In just two days, I’ll be off again to go play in an international tournament! This time, to the 3rd Amsterdam International Pickleball Tournament which this year is in Almere, Netherlands, a very short train ride from Schiphol Airport. I’m thrilled to be partnering my good friend Bonita Baker-Robbins (England), and my pickleball husband Leonardo Gonzales (Canary Islands/London).
I am the “official” ball courier (self appointed title), as I will be bringing an extra case with the tournament balls, provided by Pickleball Central. I’ll also have some informational brochures from another tournament sponsor, Pickleball Trips, a company owned and managed by the well known pickleball family, the Moore’s, Jon, Daniel and Scott. Check out their website! https://pickleballtrips.com/
When I arrive, I will be traveling south to Den Haag, also known as The Hague in English. Although Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, Den Haag is the seat of the Dutch parliament and home of the International Criminal Court and the U.N.’s International Court of Justice.
I will be met at the Den Haag Centraal Station Starbucks by my friend Krishna Thakrar who will be my host for two nights where I am excited to taste her vegan cuisine! I am told she is a wonderful cook! To work up my appetite, I will be teaching some fun drills to the Den Haag Pickleball Club Tuesday night, and then teaching new players at a local tennis club on Wednesday! That will be interesting as I am warned that many of the tennis club folks don’t speak English!
On Thursday, I’ll meet my friends Bonita and Emma at Schiphol, as well as a young college student who has offered to be our driver for the day so that we can get to our apartment in Almere, check in and drop our luggage, then get to Haarlem in time for an organized tournament event, a walking tour. These types of offerings allow us to be able to see parts of the host city/country as well as to meet other participants and reconnect with those we have met before. After the tour, there will be open practice play with other local and tournament pickleball players. We’ll then enjoy some dinner and then take the train back to Almere and our apartment.
The tournament starts on Friday with singles, then Saturday and Sunday for men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles. There are some 225 participants from 17 different countries including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, England, Ukraine, Wales, and the USA.
Many of my friends are amazed at how many people I seem to know throughout the world. Pickleball is the reason. Traveling is something I love to do, and pickleball provides an easy platform for my travel plans. Playing in an international, or any tournament isn’t about being a high level player. You can be a 2.0 player and enjoy the experience as much as any one else. It’s about wanting to see other places and meet new people from all over the world. These tournament settings allow participants three days to be close, in one venue, to get to know each others names, family members and become friends, all because of pickleball. We hug, we kiss, we share our stories. We are one big family.
If you love to travel, consider such a trip. You won’t regret it!
Future trips in the coming months include:
- The 2018 Bainbridge Cup – an annual competition between Team North America (USA and Canada) vs Europe – Friday, July 20, 2018 in Montesilvano, Italy, hosted by the Italian Pickleball Association
- Italian Open – same venue as Bainbridge Cup – Saturday and Sunday July 21-22, 2018
- Info for both events can be found here – www.pickleballitaly.org
- 2018 Spanish Open Pickleball Championships – September 5-9, 2018 – Madrid, Spain
- Info can be found here – www.pickleballspain.org/en/
See you on the pickleball trail!
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