Free Clinic Brings Out Two Dozen New Pickleball Players

Twenty-four people showed up for a free pickleball clinic hosted by Matt and Russ McEwen at Anderson Park on Sunday, July 23. MIRROR PHOTOS BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER

BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — The new pickleball courts at Anderson Park have been open for a less than a week and they’re already getting plenty of use. Pass by the park any night and at least a couple of the four courts will have people playing on them.

A local father-and-son duo came together on Sunday morning to host a free clinic for the community at the courts, hoping to help people learn how to play the game and continue to grow it in the area.

“Everyone can learn to play so quickly,” Matt McEwen said. “It was great to see such good community response. How many sports can you learn and play all within less than two hours?”

McEwen, a 2003 Maumee High School graduate, is a high school teacher at Bowling Green and a tennis professional at Stone Oak Country Club, and his natural teaching instincts showed through on Sunday.

While the clinic was initially supposed to only run for 90 minutes and end at 11:30 a.m., the last people didn’t leave until after noon.

The clinic drew more than 20 individuals to the park on Sunday morning. The elder McEwen, Russ, put the word out about the clinic on Facebook earlier in the week.

“We grew up in Maumee, both of us, and I knew he’d be the right one to teach people,” Russ McEwen said. “He’s a teacher by trade and has great people skills.”

Included in the group of people eager to learn the new sport was Maumee city councilman Jon Fiscus. As the chairperson for the city’s Parks & Recreation Committee, Fiscus was integral to converting the old, unused tennis courts at Anderson Park to the new pickleball courts.

“This is just fantastic,” Fiscus said. “It’s awesome to see this having an impact already.

“I think I’m going to twist my wife’s arm and convince her that we should get some paddles. It’s a fun sport, not too grueling, just active enough that you get a workout but you don’t tear your body up.”

Fiscus pointed out Russ McEwen’s role in bringing the courts to Maumee. For McEwen, he saw communities surrounding Maumee with pickleball courts and he wanted to give people in his community a close and easy option for playing.

“I don’t live too far away, so I was riding my bike past and saw this slab last year,” McEwen said. “I came back with a tape measure, and it’s 120 (feet) by 60 and it didn’t have many cracks in it. I knew we could fix it up and play.”

Matt McEwen has been playing the sport for 10 years and has watched it grow in popularity. He was happy to bring his knowledge of pickleball to the courts and pass it on to whoever wanted to learn.

“This worked out wonderful today because we could bring out so many people to teach them something that I enjoy,” McEwen said. “Hopefully, they leave enjoying it. There’s nothing but positives all around.”

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