Labeling anything a “senior activity” can be tricky. Nonetheless, it’s unlikely that any locals under the age of 50 are avid pickleball players.
Pickleball, a paddle sport similar to tennis but combining elements of table tennis and badminton, is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States, according to the USA Pickleball Association.
In the last five years in the Verde Valley and Sedona, the popularity of the sport among senior populations has inspired numerous municipalities, housing developments and athletic facilities to install pickleball courts. The age of the player has little to do with their overall concern for health in the community, however.
For the second year, the Cottonwood Recreation Center’s pickleball players have banded together for a common cause, organizing the Dink for Pink Tournament to raise funds toward the fight against breast cancer.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, breast cancer is the “most commonly diagnosed cancer in women [and] the second leading cause of cancer death among women.”
Every year, more than 250,000 women are diagnosed with the cancer. More than 40,000 women and upward of 500 men die each year from the disease.
“Participation in the tournament last year raised more than $1,400 for this important cause,” Terri Clements, Cottonwood USA Pickleball Association ambassador and the organizer of the event, said, adding that she is hopeful the event will raise more this year.
Proceeds from player registrations — at $10 a piece — and donations will go directly to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, contributing to the growing science of fighting breast cancer. Since 2000, breast cancer mortality has decreased in concert with greater detection rates.
The tournament takes place Sunday, Jan. 14, beginning at 9 a.m. All are invited to come watch the players, who have been invited with no stipulations on age, gender or ability.
Players need not be members of the recreation center to play. The recreation center is at 150 S. Sixth Street in Cottonwood.