RECREATION: Southington Lions take a cause to the courts

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SOUTHINGTON — The Southington Lions Club is starting a potential new tradition in town: a pickleball tournament.

The club will be holding its first Southington Lions Club Pickleball Tournament this Saturday at Panthorn Park.

It’s sold out. There are 40 doubles teams across two divisions, Advanced and Intermediate. The top three teams in each division will get medals.

Most importantly, all of the proceeds will go to Southington Bread for Life and Southington Community Services.

The tournament gets rolling at 10 a.m. and is projected to wrap up between 2 and 3 p.m. Matches will be played to 11 points, except for the championships. Those go to 15.

The double-elimination event is being headed by four-year Southington Lions Club member Larry Cohen. The tournament has attracted participants throughout central Connecticut as well as a few out-of-state players.

“This has been a lot of work,” Cohen said. “The entry fee was $30 and so far we have raised $1,200 and we are hoping to raise $500 more with snacks and drinks being sold at Panthorn Park.”

The Town of Southington put in six pickleball courts at Panthorn Park in September.

“The town is helping us with the event by supplying cones and fencing,” Cohen noted. “We will have snowfencing between courts so the balls don’t go between courts.”

Everyone is welcome to attend, but please bring your own chairs.

Cohen plays three or four times a week at Panthorn. He said the Lions’ “Committee of Five” will decide if the tournament continues next year.

“This was a learning experience for us,” Cohen said. “We will talk about it and ask all of those who participated what was good or bad. I think we will probably do it every year. We would like to. It’s a good cause that raises money for people of need in Southington, and hopefully it will help our membership grow.

“I’ve been volunteering my whole life; I was a Lion in Wolcott and also in Florida and its nice to give back to people who need help,” Cohen added. “People at different times of their lives run into difficulty for one reason or another, whether its illness or unemployment. Also, with children out of school in the summer, the food pantries and soup kitchens need more help because children aren’t getting lunches at school. June, July and August are the biggest months of need.”


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