By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Fire departments throughout Central Oregon are seeking donations for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to help find cures for blood cancers.
The Sunriver Fire Department has a unique twist on the annual fund raising effort. They are inviting people to play in a pickle ball tournament next Friday and Saturday, January 31st and February 1st at Sage Springs Club & Spa in Sunriver.
“Pickleball is a combination between ping pong and tennis. It’s a hybrid between the two. The cool thing about pickle ball is it’s awesome for all ages,” said J.J. Johnston, a Sunriver firefighter. “You’ve got people who are 18 just learning how to play. And you’ve got people who are 75 who’ve played tennis and are excellent and just run circles around the 18 year old. It’s an awesome opportunity for us to involve people of all ages in a cool sport and a cool fund raising opportunity.”
What’s also cool are the potential bragging rights of beating firefighters who regularly play pickleball as part of their daily required exercise.
During an impromptu match Friday, Mike Calkins and Clinton Lingo, vacationing in Sunriver with their church’s men’s group, beat firefighters Jake Ingraham and Sam Kalar.
Calkins says the key is teamwork.
“You rely on your teammate when it goes over here, over there and you hit it hard when you can,” Calkins said.
The Sunriver firefighter pickleball tournament is open to all skill levels, beginner to expert. Cost is $40 for the first day and $10 for the second day. Light refreshments will be served. There will be awards for top finishers and raffle drawing prizes.
“Just another way to raise money for a truly benevolent cause. 100% of what L&L raises is used for research into blood cancers,” Johnston said.
Look for the registration form on the Sunriver Fire Department’s website, sunriverfire.org