Thursday, April 25, 2024

DeCordova, Pecan Plantation set to compete in pickleball battle

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In a battle like never before, two local communities will go head-to-head in a historic duel that will leave attendees wanting more.

For the first time ever, residents of Pecan Plantation and DeCordova will compete in a pickleball tournament beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 6, in the Pecan Activity Center, 9145 Plantation Drive.

Pickleball is a fast-paced sport that combines the qualities of tennis, badminton and ping pong. In 2023, the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) deemed it the fastest-growing sport in America for the third consecutive year. They estimate that about 36.5 million people have played the game at least once in the year.

“It's not an old person sport — it's a sport that older people can play,” Tracy Davis, event organizer and Pecan Plantation board member said. "The way the rules go, they can even up the odds a little bit. You don't have to hit the ball hard.”

The Battle on the Brazos — also known as the Pecan/DeCordova Pickleball Championship Cup — will feature a series of 17 riveting matches, pitting the formidable players of Pecan Plantation against the spirited team of DeCordova.

“We just thought it would be a cool, friendly competition where pickleball players from DeCordova meet pickleball players from Pecan Plantation and maybe we go to tournaments together,” Davis said.

Inspired by the camaraderie and competitive edge of the Ryder Cup (the biennial men’s golf competition) the Battle on the Brazos is set to become a celebrated tradition in the pickleball community.

“(Pickleball) is the most addictive thing I've ever done in my life, and I think that's why it's so catchy,” Davis said. “At first it sounds weird, but once they start playing, it's highly addictive because you see yourself getting better at it. It's not hard to play, there's only a few simple rules, but yet it's challenging.”

According to Davis, the Battle on the Brazos will consist of 34 participants from each community who will participate in one match. Each match is worth one point and will consist of three games total. The first community to reach nine points will be declared the winner.

"The losing GM (general manager) of either DeCordova or Pecan Plantation will have to hand the winning GM this trophy, and it's gonna be passed down every year,” Davis said. “We're just gonna make a real big deal out of it, and you know, hopefully we'll get more players attracted to this sport."

As the teams prepare for the April 6 showdown, excitement continues to build within both communities. Both teams have been honing their skills and strategies, knowing that every match is crucial to securing the championship title.

“I didn't realize it would actually draw the excitement that it has,” Davis said. “But anything, win or lose, I guarantee there will be that camaraderie, like when the other team can make a good shot and you say, 'Great shot, man,’ that doesn't happen in football, baseball, tennis, hockey, nothing else. The camaraderie is just unmatched.”

The competition will also consist of age categories: under 60, over 60 and over 70, and with three categories of men’s, women’s and mixed.

“There will be people who don’t play who will come out and be cheering people on,” Davis said. “Hopefully, they’ll be loud and have fun. We’re just looking to have a good time and to make this an annual event.”

The Battle on the Brazos isn't just a test of individual talent; it's a testament to the power of teamwork and the collective passion for pickleball. Who will emerge victorious in this historic face-off? Head to Pecan Plantation April 6 to witness the birth of a new tradition and cheer on your favorite team as they vie for the championship title.