Latinitas Purple Party Pickleball Tournament Was A Dill-Ighful Success: A Recap

This past Saturday, June 1st, Latinitas held their annual Purple Party Fundraiser, but with a fun twist! The guests traded in their fancy dresses and tall shoes for sneakers and shorts as the first-ever Latinitas Purple Party Pickleball Tournament was held! A nearly all-day affair where guests were asked to enjoy the copious vendors, bid on the sizeable silent auction, and enjoy the Tournament filled with Latinitas Sponsors. The event, held at the Eastside Paddle Club, was an absolute (pickle)ball! 

Before guests even walked in they were greeted by an outdoor vendor market selling artisan pickles courtesy of Flat Brim Farmer, Raspas by Angelica (a student at Latinitas Padres Digitales program), free drinks and desserts courtesy of JD’s Supermarket, and chips courtesy of Siete Foods. It was already starting to be a party, but the free treats weren’t done yet. Once you went inside and headed upstairs into the lounge patrons got to enjoy Bambino’s pizza and drinks by hi Seltzer on the house. And if Latinitas own pickleballers got a little tired, they could head into a relaxing room and receive a free massage, courtesy of Athle-X

Just as the Tournament was about to begin, Emcee and CBS-Austin News Anchor John-Carlos Estrada came in to introduce the teams, “Let the tournament begin, and good luck to all the amazing teams: Teams Atlassian 1 and 2, Teams Dell 1 and 2, Team Consuela, Team Dill Damas, Team Expedia, Team GFiber, Team Latinitas, Team Ouro, Team Solarwinds, and The Yurtopian Ballers.” Some guests gathered around the sidelines to cheer on their favorite teams, while those looking to get active themselves joined in on H-Dance’s Zumba class! 

H-Dance Instructor Teaching Zumba at the Purple Party!

The first session was held outside, and it was no small feat. Between the burning sun and the instructor’s upbeat choreography, I could barely keep up. Participating in an energetic version of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” before leaving it up to the more capable guests. Inside, the silent auction was in full effect. Purple Party guests could bid on items from Kendra Scott, a stay at the Yurotopian, Six Flags Arlington passes, SXSW Platinum badges, dinners, nights out, beautiful jewelry, signed Juanes drumsticks, and so much more. It was a blast seeing the guests perusing the station, asking which things they were most excited to be bid on. 

Along the way I found myself talking to GFiber’s Technical Operations Manager Danielle Lopez, and she had some lovely things to say about the way Latinitas had directly impacted her life, “My niece is actually a member, and she’s been a part of the organization since she was at least eight, and now she’s fifteen.” Lopez had worked with Latinitas before, speaking at one of our events, but she had no idea her niece was involved until her family opened up about how helpful the organization had been, “The one thing that stood out was my niece struggled in high school and middle school a little bit–it’s been hard for her to make friends. And the girls that she’s met in this particular organization, she can lean on them and they lean on each other, so it made me happy to hear that. And so now whenever y’all have an event I try to support it and be a part of it, cause I’m grateful for it for my niece.” 

Latinitas Program Leader Alexandria Garza with Volunteers at the Purple Party Registration Table!

It was a beautiful sentiment, one I heard echoed again and again as I mingled with various guests. This organization meant so much to them all, and the Tournament, as it turned out, was a great time as well. The Tournament itself offered each team a second chance. Losing the first round put them immediately in a second bracket, but if they lost that, they were out. Though twelve teams went in, in the end, it was down to Team GFiber and Team Atlassian 2. This match lasted much longer, and whoever got twenty-five points first won. The teams went back and forth, and while Team GFiber maintained a steady lead, Team Atlassian started gaining on them in the end. The final scores went from 24 to 19 all the way to 24 to 23. The entire gymnasium was chanting, as all the previous ballers gathered around hoping their team would come out victorious. In the end, though Team Atlassian put up a good fight, Team GFiber were Latinitas first-ever pickleball champions! 

Team GFiber with their Paddle Trophies!

As soon as the match was over, I caught up with the winners to see how they felt, “We’re here to support Latinitas, we’re with GFiber! So exciting, we loved it man, we had a blast!” exclaimed Pickleball Champ Javier Salinas. His Teammate, April Newcomb, added, “Great fun, we had a great time!” The pair ran off to collect their Mosaic Paddles, the trophy for winning the Tournament, and a true piece of art brought to us by The Mosaic Workshop. Our amazing Executive Director Gabriela Kane Guardia closed out the evening with some final thoughts, “Today, your contributions are directly supporting Summer Camp Latinitas. This year, we’re hosting five fantastic weeks of summer camp right here in our offices for students aged 9-14…Thanks to your generosity, we’re able to offer a significant number of scholarships, making it possible for more families to send their children to camp. It’s so important to keep students engaged during the summer months to prevent learning loss, and we’re thrilled to have some incredible guest speakers, workshops, and field trips lined up.” 

When all was said and done, the guests were able to join in on the last Zumba session, this time held on one of the courts, or enjoy pickleball free play! Or, if you were me, sadly discover that your $20 bid on stationery from The Roommate Collective had been outbid, and wait to see what patron would claim the beautiful prize. 

CBS News Anchor and Purple Party Emcee John-Carlos Estrada!

Either way, Latinitas’ first-ever Pickleball Tournament was a resounding success. A day of great fun, fundraising, and healthy competition, and none of it would have been possible without the help of Latinitas’ incredible sponsors, Atlassian, Dell, Ouro, GFiber, Expedia, Solarwinds, CBS Austin, Yeraldin Events, and Brown Distributing Company. 

Author

  • Camila Dejesus

    Magazine & Media Editor, Camila Dejesus has been writing since she was a child and enjoys all forms from creative writing down to narrative analysis. She graduated from Brooklyn College with a bachelor's in Television and Radio Production and works full-time at Latinitas Magazine. In her free time, she loves writing stories, water coloring, or playing songs on her Baritone Ukulele. Now, her greatest passion is finding new topics that will engage and inspire Latinx youth.

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