Esprit to host community pickleball games

Tournament part of annual Port Angeles gathering entering 30th year

PORT ANGELES — A community pickleball tournament is planned May 13 as part of the 30th annual Esprit conference, and novices are encouraged to participate.

Community members will be paired with an Esprit lady for the inaugural tournament at Elks Playfield at 533 W. 14th St. in Port Angeles.

Organizers said the “all fun” tournament is meant to celebrate the longstanding relationship between Esprit and its host city.

Esprit is the longest-running transgender conference on the West Coast.

“Port Angeles has been really welcoming and a really safe and enjoyable place to be,” said Cindi Berry, an Esprit Planning Committee member and pickleball tournament organizer.

“It just seemed like we should do something together.”

The round-robin tournament will begin at noon May 13 after a series of teaching sessions for beginners.

The instructional classes will be conducted at 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. at Elks Playfield. Placement for the tournament will begin at 11:30 a.m.

Pickleball is a fast-growing paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. It is easy to learn but can develop into a rapid, competitive game for experienced players, according to the USA Pickleball Association.

Community members will be paired with Esprit attendees of the same skill level for the tournament.

“The emphasis here is come play and have a good time,” said Berry, a pickleball player from Northwest Oregon.

“That’s what this is all about.”

Registration forms are available online at forms.gle/opN9Pts71nmdJsgs5.

The suggested donation for the tournament is $10 for adults, $5 for children and seniors, and $20 per family.

All proceeds will support Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County, Berry said.

Esprit week begins Sunday and runs through May 19.

The convention “focuses on changing lives for the better and creating pride and self-respect for anyone who is transgender,” according to its website, www.espritconf.com.

“Port Angeles has been really supportive of the Esprit conference, and this is our 30th year,” said Berry, who has been attending the conference since 2011.

“It seems really fitting for us to come together.”

The Port Angeles City Council is expected to approve a proclamation recognizing Esprit week at its Tuesday meeting.

“It will be their 30th year celebrating coming to Port Angeles, and they have been an amazing group,” Mayor Sissi Bruch said at the April 16 council meeting.

Bruch, who plays pickleball, paired up Esprit presenter Dotti Berry, the facilitator for the significant others/couples groups, for a match during last year’s conference.

“That’s how this idea came up,” said Cindi Berry, no relation to Dotti.

“It came to the [Esprit] committee and we ran with it.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

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