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VIDEO: Langley City pickleball tournament helps kids

Fundraiser for autism assessments at Douglas Park community School

A three-day Langley City pickleball event was expected to raise around $20,000 for learning assessments at Douglas Park Community School. 

Running from July 4-7, organizers estimated the fourth annual Douglas Park Pickleball charity tournament, which is believed to be the largest pickleball tournament in the Lower Mainland, drew more than 230 players.

That was up from the 2023 edition, which saw 180 players take part, and raised $20,062 for the Douglas Park Community School Society.

Jan Morgan, a member of the Society board was one of the volunteers.

"A lot of children and their parents" at the school had problems accessing funding for assessments, Morgan explained.

"This is why we fundraise."

One of the organizers from the Douglas Park Pickleball group, Kristina Crosgrey, said they were hoping to meet or beat last year's tally.

"Our charity tournament is used by the school Society to offer learning assessments, primarily for autism ,to kids that otherwise couldn't afford them," Crosgrey said.

"When those kids get assessed, their families have access to a great many supports. So the support that we offer doesn't help just the kids but all the community and we're really proud of that."

Co-organizer Harvey Joseph said pickleball has become one of the fastest-growing sports in Canada because any age can play.

"The oldest person that we have playing here is 90," Joseph told the Langley Advance Times. 

"And the youngest is about 13," Crosgrey added.

"It's very inclusive."

A final tally wasn't expected for a week or two.

Pickleball, a combination of tennis and badminton, with squared-off rackets and a hollow plastic ball, was was created in 1965 on Bainbridge Island in Washington by future congressman and state lieutenant governor Joel Pritchard and two of his friends, Barney McCallum and Bill Bell.

When the trio couldn't find the shuttlecock for a badminton court, they used table tennis paddles with different types of balls, and lowered the net.

There are conflicting accounts about where the name came from, with claims it was chosen by a spouse, or named after a pet, or because one of the creators enjoyed hitting the ball in a way that would put an opponent “in a pickle.”

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