…bringing you news and information about
PICKLEBALL in the Denver Metro Area
Pickleball Ken

Website created in Oct., 2012 by Georgie Lynch using Serif WebPlus.

Updated by Jackie Gilligan September 23, 2014

BREAKING NEWS
CONTACT KEN:
(303) 422-1255
(303) 929-3878
Email
2009 Pickleballers! 14,521 Website Visits!
See PICKLEBALL 
in the Local News

Pickleball is a little like tennis, only smaller. It’s a little like ping pong, only bigger. It’s even a little like badminton, but played with a wiffle ball!

Come check it out or come play with us. Visit when and where to play.  See how it’s played.

Oh yes, the REWARDs are a healthier life style and a bunch of new friends!

See Photos of Social Events 
Photos

Can anyone guess who the man in this photo is?

Pickleball “Hall of Fame” Quote

We play with relish;

Put mustard on the server;

and when we are behind, we ketchup!

Jan. 12, 2014

APEX Outdoor Pickleball Courts are open!  See pictures of Operation Outdoor Courts!

Jan. 9, 2014

New Profile of a wheelchair pickleballer!

Apex Winter Blast Pickleball Tournament.  Thanks to those that participated!

April 5, 2014

Jan. 12, 2014

Jan. 12, 2014

Coming to Apex: Winter Blast PB Mixer! See Tournaments.

Jan. 12, 2014

Feb. 28, 2014

Pics of Level Player Field & Wheelchair PB added. See Photos.

Pickleball community creates Caring Hearts!

Jan. 12, 2014

Free Pickleball Clinic for People with Disabilities held at Apex.  See flyer.  Ken’s Thank You!

June 1, 2014


Apex Newsletter

June 28, 2014

We had over 100 people Saturday at the Demo Challenge put on by Scott and Daniel Moore.  They put on a great Demo.  It was very inspiring!

Apex was awarded $225,000 from Jefferson County Open Space (lottery monies) for eight more courts and restroom.  Construction will start this February on the courts and restrooms.  Completion should be July or August of 2014.

July 1, 2014

July  2, 2014

Awww Outdoor Court

Report from the new courts as of July 1, 2014. The courts were full. Old experienced players and new to the game player were all having a great time. The weather was ideal. Cool and just a hint of a breeze. The crack of the paddles were ringing out. The scores were being called out clear and loud. Just warm enough on this summer night to enjoy the games being played yet not too warm to chase away the folks who had been going at it since the early evening. Play continued past dark as the lights came up and worked wonderfully. Fun was being had by all. Just then the time came very unexpectedly as the lights shut off on all the courts. A huge Aw was heard from players young and old as we all realized we were done for the day. People surprisingly did not break for the parking lot but stayed on for quite a while. Lots of visiting and talk of the game, the interest, and the things that only players understand. Truly enjoyed the benches, the pavilions and the company. What a great experience.

Thank you for all you did and continue to do.

Mike


Three inmates from the Fremont Correctional Facility outside of Canon City, CO won first ever pickleball championship inside Fremont Correctional Facility. See photo: L to R: Billy H., Nate, B, and Kevin P.  Note their somewhat untraditional paddles. The paddles were made in the prison furniture shop and are heavier than the commercial variety because the players were regularly going through the commercial ones every couple of weeks.  There is even talk of forming a pickleball league.  It is reported that players are learning that finesse is just as effective as slamming the ball…and that finesse helps their paddles last longer.

July 7, 2014

How You Know If You Are a Pickleball Addict!

August 1,2014

Boot Camp - Goodson Rec Center; South Suburban Parks & Rec

Goodson Rec Center is hosting another Boot Camp for beginners and intermediat players - 4 Sundays starting August 17 from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Register online at Pickleball Boot Camp Goodson

Outdoor Courts at Highlands Ranch


There are 4 new outdoor courts:

The Tanks Park

10250 Greyfeather Way

Highlands Ranch, 80129   

NE corner of Broadway & Wildcat Reserve.  Inside the hockey rink.

Coated surface & Lined. Need to bring a net.



The 9 Lives of Pickleball Ken


     By Jane Cracraft Noah











Ken Marquardt heard about the game in 2010 when there was only one place to play in Denver. Today there are 37. Ken started the program at 17 of those locations. As the Denver Metro Area North Pickleball Ambassador, he has introduced more than 2,000 Colorado players to the game in four years.  .


 Pickleball Ken tries to greet every new player and collect the person’s name, telephone number and e-mail address for his master list. When he sees them on the court, he can’t remember names, so he calls all the women “Sweetheart” and the men “Podner.”     


His less-than-modest goal is “to get everybody playing this great game of Pickleball,” including the young, the old, disabled veterans, those in wheelchairs, the 18 players he knows with Parkinson’s disease, another group with Multiple Sclerosis and Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  He urges joint replacement patients to give it a try.  Ken has two total shoulder replacements and a total knee replacement.    


“Everybody has a story,” he said.  


From his infancy in 1940 in Kansas, Ken was afflicted with severe asthma and other ailments.  He’s been on the steroid Prednisone for 55 years. Long term use caused lung and bone problems, leading to the joint replacements, a broken ankle and severe back trouble.  Over the years, Ken has lost 5.5 inches in height. He jokes about being “a shrimp.” In 1979 he recovered from lymph node cancer and in 2000 from flesh-eating disease. But, like the proverbial cat that always lands on its feet, Ken has survived one crisis after another.


 In his teens, Ken played tennis and baseball. He earned a tennis scholarship for college. Later he was a serious racquetball competitor. He was forced to give up all sports during his 40s because of his health problems. At age 70 he tried Pickleball and experienced the joy of finding a sport that he could play. After about a year, he and his partner took first place in the Colorado Senior Games. They repeated the next year.


 While Pickleball Ken established the game at numerous recreation centers around Denver, he focused his attention on suburban Arvada’s Apex Park & Recreation District where it could grow. The first sessions in 2011 drew a handful of players on two indoor courts. By 2014 Apex was providing six indoor courts and 16 specially designed, lighted, free outdoor courts with a picnic pavilion and restrooms.  This project will be the legacy of Pickleball Ken and the Apex District’s executive director, Mike Miles, who learned to play and then took the lead to find available park land and funding from various sources for the outdoor facility.


Every morning when Ken walks through the outdoor complex to watch dozens of players serving, volleying, and chasing loose balls, he knows which ones struggle with family problems or disabilities. And here they are - outdoors, playing a lively game and laughing with friends. “It warms your heart,” he said. “How else could you touch so many lives and make them better?”


 Nothing in Ken’s working career suggests that he would become a Pickleball guru.  He started out as a stereotyper in the production department of newspapers in Topeka, Kansas, Colorado Springs and Denver.  On the side, he developed his skills as a salesman and entrepreneur to sell franchises for a network of trade exchanges, where corporations and individuals ranging from attorneys to auto mechanics would barter for goods and services.  He also started business ventures to sell insurance and provide credit to young college students.  


Semi-retired now, Ken is still a workaholic. His wife Sharon believes that if he didn’t have Pickleball he’d probably overwork himself on projects around their 10-acre rural property. Sharon said, “I think this is one of the best things that could happen to him at this age. The social aspect of it is good for him. He’s met so many interesting people.  


Ken has a soft spot for the handicapped and military and people with health problems, because he has those too. He would love to have everyone in the world playing Pickleball.”


 Ken and Sharon Marquardt have hosted a Pickleball Social each year. There were 38 guests on their front porch in 2010 and more than 250 at their picnic grounds in 2014.


 When Ken was a newcomer to the game, he encountered players who didn’t want anything to do with a beginner. They would play only with their friends, at their own level. He calls them “selfish.”


 His philosophy is entirely different.  He has worked hard to create a friendly Pickleball culture.  Twice a week there are “Skills and Drills” sessions to help people learn the game quickly. He made name tags for the first 500 players to assist them in getting acquainted.  Eventually other people started making Pickleball paddle-shaped name tags to give or sell inexpensively to fellow players.  


Most of his players don’t have regular partners unless they are preparing for a tournament. The usual routine is to wait on the bench to rotate into the next game.  If the courts aren’t too crowded, the two winners stay on the court but divide and two newcomers enter the game, one on each side of the net.


 In Ken’s Pickleball community there is a “caring hearts” group whose members remain anonymous. They’ve driven people in failing health to the hospital; they’ve delivered hot meals; they’ve provided sympathy cards and hospital or home visits to players going through a personal tragedy.


 Pickleball Ken has some suggestions from other enthusiasts who would like to start a program.  

· Promote it everywhere. (He posted “Players Wanted for Pickleball” flyers at gyms and passed flyers out on the street. As soon as the program started to grow, he arranged for newspaper and TV publicity.)

· Greet each newcomer personally.

· Get these new players into a game the first time they show up at the courts.

·  Provide free equipment for use by the beginners or anyone who can’t afford to buy a paddle.

· Encourage a friendly and supportive atmosphere where everyone feels welcome.


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