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Youngsters Enjoy Pickleball at Roger Maris All Star Week

Youngsters Enjoy Pickleball at Roger Maris All Star Week: The youthful energy of the Roger Maris All-Star Week was evident as children aged 9 to 12 enthusiastically participated in a pickleball clinic at Brunsdale Park. This event was the first for the prestigious week-long celebration, drawing an enthusiastic response that quickly filled all available spots.

Under sunny skies and with a clear sense of excitement, approximately 36 children from the Fargo-Moorhead community gathered on Wednesday morning. Each court was lively as local instructors guided the young participants through the basics of pickleball, covering paddle techniques and the details of scoring points.

Roger Maris Jr., clearly moved by the turnout and the perfect weather, described the day enthusiastically. “Amazing!” he exclaimed. “As you guys know, you’ve had some bad weather up here, For us to walk out today and have this kind of weather is amazing. We’re very fortunate and thrilled. To have the turnout and enthusiasm we have here today is great,” said Maris Jr.

The swift registration closure for the pickleball clinic highlights its popularity, reflecting a growing interest in the sport among the younger generation. Maris Jr. noted this trend with enthusiasm, foreseeing that many of the participants would leave the clinic eager to introduce pickleball to their families and friends.

Rusty Papachek, the clinic’s coordinator and one of the local coaches expressed delight in witnessing the kids’ engagement. “It’s been awesome just seeing kids playing, some of them have played before and some of them haven’t, It’s really an introduction to the game to teach them everything from the basics of grip to scoring and serving. We’re having a lot of fun. It’s a great day and a really good turnout,” Papachek remarked.

Encouraged by the success of this year’s clinic, Papachek hinted at future expansion plans. “With the first year filling up, we closed registration a few weeks ago, there is potentially enough interest where we could add another clinic and do two instead of just the one,” he revealed.

“It is the fastest growing sport in America and I think it has legs, Some people think it’s a fad but I think it’s the youth that are playing. Not only young kids but college-aged kids. Everyone thinks pickleball is for people over 60. But it has legs because there are younger people playing it. Once you start playing, it’s really addicting,” said Papackek

Reflecting on his father’s legacy, Maris Jr. shows Roger Maris’s enduring passion for youth engagement and active lifestyles. “Dad was a guy that always wanted the kids to be active,” he recalled fondly. “He loved seeing kids being active and that’s what’s kind of happened here with the Roger Maris Week being able to get everyone being active. To see this happen and knowing that dad is looking down here and seeing all these kids out here running around in Roger Maris All-Star shirts being active and having fun and playing a game they can play the rest of their life is really meaningful.”

Throughout the Roger Maris All-Star Week, various youth clinics have showcased different sports, from baseball and softball to football, with golf and hockey clinics still to come. Maris Jr. expressed anticipation for the 40th Roger Maris Celebrity Golf Tournament, a longstanding tradition that continues to draw support and participation from across Fargo.

Youngsters Enjoy Pickleball at Roger Maris All Star Week

As the festivities continued, Maris Jr. reflected on the community’s support for the event and its charitable cause. “It’s something that Fargo should be able to celebrate,” he remarked. “People don’t have 40-year golf tournaments so for us to have a 40-year golf tournament is something we’re proud of.”

Proceeds from the week’s events will benefit the Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center, highlighting the event’s dual mission of sports celebration and philanthropy. “We want to keep hitting home runs over there and try to send people out of the building cancer-free or in remission, It’s just a great week with a lot of great things happening,” said Maris Jr.

The pickleball clinic, especially, made a lasting impression on both participants and organizers, establishing a benchmark for future youth engagement during the Roger Maris All-Star Week. As the sport gains momentum through events like these, its role in promoting active lifestyles and community spirit grows stronger than ever.

News in Brief: Youngsters Enjoy Pickleball at Roger Maris All Star Week

The Roger Maris All-Star Week featured its first pickleball clinic at Brunsdale Park, drawing 36 children aged 9 to 12. Under sunny skies, the event quickly reached capacity, reflecting rising interest in pickleball among Fargo-Moorhead youth.

Roger Maris Jr. praised the turnout and ideal weather, emphasizing his father’s passion for youth activity. Organizer Rusty Papachek noted the sport’s appeal across generations, debunking stereotypes about its demographic.

The clinic’s success may lead to expanded offerings. It highlighted Pickleball’s role in promoting active lifestyles and community engagement, aligning with the week’s charitable mission of supporting the Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center.

Also read: Uniting Communities Through Pickleball: Doubles Dink for Cancer



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