Hello to all of our 503 St. James Pickleball Association (SJPA) members, at this early point in the year! Here we are nearing the end of February with a few fun, successful events behind us, and lots more to come. 

Our Winter Dance was fabulous with lots of dancing to great music provided by The Salty Dawgs! To top it off, we raised over $3,200 for Matthew’s Ministry! Thanks to the Social Committee for a well-organized event. The beautiful raffle baskets were a huge hit! We are looking forward to many more awesome social events this year.

Mother Nature did not cooperate for our Winter Classic Pickleball event, which had to be canceled. Almost a wash-out, our Valentine’s Pickleball Social ended up being a big success! (Many thanks to the Events committee members who spent more than an hour rolling the courts!) Laughter, yummy food, and fun pickleball ensued – and the weather cooperated. Our Events and Tournaments committee is hard at work planning more excellent activities to enjoy this year.

Coming in March, Kim has a pro-night planned on the 2nd, so, mark your calendars.

The popular Progressive Dinner is on the 16th, a St. Patrick’s Day Pickleball Social on the 17th, and then something new to our repertoire, “Mixed Up Doubles” social pickleball will be on the 22nd. More details will be on our website. 

Our awesome webmaster and Board member, Al Hausmann, and his side-kick Diana Kelly, keep us all “in the know,” with a jam-packed website, http://www.stjamespickleball.com.   One feature we’ve recently added is a “ST. JAMES PICKLEBALL ASSOCIATION – 2023 CALENDAR of EVENTS,” so you can see the activities that our committees have planned and easily update your calendar! Be sure to check out the website frequently, so you don’t miss the latest happenings on and off the courts planned for this year.

Membership is still growing! Every month, Christine Cournoyer and her army of volunteers, welcomes 20 or more folks to the “New To Pickleball” event. Then Christine runs a “Beginners Pickleball” every week, teaching the basics to those who catch the pickleball “bug.” This wonderful service provided by our volunteers helps our newbies learn the game and find other players at their level, so they can enjoy the game we all love to play!

Our Sunshine Committee, Chaired by Kathy Goliszek, has been very busy, and we hear great reviews from our members who are recipients of their cards, meals, and support when injuries, surgeries, illness, etc. arise. This committee also coordinates food collections at different events throughout the year on behalf of the Southport-Oak Island Interchurch Fellowship Food Pantry (SOIIFC), who is so grateful for the generous donations and support of the SJPA. 

The roll out of the new, Troon Chelsea reservation system (is that a groan I hear?) has been challenging, to say the least. That being said, it seems like folks are getting the hang of the system, in spite of the frustrations as we adjust to this new product. We will be approaching our Club Management about the possibility of some improvements to the system, to make it more user friendly, and will keep you updated.

Another recent addition is the Dynamic Universal Pickleball Rating (DUPR). We are optimistic that this system and its complex algorithm will assist with obtaining reliable ratings that will be useful for our players as they participate in SJPA events, as well as tournaments, ladders, and other events outside of SJPA. Since DUPR is new to most of us, we are anxious to get to that 60th game entry that will (hopefully) give us a realistic rating.

Your SJPA board and committees are working diligently on your behalf, to make 2023 a momentous year. As we strive to provide a well-rounded pickleball program, Board Members: President (me): Deb Chiarello – oversee the various events and activities, VP: George Johnson, Treasurer: Kathy McArthur, Secretary: Mary Heatherly, Communications: Al Hausmann, Tournaments and Events: Jeff Franken, Social: Liz Wilson. 

I continue to represent the SJPA on the Troon Sports Advisory Committee, where we work with our Club management to provide an excellent pickleball experience for our Club members. We are listening to you, and continue to make recommendations for expansion, improvements, and maintenance at our facilities.

Most importantly, we are thankful for each and every one of you, and appreciate your enthusiasm and support. Please feel free to contact me, or any of our board members, if you have questions, concerns, or suggestions. I look forward to seeing you on the courts! 

All the best!
Deb Chiarello,
SJPA President