Recently, two South-Western City School District brothers competed at the US Open Pickleball tournament in Naples, Florida, against other aspiring players – putting their talents to the test and bringing home a silver medal for their efforts.
Ninth-grader Connor Chaffin and fifth-grader Camden Chaffin started practicing the new emerging game of Pickleball a year and a half ago. The game of Pickleball combines parts of table tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, which is played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net using a paddle and a plastic ball with holes.
“I love the sport of Pickleball and I think everyone should try it,” said fifth-grader, Camden Chaffin. “I am a competitive person, so getting to compete nationally was amazing, but a little bit overwhelming.”
Initially, to get better at the sport, the brothers practiced frequently at home by drawing a chalk-lined court in their driveway for months on end while they learned the game, but now they are out playing at local Central Ohio Pickleball courts four-five days a week. Clearly, the extra practice and hard work continue to pay off, as the boys won gold in the Cincinnati Open, playing in the Amateur Mens Doubles division this month.
“We love the people, competitiveness, how fast you can get better when you work on it and how much the sport is growing,” said Andrea Chaffin, the boys’ mother.
From what started as a hobby in their driveway all the way to the US Nationals and beyond, this sport has led these two brothers down a path they never dreamed of at the start. And, even with all the accolades they are earning along the way, you can still occasionally find these two picking up extra games in their driveway.