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One Man's The Dink Minor League Pickleball Journey and What It Means To Him

by Jason Flamm on

Ed Wilham is an avid fan and player of The Dink Minor League Pickleball (MiLP) in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and he recently shared his story and experiences with The Dink.

Wilham shares how he got started with The Dink Minor League Pickleball events, the joys and challenges of building teams, the supportive community of organizers, and the personal significance of pickleball in managing health challenges.

Reading his story will no doubt inspire you to join the MiLP community and find an upcoming event near you.

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What was your first The Dink Minor League Pickleball event experience?

It began with my connections in Tulsa. Mia Dunagan and Caroline Luelf had started organizing these events locally. I was already involved in tournaments around the country, but the team aspect of MiLP really caught my attention.

Left to right: Mia Dunagan, Ed Wilham, and Caroline Luelf

It quickly became my favorite tournament format.

What do you enjoy most about MiLP events?

The most rewarding part is building teams that gel well together. It's about more than just skill; it's about fostering team camaraderie, which makes the whole process both challenging and enjoyable.

Can you describe the community of event organizers?

My experience has mainly been with Mia and Caroline. I met Mia while playing mixed doubles at a tennis center in Florida. Our connection grew over time, especially as I played more with her and her father.

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The event organizers I know, like Mia and Caroline, are incredibly dedicated and passionate about promoting pickleball and building a supportive community.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about participating in a MiLP event?

Focus on the team dynamics as much as the pickleball skills. The interpersonal relationships within the team are critical. Also, the mental aspect of playing in a team setting is significant and requires continuous improvement.

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What has your experience been like playing with your team - "Beauties and the Beasts" - in MiLP events?

It's been fantastic. Although most of the team is based in Tulsa and I'm in Florida, we've managed to maintain a strong, consistent team. We've won some medals and learned to work effectively together, aiming to eventually qualify for Nationals.

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What has surprised you the most about your MiLP experiences?

Every event brings a new surprise. It's like solving a puzzle, blending pickleball fundamentals with the unexpected challenges of tournament play. It keeps me focused and excited, offering a thrilling balance between strategic play and emotional highs.

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How has participating in MiLP impacted your personal health challenges?

I have been dealing with leukemia for 16 years, and pickleball gives me something positive to focus on amid the treatments and appointments. The encouragement from the MiLP community, especially coordinators like Mia and Caroline, helps keep my spirits up and my goals in sight.

It’s not just a physical journey but a mental one, and staying active in pickleball is vital for my well-being.

Thanks to Ed for his interview.

We were ecstatic to hear of his recent success in winning Silver at the event in Oklahoma City!

Beauties and the Beasts

If you'd like to share your experience playing or hosting an event with The Dink Minor League Pickleball, send us an e-mail here!

Jason Flamm

Jason Flamm

Jason is a writer from St. Louis. He’s been a coach in several sports and is currently working on his pickleball coaching certification. He loves to teach and share his passions.

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