House plans tournament for new pickleball courts at Neahwa Park | Local News

The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce is in deep trouble.

The group announced their first pickleball tournament, presented in partnership with the Oneonta YMCA, at the end of May. The event, which will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 26 (with a rain date on June 27), will take place at the new pickleball courts in Neahwa Park and will feature men’s, women’s, mixed and open divisions. , grouped according to capacity and age.

Kathryn Dailey, director of events and chamber member services, said that while the tournament will function as a fundraiser for the chamber, it also aims to showcase the city’s grounds and sport.

“This happens for a number of reasons,” Dailey said. “It’s a really fun game that almost anyone can play; you don’t have to be a real athlete. It is a combination of tennis, table tennis and racquetball. You have to have the courts … and the City of Oneonta Parks Commission just created these new lots. They took two tennis courts in Neahwa and turned them into eight pickleball courts, so these are small spaces, so even if you are older and not very mobile, the ball will be within reach.

“It started in the ’80s,” Dailey continued. “Two guys started playing it and they named it Pickle because their dog’s name was Pickle… and it exploded from there. Now there are national competitions and it’s big all over the country in the pockets, but the real draw is that anyone can play it – middle aged or older people – and it gets people moving. people. Lots of people play indoors in the winter – in the Andes there’s a whole band there, and there was a band at SUNY Oneonta before it closed for the pandemic – so it’s an activity for the inside and outside and it’s played with a whiffle ball. We wanted to highlight the fact that it’s a great way to get a little exercise and hang out with friends, but even during COVID you’re pretty far away. “

Dailey said organizers also hope the tournament will help boost downtown businesses.

“We have a golf tournament every year, so our thought was to do another (fundraiser), something in the spring, that would get people out… stand up and have a nice lunch on Main Street and go shopping, and it certainly relates to our mission to help local businesses.

Planning for the tournament, Dailey said, began in late April, with the Oneonta YMCA and other groups in the area expressing immediate excitement. Dailey said the chamber intends to make the tournament an annual event.

“The Y is helping us with that, and they’re very excited because they have a band playing there in the winter,” she said. “And people are calling and messaging and we’ve got teams signed up. We would like to encourage people to come and watch, even if they are not in it. Due to COVID, there are still a lot of rules in the park, but people can bring their own chairs, put them around the field, and enjoy the excitement of the game.

“We have a registered team from Delhi and someone from a group from the Andes, so people are coming from outside of Oneonta,” Dailey continued. “If anyone has played this game, they are enraged and a huge fan of it.”

According to a press release, “YMCA professionals will make the materials, based on gender, age, and USAPA rating.” Participants must self-rank on usapickleball.org and register for the tournament on otsegocc.com, under the “Upcoming Events” tab. The statement notes that “once registered, the tournament director will contact you (with) questions or updates.”