Pine Nursery Park welcomed around 600 pickleball players to one of the largest tournaments in the Pacific Northwest during the hottest week of the year, and some suffered.
Players persisted during the five-day Pacific Northwest Classic, despite temperatures reaching over 100 degrees for most of that time.
“Unfortunately there’s been a few that have had some problems, some cramping, possibly even some heat exhaustion for a couple of folks,” said Co-Director Christie Gestvang. “But we have a great first aid team here, we also have made a lot of preparations for this when the weather forecast changed on us, we added a lot of extra water stations, ice, misters, electrolytes, we put up more shade tents than ever before.”
They have also allowed players an extra ‘hydration time’, which they can use as needed when transitioning between points.
“We just remind them throughout the course of the tournament that if you’re not feeling well, we hope you’ll stop and take care of yourself, because personal health is their responsibility and they only know how they’re feeling, we can’t always see that,” Gestvang added.
They also changed the gameplay format to allow for shorter times on the court.
Gestvang said she also worries about the referees, who are often older members of the pickleball community.
“The majority of them are over 60, so I need to be aware of what their needs are,” she said. “We probably had 100 volunteers, they’re the senior citizens of our club.”
She said the weather this year was vastly different from last year, when they were rained out of the courts and had to play many matches inside at Widgi Creek and Pickleball Zone.
Despite the heat this year, they easily saw close to 2,000 spectators visit the tournament over the course of the week.