Pickleball comes to UW-Eau Claire

Matthew Poppitz starts a brand new club at UW-Eau Claire

Kyra Price

More stories from Kyra Price

Blotter
September 27, 2022
Members+of+the+Pickleball+Club+with+their+implements

Photo by SUBMITTED

Members of the Pickleball Club with their implements

UW-Eau Claire recently added a new club to its arsenal. Started by third-year biochemistry and molecular biology student and club president Matthew Poppitz, The Pickleball Club is now available to students.

Poppitz said he found pickleball at a young age and progressed quickly, never losing his love for the game. 

He said that when he was eight years old, his grandpa introduced him to pickleball, and he began to dedicate more time to it when he was 15 years old. That was when he bought his first racket and signed up for his first tournament.

Poppitz said he chose to play pickleball because he finds it fun and easy to play, and it has a great learning curve. He said it’s a sport people of all ages and bodies can play, so pickleball is a great way to meet new people.

One of the greatest challenges Poppitz said he has faced in starting The Pickleball Club has been recruiting members. He said their best form of communication has been word-of-mouth.

Poppitz said his friends know he’s obsessed with the sport and will come play if he asks, but it’s much harder to reach out to the student body, especially since the club portal has been down for a few months.

Another challenge for The Pickleball Club has been receiving funding for equipment. For two months, the club used the net Poppitz received for his birthday one year, and he loaned out his extra paddles to members.

To raise money, the club used a GoFundMe, with much success. They raised enough money to pay for two nets, eight paddles and many balls, which is enough equipment for two courts.

First year business student Colin Chapman decided to get started with The Pickleball Club because of two friends he knew since the beginning of college. He said he hadn’t had much experience with pickleball outside of high school gym class, but said he decided to give it a shot.

Chapman said he was looking for something to do one Sunday after football season ended and a friend reached out, inviting him to try pickleball.

One bored Sunday turned into me finding a potentially lifelong hobby,” Chapman said. 

He is also on the men’s tennis team, which he said helps him with his racquet skills and hand-eye coordination when playing pickleball.

Chapman said he was always involved with tennis growing up, and he played for two years in high school, qualifying for state both years. Due to COVID-19, his high school stopped carrying a tennis program, and he had the opportunity to coach for another school.

Chapman said he is excited to see how the club grows and expands, and said that he loves meeting new friends with similar interests to him.

The Pickleball Club plays twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays in McPhee 210C. Poppitz said that there is no obligation to come play, and it is free to join. 

“We are a very lax club, and we just want to introduce other students to our passion,” Poppitz said. 

Poppitz said that the club is hoping to host a “Pickleball Night” in McPhee on May 7. They plan to have two courts up and possibly run a tournament, and all equipment will be provided.

If interested, reach out to Matthew Poppitz at [email protected]

Price can be reached at [email protected]