2021 Season End Letter From the Commish
Hello Team Pickleball Enthusiasts,
Just a few weeks ago we closed out our APPL 2021 season with the conclusion of the East Valley Spring League. Our 2021 season of course was kicked off in January with the start of our Winter League which, despite considerable COVID challenges, was extremely successful in our Casa Grande, Southern and West Valley Regions. Our State Championship event in April proved to be an exciting end to our Winter League with teams from all 3 regions participating and taking home State Championship trophies. We are looking forward to having an even bigger and better 2022 Championship with all four regions participating next year.
Highlighting Season 2021:
I would like to take a moment and reflect on what turned out to be a remarkable 2021 season. Despite COVID attrition we still had 165 teams participate in APPL involving close to 2000 players. Just prior to the start of the Winter League season we were on track to have over 225 teams and about 2500 players. Of course, the late postponement of the East Valley Regional EVIL and APPL League play put a damper on those participation numbers. It is still simply incredible that we started up two new regions (Southern and West Valley), eventually still involved 2000 players and throughout the pandemic executed our league safely with no cases of COVID being contracted at any of our matches. It is important to note that we were proud to have one of the most well thought out COVID Precautions and Protocols in the state and even more proud to have it largely coordinated and managed flawlessly by our Vice President Bob Ham.
We introduced APPL Mixed Doubles in the Casa Grande Region and the East Valley Region in Season 2021 as well. The Mixed Division quickly became as large as the Men’s and Women’s Divisions. We’re looking forward to introducing Mixed Doubles Divisions in our Southern and West Valley Regions in Season 2022.
With our objective of improving the APPL experience we made great progress improving our use of technology to handle things like fee collection, score entry, match and standings publishing, and several other league administrative systems. This continues to be a key objective for us, and I am confident captains will be pleased with some of the new tools that will be available to them to make their jobs easier in Season 2022.
In the little-known fact category, we were also pleased to be able to donate 16 paddles, some portable nets and balls to the Gilbert High School Pickleball Club. We subsequently added a school outreach initiative line item in our budget and, funding permitting, hope to continue to support the development of youth and team pickleball regionally in the future.
Lastly, a review of our 2021 season wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging our volunteers. We really have 2 categories of volunteers. Our internal Team APPL folks have committed countless hours to bringing team pickleball to Arizona. Without their belief in our format of pickleball and drive to have people experience it none of this would happen. Our external volunteers are the captains and co-captains of all the teams. Without their leadership and willingness to step forward there would be no teams to play in our team-based league. On behalf of our internal Team APPL volunteers I would like to thank you for making our work worthwhile.
Looking ahead to Season 2022:
I will go into more detail in my next letter because there are a lot of exciting things to mention, but for now, please note the following tentative key dates:
Winter League Team Registration Opens: 9/1/21
Winter League Team Registration Closes: 11/15/21
Schedules Published: 12/5/21
Matches Start: First week in January 2022
Matches End: 3/26/22
State Championships: 4/4/22-4/6/22
We appreciate the great feedback we’ve received from all regions and are excited (and perhaps a little anxious) when we hear people forecast how many more communities and teams we should expect. This considerable growth will bring its share of challenges, but we are confident we will be positioned to enjoy our “biggest season ever” once again.
I would like to wish you all a safe and enjoyable summer.
Arizona Pickleball Players League Inc. - President
A nonprofit organization run entirely by volunteers.
TEAM UP! PLAY APPL!