Deptford’s pickleball program hosted a four-day tournament at Memorial Park earlier this month to raise funds for the township’s veteran’s association.
“All of the money is going to our veteran’s association here in the township,” said Recreation Director Charlie Kirchner. “Last year, we raised over $3,000. We’re gonna give them more this year.”
There were four matches in the tournament, which began on Sept. 7. The first day featured a doubles competition for people 70 and over, followed the second day by a contest for those 60 and over. The third day featured singles for all ages and the fourth saw doubles for all ages. The winners of each tournament were presented with medals for their efforts.
Despite hot weather over the four days, dozens of pickleball fans showed up each day to play. According to Kirchner, 195 people registered for this year’s tournament, up from last year’s number.
“We were so pleased,” Kirchner said. “We have people from all over South Jersey. Some (are) from down the Shore.”
The event was organized by the mayor and council to benefit the township’s veteran’s association.
“The mayor and council are behind everything here,” said Kirchner, “and what we’ll do is that after everything is over, we’ll invite the mayor, council and the veteran’s association and our club to do a big presentation of a check.”
The exact amount of money raised from the tournament has yet to be determined.
Pickleball is a sport similar to tennis played on a smaller scale. Its popularity locally and around the country led to the construction of pickleball courts at Memorial Park, formerly Fasola Park.
The township hosts two-hour weekly games every Thursday at the park courts during spring and summer and at the recreation center in fall and winter.