NPA, 7642 Kingston, Portage, Mich. 49002


Trophies recognize PB's best


The Open National Doubles Trophy

The Open National Singles Trophy


Not only is Mike Wisniewski a very good paddleball player but he also is interested in the history of the sport and its preservation.

Wisniewski, of Bay City, Mich., the 8-time NPA national singles champion, has constructed two large trophies for indoor, four-wall paddleball.

They list the open national singles and national doubles winners on plastic name tags affixed to the heavy trophies.

The national singles trophy carries the names of the 42 winners and it has an old Marcraft wood paddle in the top center.

The national doubles trophy has 84 names and features two old Marcraft wood paddles in the top center.

Last summer, Wisniewski played in several tournaments on the West Coast with ex-paddleballers who switched to racquetball and then came back to paddleball.

One of them was Charlie Brumfield, a two-time NPA national singles winner and for a number of years

the No. 1 racquetball player in the country. He is the leader of the Paddleball Nation -- the West Coast paddleballers.

Wisniewski made a slick trophy in recognition of Brumfield's efforts for paddleball and racquetball and took it to him.

"The idea of these trophies (for paddleball) popped into my head after making the Brumfield trophy last summer," said Whiz.

Please see TROPHIES next page

Chris (The Giant) Crowther (left) topped Mike Wisniewski, the NPA national open singles champion, in the paddleball singles final of the America's Cup tournament Feb. 6-8, 2004, in Coral Springs, Fla.

2003-2004 NPA Schedule

NATIONAL SINGLES, March 19, 20, 21,

One-On-One Club, Ann Arbor, MI.

NATIONAL DOUBLES, April 23, 24, 25,

Bloomingdale, Ill., Athletic Club.



Continued from Page 1

"I thought, `Why not have a perpetual trophy that would bring the history of all the past national winners out in the open so that the newer players to the game could see the heritage and the names of our Legends from past to present.'"

Wisniewski said he designed the trophies "using Auto-Cad, a computer drafting program that allowed me to lay out the name tags to scale so I could determine the overal size of the area needed to lay out 42 years of winners.

"The design time took approximately 40 hours over the course of the summer. The trophies are made from red oak."

He was assisted in the project by Tim Gerard, an ex-paddleballer from the Bay City area who also has been involved in recent years in the history of the sport.

The trophies "are epoxied and screwed together and finished with 5 coats of polyurethane," said Wisniewski. "All totaled, I probably have about 60 hours assembly time into each trophy.

"The idea for the classic (Marcraft) paddles to be a part of the trophy was right from the start. I knew I was saving these old sticks for some reason."

The trophies will stay with the champions for a year and then be returned for capture by the defenders or newcomers to the thrones.

Kim Poli does his stuff at the Super Bowl in Houston

Paddleballer pedals people

When paddleballer Kim Poli is not on the court, he's exercising his legs in another way.

Poli, of Green Bay, Wis., transports fans to sporting events with the use of a pedicab -- a small, three-wheel vehicle.

Poli, who has been playing paddleball since 1972, also did his thing at the Super Bowl Feb. 1 in Houston.


He started the part-time job about five years ago by taking Green Bay Packers fans to and from their cars to Lambeau Field during home games.

Poli -- who played with his brother, Kevin, in the State Doubles at East Lansing, Mich., in February -- said many of the fans "sometimes drink too much."

Generally, they're feeling pretty good, Poli

said, and they sometimes can't remember where their car is even if they remember which lot in which they parked.

"I take them wherever they want to go -- to a tour bus, their car, the bar, a tailgate party," he said.

"One time I picked up a guy and his wife for a Packer game and we got to talking and I found out he was a paddlball player from Eau Claire (Wis.)," said Poli.

It's an interesting job and, occasionally, a lucrative one.

"One guy was really insisting I take him to his car but I already was waiting for two other fares," Poli said. "Then he said he'd give me a hundred dollars."

Poli accepted, took the man to his car and still returned in time to pick up the other fares (two women) a few minutes late.

He apologized but he said the good news was that their fare already had been paid (by the generosity of the man).


Aid project canceled

The project to help the needy in Haiti, which would have included a paddleballer, was canceled after unrest in that country.

Randy Wackerle, of Bay City, Mich., had been scheduled to go with members of his church -- the Apostolic Christian Church -- in February.

For a number of years, the church has been working on schools in Haiti.

But the trip was canceled after uprisings against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

At least 18 persons had been killed as of Feb. 9 since armed opponents began their assault.


A time-honored tradition:

The Pig Roast & Human Sacrifice

One of the highlights of the paddleball year is the annual pig roast staged by the Kalamazoo, Mich., players.

A player or players each year are honored for their contributions to the sport. At least, that's what they want you to believe. It really is an excuse for some hard partying and -- incidentally -- some playing to close out the season.

There have been 27 pig roasts over the years and No. 28 is scheduled for sometime in June of this year. Date to be announced. So plan on being there.

The honorees:

1977: Mark Smith
1978: Andy Kasalo
1979: Andy Mitchell
1980: Doug Averitt
1981: Doug Greene / Ollie Rose
1982: Bob Berg / Jeff Biggers / Lorri Brigham
1983: Jeff Burkam / Gail Potgiesser
1984: Dean Pennala / Jane Pennala
1985: Steve Haines / Joanne Shafer
1986: Matt Kollig / Renee Callies
1987: Kim Poli / Linny Casper
1988: Randy Hice / Jamie Miller
1989: Jeff Bowne / Leigh Boughton
1990: Steve Dinges / Pat Manuel
1991: Craig Melvin / O'Connor family
1992: Joe Emaar / Ida Hernandez
1993: Brad Ex / Pam Gladding
1994: Bill Farmer
1995: Steve Weir
1996: Lou Giampetroni
1997: Ed Maher
2000: Dave Westervelt
1998: Mark Camp
1999: Joel Kloosterman
2001: Dave McShane
2002: Jim Owens
2003: Chuck Gladding


Hey, you; yes, you: 

Support your tournaments

A vital message about paddleball was sent by Lorri Brigham, NPA secretary-treasurer, at the State Doubles in East Lansing, Mich., in February.

Each participant received a packet of pages on the tournament, including the schedule of the player, other tourney information and the need for better participation in the events.

"It shows a commitment to your sport every time that you play in a tournament," she wrote. "In order for paddleball to sustain itself (and to grow), we need the showcase of a tournament.

"By taking time out of your schedule and spending the money it costs to attend a tournament, you are contributing to the sport of paddleball on many levels.

"I hope that you also get a lot out of your participation on a personal level. A player once told me that coming to a tournament was like going to a family reunion ... You get the opportunity to reconnect with people that you really enjoy and don't get to see very often."

Brigham, who does an immense amount of work for every tournament -- and has for a number of years -- said:

"My wish is that when you wake up Monday morning, you will feel it was worth the time, the expense, and the sore muscles. I also hope that you will tell your fellow hometown players what a great experience a tournament is.

"Without grass roots support, our sport will cease to exist as we know it."

She also urged players in the Midwest to prepare for the National Singles and National Doubles tournaments, which are expected to draw some of the best of the Paddleball Nation group on the West Coast.

"We have always claimed to be THE mecca for paddleball -- so it is time to put up or shut up!" she declared.


EARLY START -- Jacob Madis, 4, of Livonia, Mich., gets in a little practice Feb. 14, 2004, at the Michigan Athletic Club in East Lansing, site of the 2004 State Doubles. His dad is Mike Madis, a top-level open player from Schoolcraft College.


Paddleball ...

a great way

to lose weight!


Paddleball Profiles


Rick Clewis began playing paddleball in 1978 "because a friend asked me to."

Clewis, of Onsted, Mich., switched to PB from racquetball.

Asked what he enjoys about the game, Clewis -- an engineer -- said: "Exercise, fun, fun, sweat, and my friends play."

He won a Men's B singles title, a Pig Roast crown and "several others over the years."

Any suggestions on how tournaments can be improved?

Clewis's response:

"Full-time masseuse, open bar."



Like many other paddleballers, Gary Levandoski of Midland, Mich., could not avoid the charms of the game when he learned about it.

"In 1983, a friend introduced me to the sport and I got hooked," he said.

Levandoski, who does property inspections, has won Pig-Iron, State C, second-place State B titles "and too many second-places and consolations."

What does he like about the sport?

"The people -- competition -- the conditioning," he said.

2004 State

Singles Results

OPEN: 1st, Mike Wisniewski; 2nd, Mike Madis; 3rd, Mike Schafer. Consolation: Jim Swendris.

MEN'S B: 1st, Don Kirkconnell; 2nd, Robert Stone; 3rd, Andy Pappas. Consolation: Dave Haehnle.

MEN'S C: 1st, Duane Costanza; 2nd, Tom North; 3rd, Larry Allgaier. Consolation: Curt Rychlinski.

SENIORS/MASTERS: 1st, Mike Wisniewski; 2nd, Andy Mitchell; 3rd, Doug Mitchell. Consolation: Andy Pappas.

GOLDEN MASTERS: 1st, Earl Pratt; 2nd, Chuck Gladding; 3rd, Paul Jones.



Jim Richter  happened to be in the neighborhood in 1990 and got his first exposure to paddleball.

Richter, of Dexter, Mich., said he played for the first time that year.

"Al Storey needed a fourth player and I happened to be in the gym" in the old IM Building at the University of Michigan, Richter said.

"I started playing regularly four years ago."

Richter is president of a medical research institute and related start-up companies.

He said he enjoys the competition and teamwork PB requires.

Richter has won a Men's C state doubles crown and took a second in Men's B in the Fall Doubles.

Any suggestions on how tournaments can be improved?

"I think they are already first-class," he said.


... can be ordered through Spectrum Sports, P. O. Box 336, Clark Lake, Mich. 49234 or by calling Dave Haehnle at (517) 592-3527 or Gordy Hatt at (517) 784-1861.

Paddleball Profile

Larry Millen, of Farmington Hills, Mich., says he started playing paddleball in 1972 "because it was easier than handball."

Millen, a retired engineer, says he enjoys "the people, the people and the competition and it lets me drink all the beer I want -- with the people."

Millen, who plays out of Schoolcraft College, lost in a tiebreaker in the Golden Masters final of the 2001 State of Michigan Singles Tournament.

Like a lot of players, Millen said he would like to see "more young contestants in tournaments."






7642 Kingston

Portage, Mich. 49002

National Paddleball Association Newsletter



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