridge Island. So this is amazing. And as much as I like all of you people, I think you’re wonderful, I love my wife more. (laughter) And if I don’t get to Seattle in time to meet her tomorrow morning
for a flight to Maui, I better stay in Phoenix. (laughter) Forever. So I’m here also to, I
want to dispel a few, you know, myths, and
give you the true scoop. So, let’s start with the game, pickleball. No, it wasn’t named for the dog. (crowd murmurs) Sorry. (laughter) The credit goes to my
mother, Joanne Pritchard, who was kind of a crew,
you know that other sport. And the University of Washington had what they called a pickle boat. So there was kind of the A boat, a B boat. And then everybody else
went into the pickle. And she sort of thought,
well pickleball is kind of a conglomeration of
all these different games. You know, we sort of threw all the rules into this thing, pickleball. That kind of makes sense. Then the dog came. (laughter) The dog was a cock-a-poo,
not a cocker spaniel. (laughter) The dog never went and
chased the balls, I’m sorry. (laughter) – [Audience Member] Was he named Pickles? – Pickles. It was Pickles. I’m gonna tell you another game story. There was kind of a
bratty guy, a little kid, Bainbridge Island, Washington, who was complaining to his father that there was nothing to do. He hated being on bainbridge Island. And Joel Pritchard said to that kid, well you know when we were kids here, we’d make games up. And I said, the bratty little kid, oh yeah, why don’t you go make a game up. (laughter) And that’s why all we’re all here today. (audience laughs and claps) And you know, just
coincidentally my grandparents had been big badminton players, and we had a badminton court
kind of in the back-middle of the property that
my grandfather had laid some asphalt on. So here’s the court. And let’s start from there. What other myths can I? – Audience Member: Did you start with a ping pong paddle and a wiffle ball? – Frank: Okay, now I can hear you. I was a June baby and
somebody thought it’d be a good idea, you know they
used to give these little plastic balls and bats that
had a wiffle ball in them. Well, somebody mistakenly
gave me one of those. Here’s the wiffle ball. My father picked that
up, and if you remember wiffle balls were sort
of, half the hemisphere was solid and. Well they lasted about three games. Just like. (laughter) So that that changed shortly and I think Barney McCallum picked that one up. And that’s another point I want to make. I think the second day
of this messing around with this game, I
remember my father saying, you know who we need? We need Barney. And Barney lived six
doors down on the beach. And so Barney, Bill Bell and my father then started working
on this game together. And I have to say, if it
weren’t for Barney McCallum, none of us would be here. His hard work, his
dedication to this game, putting his money where his mouth was, more than anyone else, deserves to be in the hall of fame, is Barney McCallum. Now, you know, I get credit
for making the game start. Right? (laughter and applause) But Barney gets, I gotta say, he’s. I will say one other thing that you know, my father, you know,
he did a lot of things in his life. He was in the state legislature. He was a U.S. congressman for 12 years. He was the lieutenant governor of the State of Washington. And you know, those are all good things, and he did some great stuff. But I think the one thing
that he was probably proudest of was pickleball. But if he could see what’s
going on today with this game, he’d be amazed. I’m amazed. And the fact that this
gives so much pleasure to so many people all over the world, I just can’t tell you what
that would mean to him. And what it means to me. (applause) Thank you so much from
the bottom of my heart and the family. Thank you for letting me
get out of here early. (applause) Thank you for having me. (applause) (upbeat music) – Rif: So as Frank has
already stated, you know, if Joel is the Father of Pickleball, Barney certainly was the driver. He’s the one that made it happen. He’s the one that created
the non volley zone line. He’s the one who created
the double bounce rule. He put it all together. He worked tirelessly to
get this game legitimate. He created, along with Joel and Bill Bell, Pickleball, Inc., the first company to get the game up and running. And like I said, he would,
I know he wanted so badly to be here. But he had selected Jennifer Lucore, and his son, David, to say a few words and be the presenters of the
awards that we would love to be able to give to him,
but will be happy to give to David. So David, Jennifer, can you come up and? (applause) – Jennifer: Hello. Well, I’m gonna talk real quickly. I’ve been lucky enough to
know the McCallum family for like seven years. And every, well like
pretty much twice a year, I get to go visit Barney
and since day one, he’s always been very
passionate about the game. And he’d say, Jennifer, can
you tell me what’s happening. Are they messing with the rules, what’s going on? (laughter) And he hadn’t been out
to see the game for many decades, right.. He’s plugging away doing his business. And you know, he’ll read about it. And David will fill him in and stuff. And so a couple of years, I’d say maybe 2011, 12-ish,
he came to Sea-Tac tournament in Sea-Tac, Washington. And Steve Wong and Steve
Paranto and Billy Jacobsen and Mark, all of the
regulars were playing. And he came actually with
his buddy, Jim Weller. So both these guys are 91
and were doubles partners. So anyway, they got to come and to watch this tournament, you know, which is really in their backyard. And they just, Barney said, this was one of my best days ever because seeing the people, all of the ages, different shapes, sizes, the way we hit the ball, he just thought it was so great and then
the laughter and things. So, he always said, you
know, what’s going on, how’s it going. And then he always gave
me little tips like after we visited he’d send a
note you know, the old handwritten note you know, in the mail like I used to do. He’d send it and he’d say
now okay now, don’t forget, you know, the lob is a great shot. (laughter) And he’d give me a few more tips. Because back in the day you might say too that, he was a great lobber, like his lobs would go really high so
when they’d come down, they’d kind of just go straight. And he says it totally messes them up. (laughter) So, okay I’m trying to do that, Barney. The McCallum family is awesome, and I know Barney is so touched with how the sport’s going
and to receive this award. And we’re so lucky that we
have his son, David, here. (applause) – David: Thank you for having us. You guys are doing a
great job with the game. And I know Barney is thrilled
about that, so thank you. (applause) – Rif: Okay, before you run off
David, we’ve got a couple of gifts that you need
to pass on to Barney. (laughter) So David is presenting, David is presenting David, with the Pickleball Hall of Fame
jacket that is sized to fit Barney, and we
hope that Barney will have the opportunity to be able to wear it -David: I’m stealing this. – It would not look good on… (laughter and applause) – David: Thank you (applause) Barney McCallum. I’ll be keeping that. (laughter) – Rif: And then we also have a
Pickleball Hall of Fame ring that will go to Barney as well. And that is inscribed with
his name on the inside. If I open this up, can we
get a close up of it Rusty? – Rusty: Not on the screen. – Rif: No. Okay then we won’t do that. (laughter) There we go. – David: Thank you for everything. – Rif: You’re welcome. – David: I appreciate it. (applause) Thank you. (applause) – Rif: It has a pickleball and a
paddle right in the center. We got the year of induction, 2017. And we got the inductee’s
name on the inside. So it’s all personalized
for each of the inductees. Again, thank you very
much and congratulations to your family. – David: Thank you. (applause) (crowd noise over the speaker) – Rif: Was the key inductee of
the six, but now I discovered that his son, Steve has put together a song, and this is one that is
near and dear to one of our inductees, Mark Friedenberg. So without further ado, here we go! Take it away, Steve. -Steve: A short story, first so. I wrote this song about six years ago, so. Mark has heard it at one
of my pickleball parties at my house at Oregon State games. It’s on You-Tube. In fact this is one of the
biggest pickleball sensations songs on You-Tube. It’s got something like 37 hits, so. (laughter) I do have to warn you, I have
changed a few of the names in the song to protect the innocent. (laughter) So, here we go. This is The Yoda Song. In fact, there’s one verse at the end, you guys will help me. ♪ It’s a true story, too. ♪ ♪ Well, met him on the
court a long time ago, ♪ ♪ He said his name is Mark, ♪ ♪ But you might know him as Yoda. ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo, Yoda ♪ ♪ He walked up to me and
he asked me to play ♪ ♪ He said I’ll give you a lesson ♪ ♪ But you’ll have to pay ♪ ♪ Because I’m Yoda. ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo, Yoda. ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo, Yoda ♪ ♪ Now he’s not the world’s
most physical guy ♪ ♪ ‘Cause when you see him walk the court ♪ ♪ You’ll wonder why he’s called Yoda ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo, Yoda ♪ ♪ But when you watch him on the court ♪ ♪ Of our favorite sport, ♪ ♪ You hear the players say, ♪ ♪ I sure don’t want to play that Yoda ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo, Yoda ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo, Yoda ♪ ♪ He plays all day and every night ♪ ♪ Under those Arizona lights ♪ ♪ And he goes on home to get some rest ♪ ♪ Back in the morning
to beat all the best ♪ ♪ Oh, you know he wrote
a book about pickleball ♪ ♪ Where he shared a lot of secrets ♪ ♪ But not them all ♪ ♪ Because he’s Yoda ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo, Yoda ♪ ♪ He’s got a little mustache ♪ ♪ And he’s not very tall ♪ ♪ But you better watch out ♪ ♪ Because he’ll hit you in the ball ♪ ♪ Oh that Yoda ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo, Yoda ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo, Yoda ♪ ♪ I’m coming up to the
R-rated version now, sorry. ♪ ♪ Now girls play with boys
and boys play with girls ♪ ♪ It’s called mixed doubles ♪ ♪ And he likes to do it with Heather. ♪ ♪ La, la, la Heather ♪ ♪ Him and his woman
like to make the scene ♪ ♪ They like to play a little pickle ♪ ♪ If you know what I mean ♪ ♪ Oh, Yoda. ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo, Yoda ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo Yoda. ♪ ♪ Now how do you ever
think he got so good ♪ ♪ Well Heather turns him on ♪ ♪ She gives him wood ♪ ♪ Oh that Heather. ♪ ♪ La, la, la Heather ♪ ♪ She turns him in to a fiery guy ♪ ♪ He’s a world champion on Spanish fly ♪ ♪ Oh that Yoda ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo Yoda ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo Yoda ♪ ♪ He plays all day and every night ♪ ♪ Under those Arizona lights ♪ ♪ And goes on home to get some rest ♪ ♪ Back in the morning
to beat all the rest ♪ ♪ I’m not dumb but I don’t understand ♪ ♪ How he gets to the
ball like a younger man ♪ ♪ Oh that Yoda ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo Yoda ♪ ♪ Now if there ever is a hall of fame ♪ ♪ And now there is ♪ ♪ He’ll be the first inducted ♪ ♪ Sorry Pat Kane ♪ ♪ Because of Yoda ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo Yoda ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo, Yoda ♪ ♪ As far as songs go this is a parody ♪ ♪ I’m not getting paid ♪ ♪ I’m doin it for free ♪ ♪ Because of Yoda ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo, Yoda ♪ ♪ I’m not the world’s
most intelligent guy ♪ ♪ But I’ll teach you this verse ♪ ♪ And just give it a try, ♪ ♪ This is for everybody and say, ♪ ♪ Yoda ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo, Yoda ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo, Yoda ♪ ♪ Yoda. ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo, Yoda ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo, Yoda ♪ ♪ Yoda ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo, Yoda ♪ ♪ Yo, yo, yo, Yoda ♪ ♪ Yoda! ♪ (applause) (upbeat music) (applause) – Rif: As I’ve stated out on the courts, if Joel’s the father of pickleball, then Arlen
certainly is the father of the modern pickleball paddle. Ninety paddle companies
that are out there today. Basically all of them use
the same space-age technology that Arlen invented back in 1984. The owner of Pro-Lite
Sports, he and his son Steve worked tirelessly in their garage at home, on their courts putting
together the type of paddle that allowed us to have the
game that we have today. And Arlen has selected,
of course, his son Steven to say a few words about him
and give us a little bit more of an inside scoop besides
the accolades that we already have showered on
Arlen, all the other things that we know were done behind the scene, the dust that they were breathing, and all the obstacles
that they had to overcome to get the paddle industry
to where it is today. So, Steve for Arlen. (applause) – Steve: Thank you. This is so exciting for my dad and myself. I mean, how cool is it
to introduce your dad to a hall of fame of a sport. (applause) And not only that, it’s my favorite sport. (laughter) So, a double. So, I just have a few notes here, but all I have to do is
just look at them and I’ll be reminded of quite a few things here. So, this sport could be, I
mean this speech could be me introducing my dad
as an inductee to the hall of fame of pickleball. Or it could be a universal speech to just to the world’s best dad. Because all the things that my dad did, it intertwined with us getting
involved in pickleball. Dad and I always did hobbies. I mean everything you
could possibly imagine. Seymour’s stayed at my house,
and we talk about all the. Seymour is kinda like me
where you get involved in an activity, and you go all out, right? Well, dad and I did that
in many, many activities. And I jotted down a few. So my earliest memory
is baseball with dad. You know, going out and
him pitching balls to me, and you know, we’ve got the
wiffle bat, and baseball. Then fishing. Both of us just love fishing. Table tennis was really
that first racket sport that led me to tennis, which
then led me to pickleball. You know, we used to play some
great table tennis matches in the garage. My mom too. We’d play, you know, remember the old days when table tennis was
you’d go to 21 points? They don’t do that anymore by the way. Most people probably think
they do but they don’t. They go to 11 and they do three and five. But anyway, so if we won 21-15, the other, you’ve won six sets. You know, we played a penny a point. It was pretty competitive in our house. (laughter) And they tried. Especially my mom. She didn’t want me to ever beat her. I think it was at about
eighth grade before I could beat my mom at table tennis. Then it was basketball. Dad put up a, on my 12th
birthday, you know now we have all these portable
basketball hoops, don’t we. Well there was no such thing then. But dad goes ahead, and
we lived on a cul-de-sac, didn’t get any approval
from any neighborhood association or anything,
drills a hole in ground, puts a big sleeve in the
ground, a 10-foot hoop. And we did have a street light. And the whole neighborhood used it though. We put lines on the, official lines on the cul-de-sac, and we said NBA, which meant neighborhood basketball association. (laughter) And dad was the only dad who came out to play with all us kids. I just remember that he was
the only one that came out. All the other kids’ dads stayed inside. He came out and played. So, then we took up archery together. And target shooting. And we went hunting. We never hit any of the,
or we never shot anything. It was just the fun of going out hunting. But so, archery. Dad made the arrows, made you know. He liked to make things. We’ll get to that in just a little bit. Scouting, mountain biking. We took up that together. By the time we took that
up together, he was already in his 50s or 60s when did that one. Recumbent biking. Now he does a recumbent trike. Have you seen the ones with
two wheels in the front and one wheel in the back? We both have one, of course. But every time we did something,
we both did it together. Remote-controlled boats. Dad made the fastest, coolest
remote-controlled boats back in the 70s. We were members of the
Seattle Motor Yacht Club. Dad made the best boats. I could drive them pretty well,
but he made the best boats. I was a ventriloquist
since I was about 11 or 12. And I got the dummy in the Sears Catalog, the Danny O’Day dummy. (laughter) And dad saw that I had
an interest in this, and I was entertaining in
the classroom and you know, I won talent shows. So then dad makes my
professional dummies just like Paul Winchell. He bought the book with
Paul Winchell, if you guys remember who Paul Winchell is. And you know, I used that skill as a, I taught school for 30 years. And my kids at school
felt like my characters, like my dummies were part of the school. In fact when I retired from
teaching, the kids were really upset because
well, Kenny, which was one of my characters, finally
got his fifth-grade diploma when I retired. And they were gonna really miss Kenny. So he was a part of the school. So I used that skill
for the rest of my life. And we took up golfing,
billiards, photography. I mean, I could go on and on. But every time I did
something, he took it up or he learned something
that I would take it up. And then he would always figure out how to make things better
every time I had a hobby. He would, like I said,
build a fishing boat, built fishing boats, build
remote-controlled boats, teach me how to tie flies, and later when I became a schoolteacher,
I would always have, I would have some ideas
about things I needed to have improved in my classroom. So one day I’m teaching
miniature golf on a gym floor. Well, there’s no ball
that will roll straight on a gym floor and stop, is there? And so I was using fleece balls. That’s a yarn ball, and hockey sticks. And I set up a nine-hole
course for the kids and they loved it. They used the parachute as the sand trap and it would be real creative. But I thought, gee I wish
someone could make a ball. I was just telling my dad
someone needs to make a ball that’ll roll straight and then stop. Then next morning I get up, because I’m visiting my parents. The very next morning I get
up, he has these rubber balls with rubber bands sticking out of them. And you roll it a bit. It became a very popular PE product. We licensed it to Sportime,
which is a big PE company. And to this day it’s a very
popular product sold at school. That was very successful, of course. I would mention something
and then the next day he would figure out how to make it work. On the pickleball paddles, we
kind of have the same thing that Frank had earlier. I was that kid. I was that person complaining. I wasn’t a kid at the time. I was in my early twenties
playing pickleball tournaments with the
wooden paddles playing in Sid’s tournaments. And we kept, my partner
and I, Richard Scavington, kept losing to the same
team over and over, usually in the semi’s or finals. And dad would come and watch. He was my best fan. He wasn’t playing yet at that time. And I was just complaining
about the weight of a paddle. And I weighed my tennis racket, because I had played small college tennis. Weighed my tennis
racket, weighed the ball. The tennis racket weighs seven
times more than the ball. I weighed my pickleball paddle
and weighed the pickle ball, and the paddle weighed 13 times heavier. So I told dad the ratio is all wrong. I just told him. I didn’t say go make it. I didn’t say, you know, do it. But then two weeks later he’s visiting me and throws out two prototypes. And one of those prototypes
is at the hall of fame in Kent, Washington. And the other one is at
my house on the wall. But those are, then my
partner and I went with those very same two paddles. They’re crude prototypes
but they played pretty well. They played pretty much
very similar to what you’re using. Then we won everything for months. Months and months and months. And then we decided we
need to start a company. This is, right? So we’re watching a movie. We’re watching The Natural
with Robert Redford. And we’re trying to think,
what’s our logo gonna be. Well do you remember the
lightning bolt on the bat with the, that’s it. I mean just like. That’s our logo. So, you know that started Pro-Lite. So when you see those
lightning bolts over the Pro-Lite paddle. For about the next 10
years, we were the only ones making a composite paddle. And we’d go to a tournament
and we’d say, hey look. We finally have five
people using our paddle. Next tournament, 10. Next, 15. Next, pretty soon you
could count how many people didn’t have our paddles. You know, oh look there’s
five people with woods. And they would be like
Earl Burt is still using that wood paddle. (laughter) He hung on to that one
for a very long time. So dad set up in our
garage, an assembly line. We would rush off to Boeing
to buy surplus material. That was all surplus. We bought that pennies to the pound. You can’t do that anymore. And we’d fill up our truck, come home. And you know, dad would
lay them all out bigger. ‘Cause some of them were
different kinds of honeycomb, so that would be the lighter paddle. We made light, medium and heavy. Wes is still using the magnum, which is one that we made in our garage. That started right there. We had the end caps,
making those end caps. Dad made a machine with a drill press dad? – [Arlen] Yeah. – Steve: It was a drill press
and he figured out how to heat the plastic pellets. That’s another thing. We’d go get these plastic
pellets somewhere, heat it up. He made a mold, and then
we’d push it through. Mark remembers what a headache that was, ’cause what he had. So, you’d spend about 30
minutes to make five end caps, and two of them would be bad, right? (laughter) And that was my job. He would sit me in the
garage to make end caps. Yeah, yeah. I remember that one pretty well. Also dad made, since we have
this business going now, we thought well we got to
keep promoting pickleball because the more we promote
it, the more paddles we sell. So I organized a tournament
in Oregon at the time, we called it the Oregon Open, and we had 200 people play in 1989 in a tournament. Yeah, that was pretty,
and the night before, we were putting probably duct tape on the tennis court lines. You know, on the tennis
courts, we rented the courts. Dad made the first portable standards. And they were very crude. They were nothing like today. That should have been another invention, we should have thought of earlier, like they have today. But it worked for us. We put up, we had about 15 courts. And of course the next morning, we had been putting those
lines up until about four in the morning. We get there the next
day and all the lines are bubbling, and we had
to stick them back down. So, we would promote pickleball
by organizing tournaments. And here we are today with, we sold the company to Mark Candelaria who sold it to Mark. Now Mark’s son has that company. And now we’re here today with 90 companies basically making that paddle that dad made in the garage in 1984. (applause) I’m pleased to have dad
come up and say thanks. Come on up here, dad. Can he get some help coming up this way. And Randy, if you guys don’t know it, Randy and I have been playing
together since about ’87. And we claim that we were
the first team to stack because he’s left-handed
and I’m right-handed. And the Seattle guys
figured, we only did it when we served. But the Seattle guys figured how to do it when receiving. Why didn’t we think of that? Here you go dad. – [Rusty] Arlen Paranto! (applause) – Arlen: I just want to thank
the hall of fame committee and all the work they’ve done. And to Steve (mumbles) It’s a lot of work and I appreciate that. And to Rusty for all your work. (mumbles) (applause) – Rif: Put the ring on your dad. (applause) Arlen Paranto! (applause) (upbeat music) To start an organization from scratch is an incredible task. Sid Williams had the vision
of what this new sport needed and tried to make it legitimate. Tirelessly worked at
developing tournaments all over the Seattle-Tacoma area. As I stated on the court, just
blown away by all the funds that came in, were donated
then to food banks. This is a man that I’ve
only just met today but obviously has a heart of gold. Sid, would you please
come up and, we have, hold on. Sorry, I’m out of order. Sid has selected, for
his presenter, Evelyn, Beverly, excuse me, to
come up and say a few words for him. (applause) One thing I learned
today in talking to Sid, that I want to make
mention, you need sometimes somebody that’s got a
lot of guts and what we call chutzpah. Sid, when he was promoting pickleball, send paddle ball to Nancy
and President Regan, and said this is a game that you guys need to pick up. (laughter) Sid Williams. (applause) – Beverly: First of all I want
to thank all of you guys for coming tonight, ’cause as you can see, this has been a very special evening, and I think you have learned
a lot about pickleball that you didn’t know. And so we continue on with
the honor of the honorees. To be able to introduce Sid
Williams is very special because Jennifer and I flew
to Tacoma last September to kind of crash Sid
Williams’s 80th birthday party, which was being held at Fort Defiance, which is that little
peninsula out at Tacoma. Now I had not met, nor had
Jennifer met Sid beforehand. But we called him because
we wanted to interview him for our book that we have been writing on the history of pickleball. So we said, Sid could we
meet with you and do a little interview Saturday
morning before the party? And he said, oh no. He said, I’m too busy. I go, oh, okay. I said, well but it’s your birthday. He goes, yeah but I’m too busy. I’ve got to cook. And I said, but it’s your birthday. He goes, I know. I’ve got to cook for 200
people for my birthday party. (laughter) I haven’t met him yet. So I said, well how about Friday night? So we met at a local restaurant, never having met him. We said okay, we’ll meet
you at so-and-so restaurant. So Jennifer and I are waiting. Here comes this gentleman
with like five Costco bags, like 25 pounds each. And he comes in with all
of these photo albums. And we go, I think that must be Sid. And he sat down, and we
spent the entire evening just chatting about the
history of pickleball and all of what he has saved
through his photography and the albums. And then Jennifer and I
took all of that and went to Office Depot or something
for the next five hours or whatever, and kept
those machines going. So that was our way, and then we mentioned the birthday party, and
it was truly an honor to meet Sid and his wife. There were probably over 2, 300 people, wasn’t there Sid? And they’re all there to
honor Sid for everything that he’s done for our sport, and also for racketball, because we did meet a few that had racketball and
we hadn’t converted them over to pickleball. (laughter) But they were honoring
Sid for his friendship and all that he has done
with his energy and passion. Now, he started, he was
introduced to pickleball in the 70s, but he really
didn’t start playing until about 1982. And this is interesting for all of you, because this seems like a new sport. But what other sport has
been really originated in your lifetime? I’m not sure that there is any other sport that really got started,
and you guys are all part of it. And it’s just kind of an exciting thing. But to me, what Arlen
and everyone before Sid, and everything that all
of these guys have done, I had no idea either until
Jennifer and I started our adventure three years ago. So I had to write a couple of things down so I wouldn’t forget. But when he was introduced
into the pickleball, he’s really the one that took pickleball from the backyard. Because really when
everything was started, it was like Fourth of
July, Labor Day weekend kind of thing, and it
was at Bainbridge Island. But when Sid came in with
his organizational skills, he really started the
tournaments and the leagues. And everything was done by hand. Can you imagine that? I mean the rankings, the
tournaments, the points. Everything was done manually. So we’ve come a heck of a long way, you know as far as technology. But that in itself was
really quite something. And of course he did
this for racketball too because he could host
racketball and pickleball tournaments consecutively. Most people would come Friday after work, and correct me if I’m wrong. And those tournaments
were like bloody marathons and might not finish
until 2:00 Monday morning. But when you entered the
tournament, you know that that’s how it was set up. And this was all indoor play. So there again, we’ve come a long ways from what we see here today at nationals. He created the first USAPA which was United States Amateur
Pickleball Association. And that was about 1984. When we went through everything
that Sid shared with us, I was amazed. Being an executive secretary
I did a lot of letter writing, but this guy put me to
shame because he wrote every senator, governor,
legislator, mayor, whoever, asking for donations and
assistance for the tournaments. When he created USAPA
just like Rif had said, President Regan was
honored to be number one membership of the USAPA. (applause) Nobody got number two
because it wasn’t important. It wasn’t important to have
the numbers at that point, but for President Regan,
but I think you said President Regan wasn’t very athletic. -Sid: The special people
that worked for Mr. Regan as his bodyguards, we sent
the balls, the paddles the nets. Didn’t have any wood poles,
so the special services people said that Regan, Mr.
Regan and Nancy were not very athletic. (laughter) But they said that they certainly
enjoyed the pickleballs. (laughter) – Beverly: Then we go on as he
started the tournaments, Natalie’s Pickles was one
of the major sponsors. And so was Budweiser. (laughter) They had beer at the tournaments. But you couldn’t have the
beer unless you were 21, and you couldn’t start
drinking until after noon or something. (laughter) And he never chose to be very responsible but we got pictures of all the sponsors. I just thought that was a little different than what we see today. Also, when he created the ranking systems, the rating systems, and
when Barney McCallum created the first rules,
which was only one page, that didn’t work so well for tournaments. So Sid then created really
what you might refer to as the first real rule book as far as tournament play is concerned. And you know, we’ve come a long ways even from that with all of the interpretations. They hosted a lot of leagues, seminars and exhibitions. And what I just loved
is that if you played in one of Sid’s tournaments and you lost, you know what you had to do? You had to ref the next match. (laughter and applause) Wasn’t that great Linda? Now if it was mixed
doubles or women’s’ doubles you would flip a coin or whatever, but one of you had to, you
know, ref the next match. I thought that was a wonderful idea. And it seemed to work. Because Fran Myer,
where’s Fran by the way? Okay, Fran says she
became a really good ref because she lost a few times. (laughter) I just had to add that Fran. Anyway, also the other thing they did in the tournaments that
Sid created is that there was no double elimination. The top two players would play for gold. And then you would have
someone for bronze, but there was no double elimination when they first did this. I had to write notes so I
wouldn’t forget all of these. Also the, one of the things
I think that Sid’s very proud with is that he presented
a plaque to Joel Pritchard. And I know Frank has already
left, but that was pretty cool. ‘Cause he had already
planned a trip with his wife to Hawaii, and they’re leaving
like six in the morning, so he had to leave to catch
the flight so he could sleep at Sea-Tac to show up on his flight tomorrow morning. But one of the tournaments
that Joel Pritchard was always very supportive of the
tournaments, and when he could he would come and he
would present the awards to all of the different
ones and Sid could maybe enhance that. But he did give Joel a plaque that said, Father of Pickleball. So I guess we have two
fathers of pickleball, because we’ve already
mentioned that before. But we don’t have a picture of that because we can’t find the plaque. – Sid: Yeah. – Beverly: Anyway, that’s true. Okay in closing, one of the
things that I thought was really special with Sid
is that he said one day we’re gonna look back
at the humble beginnings with a feeling of pride and having been in on the birth of this
great organized sport. (applause) I’ll turn the microphone over to Sid. – Sid: Thank you. We used to hold some great tournaments. – Beverly: Hold that up here. – Sid: We used to hold some great tournaments. We had sponsors like Nabisco,
Natalie’s, Budweiser, Mega Foods, Baskin Robbins and for my birthday, I made 600 pounds of spaghetti. (laughter) – Beverly: Tell them about the pickles. – Sid: Okay. Let me say this first. I went to a friend of mine who
owned an Italian Restaurant. And I asked him how much
he would charge me to make the spaghetti for me. $1,300.00. I did it at home, and I
think it might have cost what, $200? Something like that. Anyway, we had so much
spaghetti and stuff left over, we had to pass it out
to people to take home, because my refrigerator
sure wasn’t big enough to put it in there. (laughter) My wife helps me more than anybody else. She’s the person that does
everything that I can’t do. And there’s more of it
that she does than I do. (applause) Barney and my good friend, Mr. Pritchard, were friends of mine. He was the lieutenant governor for the State of Washington. And I knew that he had a
lot to do with pickleball. So I called him one day
in Washington, I mean in Washington state, and
said Barney, would you like to help me do something. He said, what are you talking about? I said they’re having the
Wananchi games in Wananchi. And you can take as many
players as you want to go. So we took 87 pickleball players and 90 racketball players. So we ran both facilities at that site. And the director came
down to us and he said, I can’t believe that you’re doing this. He said, how did you get it organized? I said, I asked people
if they would do it. And I said Barney said, when I asked him would he come and pass out awards. And he said yes, I sure would. He was as happy as he could be. And I’ve never met a
man that was more gentle and genuine than him. And that’s. (applause) I’d like you to know that,
here’s what happened. This young lady and her
daughter gave me a call and said hey, do you know
anything about pickleball? (laughter) I said, yeah, a little bit. (laughter) So she said, can you let
us have some material? I said, well I’m busy. I’m making spaghetti. (laughter) So they said, well can
you come over and bring some stuff and leave it with us? And I said, sure. I bought a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff. When you’re talking about photo albums, maybe 10 or 12, like this thick, with everything in it
from ratings, rankings, all of that stuff. And I trusted them. And they called me back and they said, thank you very much for this. I said, well would you guys like to come to my birthday party? (laughter) I got lots of spaghetti. (laughter) So they did show up. And we had 198 people
show up for that party. And I couldn’t believe it. I lost 12 pounds that day
just walking back and forth and getting stuff to serve the people. But I did enjoy it. I did enjoy it. I had to go home later
and get in the jacuzzi. (laughter) But let me say this about this lady here. She is very passionate about what she does in relationship to whatever’s gonna make the light shine. And she certainly did it with me. And I couldn’t ask for a
better person, trustworthy, caring, and her daughter too. (applause) – Beverly: Sid sent me a big package of photos. And if you haven’t had time to come see this little tri fold. This will show you what
pickleball was in about the 80s, early 90s. Wonderful outfits. See if you can find, some of you in the audience are over here, but I’m gonna let you
find them yourselves. You might recognize a
couple of the players. Anyway, be sure you take a peak. Thank you. – Rif: Okay, we’d like to present Sid now with a Pickleball Hall of Fame jacket. (applause) And a Pickleball Hall of Fame ring. Congratulations. – Sid: I’ll wear both with pride. (applause) (upbeat music) – Rif: You know, Mark Friedenberg is deserving in both categories. Just got a list of just
his national championships, and it’s just absolutely incredible. Eight time gold champion,
four silvers, six bronzes at the Huntsman. Three national titles
in gold, four silvers, two bronzes. USAPA President. Author of the first book in pickleball to help spread the game
throughout the United States. And still I think a great book. And then of course, continued
the legacy that Arlen started by being an owner of Pro
Lite, which is now run by his son, Neil. Neil has selected Fran to
give you some additional information on Mark. They’ve known each other
for quite some time. So Fran, would you please come up? (applause) – Fran: Thank you. I just want to tell you
a story, a long, long, long, long time ago, in a log cabin in Hollywood, California. (laughter) A young couple had a baby boy. (laughter) Well this baby came out,
the parents looked at it, and they were stunned at
how wrinkly this baby was. (laughter) And they said, we’ve never seen anything so ancient looking. (laughter) So they named him Yoda. (laughter) Yoda loved all kinds of
sports as he was growing up. He played basketball, baseball, football, racketball, softball,
tennis, table tennis. He also was a good student. Eventually he entered
college and earned a BA in mathematics from Cal State Northridge, and an MS in computer science from the University of
Southern California. Another thing many of you may not know is that Mark joined the Navy. After 20 years of service, he retired as a lieutenant commander. While in the Navy, he was stationed at the US Naval Academy for almost
eight years coordinating their two computer
centers for the Director of Computer Services. He also was a computer science instructor. Most of you know Yoda as a
highly accomplished athlete on the pickleball court. For over 25 years he has
dominated play in both the open category and
in his own age group. He is an author of books on pickleball. He is also the former
owner of Pro Lite Sports. But his single most important
accomplishment so far is his vision for the future of pickleball and taking the initiative
to form the new USAPA. Now many of you don’t know the history. But back in 2004 during the
Arizona Senior Olympics, and many of you were there,
a meeting was called. All pickleball players come. We want to see how many
people are interested in forming an organization
so that there would be an organization to oversee
running pickleball. So people came, and our
memory has kind of failed us. None of us could remember exactly how many people were there. But we asked, how many
of you would be willing to pay $25.00 membership dues to be in this kind of organization. ‘Cause we wanted to see
if there was commitment and interest. And about 45 people signed this list. I know there weren’t more than 45. There might have been fewer. So, yay! We have 45 people who are interested in forming an organization! Great! Everybody clapped and
everybody went out the door and they went home. For a whole year nothing happened. (laughter) Then finally, Mark decided he had had a memory of a, well let me back up a little bit because, you know that Sid Williams formed the first organization and then Mark Candelaria continued on with it. And because of health problems and lack of attention, it languished
and all but disappeared. So meanwhile back in Washington after this whole year had gone by, Yoda was recalling an expression that was posted on the walls of the US Naval Academy. If not you, then when. If not now, or it’s if not you, then who. If not now, then when. And that expression convinced
him to start the new USAPA Pickleball Association. It called together, the
first board members, some of us kind of reluctantly, and we sat around the table and had many meetings and discussions and
agreements and disagreements, and after a while we had the beginnings of a new USAPA. And when Jo Hancock, where is Jo? – [Audience Member] She’s here – Fran: When Jo Hancock signed
up as the very first USAPA member, the organization was on its way. So thank you, Jo Hancock. (speaker drowned out by applause) We have faith in Yoda’s vision. The USAPA and its internet
presence that gave people all around the world,
wide access to information about where to play, how to
create a pickleball court, the official rules, upcoming tournaments, training materials, ratings, rankings, and stimulated huge growth
throughout North America and beyond. The first USAPA Nationals was in 2009, only four years after the
formation of the new USAPA. There were almost 400 participants. Today, now, the USAPA is hosting its ninth USAPA National Championship
here at Casa Grande, with over 1,570 participants. (applause) and other major
tournaments are popping up, like the Tournament of
Champions which has taken place for the past five years. The US Open Pickleball
Tournament in Naples, two years. And Madrid has hosted
the first international pickleball tournament two years ago. Some of you were there. Right over there. And this year, Spain
included the inaugural IFP Bainbridge Cup, which the USA, North America, came home with the trophy. (applause) And now here we are, only two-and-a-half, or twelve-and-a-half years’ later since Mark had his vision. The USAPA has over 20,000 members and over 1,600 pickleball
ambassadors across the USA and Canada. The growth of this sport
has exploded and claims that it is the fastest-growing
sport is not just hyperbole. This has been the amazing
result of Yoda’s vision. But more than all the paid
memberships, tournaments, places to play and hundreds of businesses that were spawned by pickleball’s growth, are the many players around the world. Most are not tournament players. There are people who have discovered the fun of this addictive sport. They now enjoy the health benefits, the social interaction and the enjoyment of making new friends wherever they go to play this wonderful sport. Such widespread growth
would not have happened as quickly as it did without
Yoda’s ancient wisdom and initiative. It’s an honor to introduce
2017 Pickleball Hall of Fame member, Mark Yoda Friedenberg. (applause) -Mark: And everything I had on my notes here, she went through. (laughter) What am I gonna do now? Oh by the way, Jim and Yvonne, that was Pat and Ron King, okay. Thank you very much Fran. I appreciate it. I’ve known Fran and
Barney for about 20 years. And by the way, it was Fran and Barney who started the Nationals. They started it. (applause) I’m gonna make this short. I have a few thank you’s and
something about friendship. I want to thank you all for coming to this historical event. I appreciate it. We’ve had five hall of fame
members already, and wow. The speeches are unbelievable. Thank you Seymour and David and the rest of the Pickleball Hall of Fame members, the nomination committee,
the selection committee, and any other members. I really appreciate that. To my dad. He encouraged me. He said there’s nothing I cannot do. In other words, if I
worked harder and smarter and did something with a passion, I would be very successful. So I appreciate my dad’s comments too. To Mark and Al Hager. Thanks for hosting me. I might be outside the casino at night. (laughter) Thank you. I appreciate it. And a very special thank
you to Heather Irwin, who came out here just
for this special occasion. You mean a lot to me. You’re a very special person. Thank you. This award is very special to me. To be associated with the founding fathers of pickleball is just amazing. I can’t say anything about it. I mean I’m speechless. This award to me is the highest honor that any pickleball
player can have, really. It’s amazing. A couple of things. Anyone who plays
pickleball knows that this is the fastest-growing sport. Fran already talked about that. Well, there are reasons for that. You get great exercise. Excuse me. It’s easy to play. The USAPA Ambassador Program. The IPTPA conducting clinics and lessons. And everyone who plays, everyone who plays is a pickleball ambassador
and spreads the growth. Spreads the word about pickleball. Those are reasons why this sport has grown exponentially. Well, I think there is
another reason as well. Friendship. I think friendship is very important.. I have many friends in this sport. And huh, wow. I consider, with all
these pickleball friends, I’m the luckiest person in the world. Is there any other sport that, oh let’s go back. I’m a terrible speaker. Okay. – Rif: You’re doin’ great. (laughter) – Mark: Well I would bet that
most people in this room have more pickleball friends
than any other friends in their life. And that’s extremely important. For that reason I am very lucky too. One of the things I do
is, I just can’t wait to get on the pickleball courts. Why? Because I like to play
and I like to schmooze. (laughter) That’s what it’s all about for me. Wow, again. With all you friends, I’m the
luckiest person in the world. I love you all and I love pickleball. Thank you. (applause) – Rif: Just before we move on
to our final inductee, I wanted to make mention,
several of our presenters mentioned the growth of
pickleball through tournaments and through rankings, and that reminded me that we have a tier
three sponsor, and that’s Pickleball Tournaments and
Melissa, and what they’ve done and what their predecessor,
Bob, did is to create the software and everything else for pickleball tournaments
I think is truly incredible. And certainly it was responsible,
along with everything else that’s been said to the
growth of pickleball. (applause) The other third tier sponsor is Paddletek. And I just want to make mention, for those of you who haven’t seen it, that cup that was won in Spain is. You know we talk about
pickleball and the love and everything that goes with it, but let’s go USA too, right? Because I dream one
day of pickleball being in the Olympics. And those that are in the room here today and some of the young players that we saw on the court, they’re
gonna be representing USA. So we’ll be bringing home stuff like that quite frequently. (applause) Our final inductee. (upbeat music) (applause) Probably beyond the national titles that Billy has won, the one thing
that I learned just today was, absolutely incredible
to me is that Billy has won multiple national titles,
singles and doubles. But now listen to this. He played lefty and then he played righty, for the entire tournament. So he didn’t just switch hands like our next presenter Wes is known to do, but he played the entire tournament righty and won nationals. And then played the
entire tournament lefty and won nationals. That to me is unbelievable. (applause) To talk more about Billy
is our own Wes Gabrielsen. (applause) – Wes: All right. What a great evening so far. (speaker drowned out by applause) And now for those of
you that know me well, I do like to talk. And I know that the night is late here, but we have some great
things to talk about here. What I want you to do is
forget about pickleball here for a second. All right. When you think about hall of fame, whatever it is, for sport, for music, whatever it is. Okay every hall of famer has
the following characteristics. Within a sport, an athlete
who’s a hall of famer has exceptional skill. They’re very competitive. They show dignity on the
court and off the court. They’re tremendous sports
in victory and defeat. I know in defeat is difficult to show sportsmanship sometimes. They’ve had a long career, and they’ve had success. And all of these characteristics
fit Billy Jacobsen. All of these things he has had throughout his illustrious pickleball career. Now when I started playing
pickleball in 2012 okay, as You-Tube was coming around. I know we’ve all watched a lot of You-Tube pickleball videos, okay. I’ve been told about this
guy, Billy Jacobsen, okay. Billy Jacobsen, that I
should watch him on You-Tube. So I go on there. I see this big, strong guy with long hair, and I’m gonna think
he’s gonna hit the snot of the ball every, single time. Because he’s this big, strong guy. But he has incredible touch. And how many of you, and this
is completely aside here, how many of you know Chris Miller? Pickleball favorite, Chris Miller. Okay, as we know Chris Miller’s got some very interesting opinions
about pickleball. But he was the guy that
said you gotta watch Billy. Okay, Billy is the guy
that you need to model your game after when you
start playing pickleball. Okay, in my opinion, and
I’ve seen a lot of great pickleball players, okay. I’ve lost to a lot of
great pickleball players. I think Billy Jacobsen is the greatest pickleball player of all time. Okay, hands down. Hands down. And I’m gonna tell you why. He has the most open
tournament championships of any player in pickleball history. He is a USAPA, a Canadian and
an indoor national champion. He won the very first Tournament
of Champions doubles title. For seven years in a
row, he was undefeated in open pickleball tournaments. Seven years in a row, okay. I believe he’s the only
pickleball player that has won open tournaments with four different types of pickleballs. That’s the Cozem ball, the
Jugs ball, the Dura ball and the Onix ball. Twenty-seven years in
a row, he won at least one open tournament championship. Twenty-seven years in a row. And he won 17 consecutive open tournaments in the state of Washington. And let’s give him a round of applause. (applause) Now what some of you may
not know is that Billy made his pickleball
debut at the age of 19. He was a very, very
successful accomplished tennis player in his youth. And he played number one for
the University of Washington and to go on Rif’s point,
what he had mentioned earlier, the reason Billy started
playing left-handed, he didn’t want to mess up his tennis game. All right. He didn’t want to mess up his tennis game. So he started playing left-handed, okay. He played left-handed
from his debut at age 19, until he was 31. He played all left-handed. For 12 years in a row. When I met the guy, I got
to see his right-handed. (laughter) Yeah, I hadn’t seen
that left-handed stuff. But as Rif had said earlier,
he’s the only person to dominate playing all
left-handed tournaments and all right-handed tournaments. I don’t think we’re ever
going to see that again, okay. But what’s really important
to me and to a lot of players that started when I started
playing, is that Billy really was, he was the blueprint
for a pro pickleball player. Right, his style, his
strategy, his demeanor on the court. He was the guy we all aspired to be, okay. Now think about his dominance, all right. Great success on the pickleball court. He won all those titles. Now imagine this. Doing all of that with type I diabetes. Okay. Now when he had some health
issues when he played, when his blood sugar would get low, the following things will
happen to Billy when he plays. He’s gonna lose power on his shots. And he’s gonna lose some foot speed. He has vision difficulties,
chronic dehydration and Cramping. But he never complained, and he won. (laughter) He never complained, and he won, okay. He was tremendously successful, okay. I can’t imagine doing that, okay. Having to go through that,
not complaining about it, and being successful. Now I think that deserves
a great round of applause. (applause) Now Billy had a really
successful playing career but his impact goes beyond
his success as a player. Okay, again in having some
discussion with his wife Darcy, we were talking about some
of the other things he did to make a real great impact on this sport. Okay, Billy had the suggestion
of making pickleball tournaments double elimination. All right, when we think
about this, my assumption is maybe there were consolation brackets for single elimination at the time. Okay, but he helped introduce that. He suggested in the loser’s
bracket, that matches should be played one game to 15. Or one game to 21. Okay, before that rule was introduced, all of the back draw matches
were two out of three games. So you can imagine how long
those tournaments would take. And he had a major
influence on the time limits that people have for time outs, or in between games. So his influence goes far
beyond his playing ability. But I think for all of us that know Billy, he’s really a hall of fame person. He’s got this gentle side to him. I’ve had some great interactions with him over the years talking about his family. He glows when he talks about his kids and what they’re doing. And I can tell that
he’s a dedicated father, and he’s a great husband. He’s been a great mentor to me. I know when I started playing pickleball, Billy and I would email
back and forth about, I don’t know if we ever did
play a tournament together? I don’t think we did. We talked about it. One day we will. One day hopefully we will. But he was such an
inspiration for all of us that were starting in
the game and coming from tennis, and I can’t thank him enough for what he’s done for the sport, for what he’s done for me. And so it is, despite all
the success we might have as pickleball players, this
is one of the highlights of my pickleball life is to
introduce one of my heroes. So come on up Billy. (applause) – Rif: Big guy! Wide guy! – David: We’re all ready to do the jacket. (applause) – Billy: thank you. (applause) – Rif: And now David will have
some closing comments. We want to thank all
of you for being here. It was a great evening. We appreciate all your support. The first of many. – David: I’ve got a couple, three things. It’s late and I know you want to go home, and several of you are
playing in the morning. First of all, I want
to recognize all those that serve on the hall of fame committee. Would you please stand
up and be recognized? (applause) Here’s the folks with a
little time we put together and put together a great evening. Thank you, Rif. You did a great job. (applause) I want to leave you with this thought. There was a great man called Walt Disney. Walt Disney once said, if you can dream it you can do it. Tonight you have met those dreamers. Have a great night! (ambient music)

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