A pair of high school sweethearts won the First Annual Point-Pickle Pickleball Tournament over the weekend at The Five Seasons Family Sports Club.
Sixteen teams competed in the tournament for the championship.
The Point/Arc was founded in 1972 by a group of parents fighting for the educational rights of their children, who were diagnosed with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.
Barb McMillan and her husband Don, who met as students at Walton-Verona High School, play pickleball together daily.
The two-some entered — and won — the tournament.
“It was a great win, but I had to be part of this event,” McMillan said. “My sister, Donna Rice, passed away some six weeks ago from Down Syndrome at the age of 60. She also was suffering from dementia.”
Rice lived in Zalla House, one of 16 residential homes owned and operated by The Point/Arc.
“She (Donna) lived in Zalla House 10 years,” McMillian said, “and prior to her worsening condition she lived in an apartment owned by The Point for another 10 years.”
She entered the Zalla House when she was 20, remembered McMillan.
“The Point gave my sister responsibility,” McMillian said. “She was able to work and ride a bus.”
But there’s more to The Point/Arc attachment.
“My mom was a volunteer and helped raise money for The Point,” she said. “She helped Judi Gerding (President and Founder) for years.”
McMillian says the championship brought back some great memories for her.
“My dad was a tennis lover and player,” she said. “He taught me tennis, and I learned the game at Five Seasons. That’s the place I played with my dad.”
McMillan’s dad passed in December.
“When I left the tournament with my trophy Sunday,” she said, “someone stopped me and said, ‘Your dad would be mighty proud of you.’”
McMillian said winning the First Annual Pickle-Pickleball Tournament was an emotional day for a great cause. We’ll give one guess where the McMillans took their winnings.
For more information about The Point/Arc’s mission and who they serve, visit thepointarc.org.