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Players complete pickleball program at VIU tiwšɛmawtxʷ campus

Gherkins ace final exam, compete at tournament in qathet region gymnasium following six-week course

The report cards are in! Vancouver Island University (VIU) ElderCollege students of Gherkin Pickleball for Seniors and Senioras have all graduated with “dis-dink-tion.”

After a record-breaking, two-and-a-half-hour tournament on March 10, filled with dinking and volleying rallies lasting up to 18 shots at times, principal Gherkin Barb Struch commented on how pleased she was that each participant successfully fulfilled both the learning and performance objectives of the six-week course.

“There was only one technical warning for ‘foul’ language, but when given, the offending Gherkin showed the utmost remorse and thereafter, used only ‘fowl’ language, indicating that her play was often for the birds,” explained Gherkin Barb.

Furthermore, head referee Dilly was surprised that not one Naughty Gherkin Paper Plate Puppet violation had to be issued.

The educational process with its statistical genius, good friend and colleague Gherkin Ryan Hansen, once again proved that the medalists had the lowest number of unforced errors: bronze medalist Gherkin Nick Farina had 10 unforced errors; silver medalist Gherkin Terry Baker had 10 unforced errors; winner and gold medalist Gherkin Jack Wiebe had only six unforced errors.

Gherkin Ryan offered sage advice to all students of pickleball.

“Those who get the ball over the net just one more time than the opponents, tend to win the game,” he said.

School is out until the fall when yet another Gherkin Pickleball for Seniors and Senioras will be offered through VIU ElderCollege in the qathet region.

“The fall program will have seats for only eight participants, so sign up early and be committed to stay and play for six weeks,” said Gherkin Barb, creator of the program.

The program is offered to people who have never played pickleball before, and Gherkin Pickleball teaches only the soft game of pickleball. There is no hard hitting.

“Everyone should give Gherkin Pickleball a try,” said participant Janice Worgul. “It’s so much fun and there are great instructors.”

Fellow Gherkin Peter Larlee concurred, calling the program wonderful, fun and instructive, while Terry Baker said participants were blessed with “the best instructor I’ve ever had!”

Gherkin Barb said that this course could not happen without the incredible support of the volunteers: Gary Huculak, Rosalie Pasquet, Ryan Hansen and Xóchitl Hernández.

“They are all great people who have a genuine concern for seniors and for bringing joy and happiness to their lives,” she added.

In a shout-out to VIU, Gherkin Barb said she wants everyone to know how valuable this local ElderCollege program has been, and expressed that Hernández should be commended for recognizing the need to reach out to seniors in this town. 

“In total, there are 45 seniors who have taken the Gherkin Pickleball program,” said Hernández, who is the program coordinator for VIU ElderCollege. “Although they have learned to play the soft game of pickleball, more importantly, they have made friends, they are getting exercise on a regular basis, and they are having fun.”

VIU ElderCollege offers a number of programs to participate in, all with the goal of helping seniors.

The tournament was played in the gymnasium at Vancouver Island University’s tiwšɛmawtxʷ campus.