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PPTA Growing the Game

3-24-2008
Las Vegas, NV
The recent much-talked-about platform tennis event in Las Vegas saw the “paddle” community come together as never before to promote the sport in a new and dynamic way.  Commercial sponsors Viking Athletics and Paddlepro.com came through with prize donations as part of a raffle run by P.P.T.A. pros.  Proceeds from the raffle were used to finance air, hotel, prizes, and other travel expenses for the pros as well as cover the cost of give-aways and awards used during the event.  David Dodge of Premier Platform assembled the court in Las Vegas and covered all his own expenses in the process.  The A.P.T.A. paid the site fee and staffed the booth from Thursday-Sunday and acted as great ambassadors of the game.view full report




 

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PPTA crew with Elvis and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B Goodman

But the real “grinders” of the event were the P.P.T.A. pros:  Mike Rahaley, Mike Marino, Matt Garavaglia, Peter Berka, Rod Workman, Todd Ward, Mike Cochrane, and Brian Heil.  The group taught over 200 people who had never seen platform tennis before in a series of clinics that were held between exhibitions.  The pros taught and played from 10:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. for three straight days and put in a half-day on Sunday.  They received no payment for their efforts and gave up revenue from their regular jobs as well as time away from their families.  The sacrifice proved to be worthwhile as all the pros agreed that their time was well-spent and the reaction from the Vegas crowd was that of genuine excitement.  The most common reaction was from kids who tried the sport and proclaimed “This is more fun than regular tennis!”  Even the Mayor of Las Vegas stopped by (with full entourage) to check out the action.

Other key supporters of the event were David Caldwell, Brian Uihlein, and Blake Cordish who showcased their skills in exhibition play and picked up some dinner tabs for the whole group along the way.  Peter Berka scored the biggest points of the week when he single-handedly recruited the world’s number 1 tennis doubles team, the Bryan Brothers, to play a platform tennis match less than an hour after they had lost the doubles final at the Tennis Channel Open.  They were enthralled with the game and showed a lot of class with their participation.  What was originally scheduled as a ten minute “courtesy appearance” turned into a one hour exhibition and clinic with some of the pros, and they even got a “peg” in on Mike Cochrane during a volley exchange at net.

A special acknowledgement goes out to Jason Gray and Jean Kempner who coordinated the entire program.  They spent literally hundreds of hours between them making sure that platform tennis was represented in the best light possible, and saw to it that every detail was carried out in the most professional way.  The Tennis Channel was so impressed with the event that their representatives initiated talks to co-produce similar events in the future with Jason acting as point man.

Thanks to everyone involved for making this ground-breaking idea a reality and for establishing a great model for similar productions in the future.            

 

 


 
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