Pickleball Challenge Warms Hearts & Hands

First State Pickleball Club a held fund raiser for the community children in need of warm clothing for the winter.  The First State Pickleball Club (FSPC) and Dave Marshall organized an incredibly fun event at Dave Marshall’s Tennis and Fitness Center at The Plantations in Lewes. “Coats, Hats, Mittens, and Pickles: A Pickleball Challenge!” was held from 2pm-7pm on November 18th to help kids in our community who need coats, hats, scarves, and gloves for the incoming cold weather. Holly Shagrue from Mariner school accepted the donations.

Thank you Dave Marshall, First State Pickleball Club, and Grotto’s for your generous donation of time, the venue, and pizza. Holly Shagrue from The Mariner School (middle school) reached out to ask for help, so Dave generously offered his venue and FSPC agreed to organize the fun event. The cost of admission was a coat (new or gently used) or a new hat, gloves, or mittens for kids and teenagers. As the FSPC invitation noted: “Knowing how pickleballers love to play, and are kind and generous, we thought this was a great opportunity to help our community as the cold weather rolls in and kids really need our help to stay warm!” As you can see from this video, we had a BLAST!!!! Thank you, Dave for the use of your facilities. Over sixty coats, hats, gloves and mittens were collected.  Thank you, FSPC, Dudley Sluder, Kathy Casey, Kathy Stewart Aldridge, Susan Nancarrow, and Jean Burgess for organizing and running this fun event! Thank you, Dave Marshall for the use of your facilities. Thank you Grottos Pizza for your awesome pizza. Thank you, pickleball players for coming out for such a good cause. Check out this video and Turn up the volume!

Celebrating our Heart and Soul Pickleballers Georgia and Lynn!

Georgia Billger and Lynn Casey made us pickle players proud last Saturday at the November 5th Celebration at Delaware Senior Olympics Banqute awards Ceremony!

Georgia received the Personal Best Award from the CEO of National Senior Games  Association  Marc T. Riker. This award is a FIRST in Delaware. Go to this link to read all about this prestigious honor:  Heart and Soul that’s our Georgia! Read More >

Lynn Casey was awarded Delaware’s  Charlie Marten Award Winner  which was established in 2005 by a collaborative effort of the Division of Services for the Aging and the Delaware Senior Olympics. It honors Charlie Marten who after suffering from a stroke fought back to be able to walk again at Beach Day 2002.

The award honors an individual who demonstrates the following qualities:● Inspires others by example● Has a determined spirit to overcome personal challenges and great odds.● Works hard to turn obstacles into opportunities● Has courage to make changes to improve their quality of life.

Thanks  to Mel Milar and Lynn Casey sharing the pictures.  As well as Pickleballers there to support: Pink, Kim, Anne, Delia, Patty, Susan, Robbin, Mel,  Marion, Kevin(Lynn’s Husband) and Joe (Georgia’s Husband).

Club Clinic Success! November 2016

November 5th proved to be a beautiful day for our First Sate Pickleball Club’s clinic, held out at J.M. Clayton Elementary school in Frankford, DE on FSPC’s most wonderful permanent outdoor pickleball courts. FSPC skilled instructors and 60 students across ten courts took on new skills and strategies in pickleball. What a fantastic event! Thanks to everyone who participated!

We will continue to hold clinics and support the FSPC mission ” First State Pickleball Club, Inc. will strive to promote the development of the sport of Pickleball through participation, training and good sportsmanship”. Stay tuned for future clinics!

Marion Lisehora Queen of Pickleball

player-badge-pickleball Marion Lisehora in Coastal Point

AUGUST 20, 2016 

At 84, Marion Lisehora Still Rules the Courts

Marion Lisehora is not the average card-carrying AARP member. Then again, there wasn’t really anything average about Marion Lisehora before she was eligible to carry an AARP card anyway.

Since her youth, the D.C. native and long-time Millsboro resident has stolen the show in recreations ranging from softball and field hockey to swimming and soccer.

She’s won state championships in basketball, been part of a doubles balancing act with her late husband, Tony, while attending the University of Maryland—College Park, and even famously rode the “Diving Horse” off the Steel Pier in Atlantic City for four summers before taking the act to the Sunshine State.

For the last few years, however, and now approaching the equestrian-inhibiting age of 85, the only thing golden about this girl has been her Senior Olympics medals.

The mother of five, grandmother and, now, great-grandmother has been competing in the Senior games in volleyball since 1993 — medaling all the way — and eventually entered the pickleball ranks when the sport was added three years ago.

It’s on those pickleball courts that her nickname, “The Queen Mother,” was born.

“I call Marion ‘the Queen Mother of Pickleball’ because she is the very first one to support a new venue in the area, the first to support a tournament or a beginner’s clinic where we volunteer our time to help others,” said the First State Pickleball Club’s Vaughn Baker, the beginnings of a slight smirk drawing across his face before his next comment. “In fact, she’s first in everything except complaining about aches and pains.”

Gearing up for the Delaware Senior Olympics in Dover this September, Lisehora currently schedules her days around when and where she can play pickleball; often signing on for a morning session at one court before going on to play an afternoon set against some new competition at a different facility and even somehow sneaking in the occasional half-mile swim.

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Coastal Point Article, Date Published: August 19, 2016 By Tripp Colonell Staff Reporter

View the complete article on the Coastal Point Website >

Georgia Billger Makes Us Proud

player-badge-pickleball Georgia Billger IS passionate about pickleball 

After playing pickleball for three-and-a-half hours at Sports at the Beach’s new indoor courts, Georgia Billger was still eager to talk about her favorite sport. There are few days in a year the 77-year-old isn’t on a pickleball court somewhere on Delmarva. She’s playing a friendly game at Lewes Canalfront Park, competing in a tournament somewhere in the Mid-Atlantic or teaching the game at Lewes School or Plantations.

“You don’t understand how addictive this game is,” said Billger, who regularly plays six days a week.

The spry senior lights up when talking about pickleball, eager to educate anyone unaware of the sport that has created a craze across the country. Billger isn’t a slouch on the court either. With countless regional and state tournament medals under her belt, she has her sights set on the national championships next year in Birmingham, Ala.

Billger is already the defending singles champion, capturing her age-group title in Minneapolis in 2015 after finishing second in Cleveland in 2013.

Just this year, Billger has won gold medals in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey. She continued her Phelps-like run this past weekend at the 25th annual Delaware Senior Olympics, winning the women’s 65-69 doubles gold with partner Delia Wan and the 75-79 singles gold.

Billger has always been an athlete. She played field hockey at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa. She was also a swimmer, biker and played tennis. Friend and often pickleball competitor Susan Brooker said Billger often tells stories of playing tennis with her brother. On one occasion, she said, they shoveled snow off the court to practice.

“Georgia is one of the most giving and gifted women I know,” Brooker said. “She truly believes in giving back and lives by that credo. In other words, paying it forward long before the saying ever came into being.”

Brooker called Billger an inspiration to younger and older players alike.

“She is gracious, always complimentary and gives helpful advice to better my game … after she wins,” Brooker said.

Just this year, Billger has played as the doubles partner of four different people, including her brother, all in an effort to qualify her friends for the national championship next year. In all cases, they qualified and won the tournament.

Billger started playing pickleball at 69 years old. She previously played volleyball, basketball and softball in the Delaware Senior Olympics. She received the Charlie Marten Memorial Award in 2013 after participating in the Senior Olympics for more than 16 years. This November, she will be the recipient of the Personal Best Award from the National Senior Games Association CEO Marc T. Riker. The award highlights senior athletes who overcome obstacles and challenges, stay motivated and inspire others to pursue healthy and active lifestyles.

“I played volleyball for years. I quit that when I was 75 because I was playing pickleball in the morning then going to rehab,” she said.

Billger had open-heart surgery at 70, then abdominal surgery at 73 – the only two breaks she’s taken.

“When I went to the hospital to have my open-heart surgery they said, ‘You must be the healthiest person in this hospital,’” she said.

Billger moved to Delaware in 1962, just a few months after the infamous Storm of ’62.

“I can remember driving down toward Ocean City and in the state park area the sand was piled up on either side from the plows. It was over our car on both sides of the road,” she said.

Her husband started working as a teacher in the area, while she organized the Rehoboth Cooperative Nursery School until she added two more children to her growing family. She has four kids.

“Then I had my own nursery school at home,” she said.

Over the years, she and her husband rented out cottages, and she worked as a substitute teacher. She also organized field hockey camps in the area.

Despite collecting myriad medals on the court and being a leader in the pickleball community off the court, Billger said, she doesn’t like being singled out, and she’s the first person to point out the accomplishments of others.

“We have so many amazing athletes here,” she said. “They should all get the attention too.”

Article Courtesy Of Cape Gazette >


NSGA Personal Best Featured Athlete – Georgia Billger

OCTOBER 20, 2016 BY ROBYN KIRBY

Heart and Soul – Georgia Billger, 77, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Georgia Billger has a competitive heart. This is evident by watching the senior athlete’s passion on the pickleball court, and from a history of participating in multiple sports going back to her high school and college days in Pennsylvania. At one point, she was the seventh-ranked tennis player in the mid-Atlantic states and selected as a member of the Junior Wightman Cup team, the women’s counterpart to the Junior Davis Cup.

Talking to other athletes, it’s clear she also has a caring heart. “Georgia is one of the most giving and gifted women I know,” says Susan Brooker, the pickleball coordinator for the Delaware Senior Olympics who often plays her. “She truly believes in giving back, in other words, paying it forward long before the saying ever came into being.” Georgia helped start a local pickleball club, and then served as a coordinator for three years after the Delaware state games added it to their sport offerings. Many of the 300+ pickleballers now participating were recruited and coached by her. In her ongoing medal march, she has traveled to other states to help others qualify for the National Senior Games in doubles play.

Georgia also has a strong heart, notwithstanding a family history of heart disease and a close call that resulted in a quadruple bypass at the age of 70. As the following conversation relates, her overall excellent physical health fooled the doctors at first, and helped her rehab and get back on the court. She was also sidelined for abdominal surgery three years later. Once again, her active body helped her bounce back to continue to play and to encourage others to get moving to enjoy better quality of life.

Club Update

Hello First State Pickleballers!

We have been very busy planning some great pickleball activities for the remainder of the year – please read all the way through.

 On November 5th out at Clayton outdoor courts we are having a really cool clinic for all players who want to learn some skills that will take your level and knowledge of play to another level.  As we mentioned in the last newsletter, our mission is to improve play and that means increasing the fun that you can have playing this great game.  The design of this clinic is to show the various shots that are used in higher levels of play and you will get an understanding of how and why they are used.  We will then break up the attendees into the various skill stations to help tune up your skill level and make sure that you get access to many of the most fundamental shots that make our advanced players so good at this game.

We all want our FSPC players to continue to elevate our level of play,  Our Delaware players have continued to win multiple medals in many tournaments this year and that happened in DE, MD, NJ and VA at the Senior Olympics.  You might not be interested in winning medals but I bet that this clinic will double your fun when playing.  Banging the ball is fun but can get boring.  Why not come out and let our instructors challenge you to expand you skills and knowledge of the game.

Here is our promo for this clinic:
“You Asked, We Listened”.  We are now organizing a heavy duty pickleball clinic at Clayton outdoor courts on November 5, Saturday, from 9-1.  You need to sign-up on Sign-Up Genius and tell us your rating. (3.5+, 3.0- Beginner Intermediate, and/or Just Started.). These ratings will help us plan instructors.  The cost will be $10 for anyone who signs up by October 22, and $15 afterwards.  We have capped participation to the first 60 sign-ups.

Not sure if this one is for you?  Well it is.  We all think that we know how to play this game.  Our friends could tell us our areas of weakness but who are they to tell us what we are doing wrong?  You can get this from our instructors who have worked very hard on their own games and want to share their knowledge with you!

Anyone who can keep the score and knows the fundamental rules is welcome to come out.  We will do our best to group you  with similarly skilled players so that you get the most out of this opportunity to learn some skills that will improve you game.

Second, on November 19th AT 6:45 pm our social committee has set our Club up to listen to Bryan Clarke at Hooked Seafood & Martini Bar(302-827-4944) located in the Midway Shopping Center in Lewes, DE.  Call the restaurant directly for reservations. We did this event last year and it was a blast!  Bryan is a local who can really sing and entertain while we get to dance, sip, and eat some great food.  Everyone who attended last year had a great time.  Who knew that many pickleball players liked to dance.  Maybe dancing helps improve balance and agility on the court.  Who knows?

Third, we are also putting together plans for our Holiday Party on 12/16 at Kings Creek Country Club in Rehoboth Beach.  We are limited to 130 attendees and will have the  “Over Time”  band providing the music again this year.  Everyone that we talked to wanted us to keep everything the same as last year so we did.  Anyway,  this event will sell out quickly so do not hesitate to get your check in to ensure that you have a chance to experience this fantastic event.  This wonderful event will only be $35.00 a ticket (cash bar).  We could not offer the same deal as last year but hope that many of you will agree that it is still a bargain for dinner and dancing with a live band in a beautiful setting. Stay tuned for the specific email announcement coming out soon.

Our social committee wants to put something special together for that evening and is asking for any pictures you have from your group of players or events that you have attended over the past year.  We would like to include pictures from the many existing and new venues that have popped up this year.  If you would, please send them to rlmurray13@icloud.com with the location and names of people in the picture. We want to collect people and places where we are playing in Sussex County.  Should be a very cool project.  Thank you Robbin for agreeing to take on this project!!

Finally, we have put together a Nominating Committee with our Members at Large.  Our club is run by volunteers so we need your help.  Please step up to nominate yourself or someone you know who would be interested.  We need a Treasurer, Vice President, and President to begin office on February 1, 2017.  All that it takes is passion for the game, a willingness to get to know the wonderful members of this club, ability to listen and explore ideas presented.  Our Board continues to bring venues, tournaments, clinics and league play.  Volunteers have a great time helping out at our various events so please let me know if you would be interested.  Please reach me at kathycasey12@comcast.net.  And remember, many hands make light work!
We are in need of volunteers at this time.  If anyone has experience in web design and management who would be willing to serve on a team to work out our strategies for our Club’s communication, we would be most grateful.  Just contact me and we will put together a group to sort our what needs to get done and how.  We have found that Club communication is the most critical need for our membership.
Our club needs a membership committee to stimulate growth in the area for pickleball play and help people know about the benefits of membership. FSPC needs someone(s) to receive applications and someone(s) to update the spreadsheet.
We also continue to focus on advocating for a dedicated indoor pickleball facility in Sussex County so that we can play year round out of the sun, in air conditioning or heat, so that we can play without fear of freezing to death, getting skin cancer, or having a heat stroke. I hope to have an opportunity to speak to the Sussex County Council in the very near future on the need for such a facility in Sussex County.  I will be reaching out to you to show up for the event and would like as many members who live in Sussex County to show up that night so that the Council can see just how many of us there are playing pickleball.  Stay tuned!
But wait! There’s more!!

Speaking of benefits, Vaughn Baker has scored another deal:

Fork and Flask at Nage19730 Coastal Hwy, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971 (302) 226-2037www.forkandflask.com

Fork and Flask is offering a one-time 10% off your tab from October 17 through November 20, 2016. 

Last, but not least…

Please don’t forget to use the Code CRFirst when you order products from Pickleball Central (pickleballcentral.com) to get the 5% discount and the club also gets a 5% credit to use for club purchases.  Engage Paddles is still offering a 25% discount when  you use the code FSPC at time of check out. Engage  (http://engagepickleball.com/ ) also gives us 8% back to use on club socials.  Many of our players have tried the paddle and have ordered one.  Also, remember that you get a 10% discount at New Balance when you purchase a new pair of court shoes.  It is a wonderful deal and the sales people there really know their shoes.

Well, that is it for now.  Hope to see you on the courts!

Kathy Casey
Acting President
First State Pickleball Club, Inc.
302-226-7871
301-518-3434  (cell)