Park City Pickleball Club commemorates 9/11 by joining nationwide marathon
The club played pickleball for 12 hours for charity
Park City Pickleball Club vice president Tracey Swenson knows exactly where she was on Sept. 11, 2001.
Swenson was working in New Jersey when the terrorist attacks happened, and she hiked up a trail to a mountaintop where she could see the smoke coming from the World Trade Center in the distance.
“I actually have good friends’ husbands and brothers that died,” Swenson said. “Like that whole month, we were at funerals. … I’m getting chills talking about it, it was really devastating.”
As Park City and the rest of the country commemorated the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Swenson and the Park City Pickleball Club joined a nationwide event called The Great American Pickleball Marathon to support The Wounded Blue, a charity that helps injured and disabled law enforcement officers. The club played at the PC MARC from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday.
“I’m happy that we’re doing something for 9/11,” Swenson said. “I love that we’re bringing it to the forefront and making a donation to The Wounded Blue.”
Maureen O’Malia is a pickleball coach and instructor at the PC MARC and helps assess the skill level of players in the pickleball club. She said it was helpful to have a respectful way to commemorate the attacks 20 years later while still playing the sport she loves.
“Go out and play a sport that you like and then donate to help,” she said. “Because a lot of people don’t know what to do today, right? It will never be forgotten, that’s for sure. It’s a good event, and hopefully they do it every year.”
Rain pushed everyone inside late in the morning, but as the skies began to clear up, the pickleball courts were once again full with players, including Park City Mayor Andy Beerman.
Lita Hoffmann, another member of the club, was also among them. She said that her husband was in New York City that morning for the launch of a new investment firm, while she was looking after their kids in Wisconsin.
“It was kind of scary because our kids were young, and I was a teacher at the time,” Hoffmann said. “He got through to me right away and he ended up driving across the country when you could get a car and went to Wisconsin.
“But it was scary because my husband traveled a lot, he had an office in New York. It was deep, it was deep.”
Seeing so many familiar faces from the club helped lighten the mood of the day for players like Hoffmann. The club has hundreds of members, so it was a rare opportunity to have so many of them in the same place to support a charitable cause.
“I think it’s wonderful, I think it shows a lot of camaraderie,” Hoffmann said. “All the people here are the people you see on the courts all the time, so it’s fun to see them all in one spot and get the opportunity to play. I think it’s great. They do so much work to make this club cohesive and together, like a family.”
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Park City lost 7-0, but coach Tom Merchant says his team played better than the score indicates.