On the afternoon of Thursday, May 4, the Marco Island Racquet Center (MIRC) was abuzz with excitement as 14 pickleball players faced off for competition with some very special visitors. In a rather serendipitous turn of events, four traveling pickleball competitors found their way to the Marco Island Racquet Center.
“I was stuck in Miami today waiting to continue my trip to the Jamaica Mon 2012, a weeklong pickleball competition with 132 people from 22 states. I wanted to practice on my off day and googled the closest pickleball courts. This brought me to Marco. Tomorrow I’m off to Sandals for a seven-day pickleball adventure with fierce competition,” explains Chris Thomas, Director of the West Region USA PickleballAssociation.
Ken and Dan Kiurski also found their way to the Racquet Center, as the brothers are on vacation from Hilton Head, SC. Meanwhile word of these top players being in town buzzed through the Marco pickleball gang and word reached traveling pickleball ambassador, Jim Barry. Both Chris Thomas and Ken Kiurski volunteered a free clinic for our local Marco pickleballers. Jim Barry and Dan Kiurski played along with members and offered tips. All four men challenged the locals to highly competitive games.
“It was a pleasure being able to play with such talented competitors, and they were so very generous with their time. They shared tips, technique and strategy. The lessons learned and overall experience was priceless!” remarks Jayne Rodgers,avid pickleball player.
About the Players
Ken Kiurski was a professional tennis instructor for 20 years. He currently teaches pickleball at Sun City Hilton Head, South Carolina. Sun City boasts 12 dedicated pickleball courts. Ken and his brother, Dan Kiurski are 4.0 pickleball doubles tournament players. They compete all over the US.
Chris Thomas is a pickleball instructor in California and Arizona. He competes in tournaments in both doubles and singles play at the 4.5 level. He is also the Director of the Western Region for the USAPA.
Jim Barry is the Pickleball Ambassador for Polk County. He gives advice on proper technique and basic rules of play and is an exceptional player in his own right. He travels to different areas of Florida as a pickleball advocate.