Relishing Pickleball

David Zapatka

If you don’t know George Anderson, you should. Nearly everyone who plays tournament pickleball in the Valley knows this gentle soul who takes charge on the court as one of the best pickleball referees in all of Arizona. I think George has refereed more matches than all the other Sun Lakes pickleball players combined. I have a lot of respect for George so decided to interview him for this month’s column.

David: When did you move to Sun Lakes?

George: I moved here from Minnesota in 1986.

David: Tell our readers about your introduction and experience with pickleball.

George: I discovered pickleball in 2015 when my wife Nancy and I were camping in Flagstaff. We met very nice people who introduced us to and taught us the game. We have both been playing pickleball ever since. We live in Cottonwood Palo Verde and are members of the Sun Lakes Pickleball Club at Cottonwood. My rating is 3.0 and will go to 3.5 May 1. Nancy’s rating is 2.0. I love the sport, the people who play the sport and our club. I volunteer as our club webmaster. I’m a big believer in electronics, not paper. I taught myself how to create a website and although it’s a work in progress, am happy with what we have today. The site is I am a big supporter of the Norris Invitational Pickleball Tournament, our annual club tournament. Every day during the tournament, I post all the results to our website, recreating every bracket. You can also find the history of our club on our website.

David: Tell us about your tournament referee experience.

George: It’s fun! I’ve only been refereeing since the USAPA National Championships November 2017. I had recently broken my wrist on the court and couldn’t play, so thought I would teach myself to referee while I was recovering. I learned the rules by playing pickleball and reading the rule book. I showed up with no experience and volunteered. They allowed me to referee all day for six days. Since then, I’ve been a volunteer referee at nearly every tournament in the Valley.

David: Thank you, George!

Have a question about pickleball? Want to know more about the sport, the rules, equipment or have some pickilicious news you would like to share with our pickleball community? Email David Zapatka at [email protected]