Pickleball donates equipment to Hopwood
The Pickleball Federation of the Northern Mariana Islands brought pickleball to middle school children after their donation of pickleball equipment to the Admiral Herbert G. Hopwood Middle School yesterday morning at the newly minted pickleball court in the Chalan Piao campus’ parking lot.
PFNMI board members, which include president Dr. Nelson Krum, members Dr. Donna Krum, Donn Dunlop, Nicky Nichols, and Marivic Dunlop, presented one net, four paddles, and six balls to Chang Whan “Mike” Jang, eighth grade physical education teacher, and his students.
Jang, who can occasionally be found at the American Memorial Park courts playing pickleball with the rest of the pickleball enthusiasts on Saipan, was thankful to PFNMI for their donation.
He added that he felt great that pickleball will now be played by the children, saying it’s an easy sport to learn, “anybody can learn… I really like it because it’s fun, safe, easy to catch up [on], and that’s why I want to implement it in my P.E. class.”
The demonstration of pickleball by the PFNMI and Jang to the about 50 plus eighth graders in attendance, was on a pickleball court, created by Jang who painted and striped it blue and yellow—the school’s colors and handmade the net poles. He also handmade his own pickleball paddles that he has been using prior to the donation.
Before the demonstration, Donna Krum said that “it’s been on our to-do lists to get [pickleball] into the schools… Think of afterschool programs—which we don’t have, of kids out there playing, getting physical exercise, laughing with their friends.” She said introducing it to HMS is the first step into getting pickleball out into the other schools.
HMS principal Victorino Borja, who was seen trying out the sport as well, said that he is “grateful and happy to have this sport that our students can enjoy, have fun, but at the same time… it’s good for their health—physical fitness. We’re thankful for Mr. Jang, who actually brought up the concept of having the sport and invited the board members; they are a very strong proponent of good health and physical fitness. I can already see our students are excited just trying it out.”
Borja wants, sometime in the future, to do an “intramural competition with other middle schools,” together with the other interscholastic sports competitions like volleyball, badminton, and the like.
The children were seen enjoying the newly introduced sport, with groups of them practicing on the walls, or playing against each other.
Eighth-grader Raphael Viesca told Saipan Tribune that it’s a fun sport and that he would definitely play it with his friends. Another eighth-grader, Rayana Paulette Ichihara, said that “playing pickleball felt like playing volleyball and badminton at the same time… I feel like it’s a good sport.” She said that it was competitive playing against her classmate as she made her run after the ball a few times.