Fair play, sportsmanship, and equity for all players.
All State Pickleball League was founded by like-minded pickleball players in New Jersey and currently has over 1,800 Members on the DUPR platform. We spoke to founders and owner operators Stephen Conger and Michele Dabal about their amazing journey in pickleball.
How did you get started with Pickleball?
It’s a fairly unique story. I have been a liver transplant recipient for 18 years and they added pickleball as an event to the transplant games. A friend of mine, who I was playing tennis with at the transplant games lives in Florida, told me about this game called Pickleball. I said, ‘What in the world is that?’ She said, ‘When I come back to New Jersey, I'll teach you how to play.’ As soon as I started to play I fell quickly in love with the game and have been doing it ever since, said Michele.
What inspired you to start a statewide pickleball league?
We love the league idea. From there, we talked to Tito at DUPR. He was excited to work with us and see how that could happen. The three of us met regularly and established the framework of the league. We then launched in the fall of 2022 with 66 teams. We thought it was pretty phenomenal; we were all over the state. Spring came along and we went up to 106 teams. We kept on getting more players and it was just unreal. So, I think in that regard it was kind of a seed that was planted and then we just kept watering it. Now it has grown into this fall where we have almost 120 teams, said Stephen.
How has DUPR played a role in all of this and why did you end up choosing DUPR?
The nice thing with DUPR is that it has data from everywhere. DUPR encapsulates more than just competitive tournament play. Now, it still doesn't capture everything. There's not a rating system out there that captures everything. But in terms of the data that's available, it has more. said Stephen.
What is your most popular format?
I think the league players are enjoying the more traditional play — not rally scoring, regular scoring — playing matches to 11, best out of three, because it's what they're accustomed to. But then when you go to Minor League pickleball, it bumps it up in the excitement level to be playing just like the Major League does. Initially people said, ‘Wait, how do you do this? Where do I stand? Wait, we don't change sides?’ But when they understand that, they are totally into it. It adds a special element to it where you are playing like the Major League pros, and you are at a really nice indoor facility and you just feel really good about the experience, said Michele.
About All State Pickleball League: The statewide pickleball league in NJ features team based competition over a 10 week period. They have over 30 locations around the state that teams use both public and private, and they also run Minor League Pickleball events throughout New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
We are proud to have All State Pickleball League a part of the DUPR family as they continue to grow and evolve their league and expand to more locations. If you would like to learn more about their events and what they do, visit their website here: allstatepickleball.com
Facebook: All State Pickleball League
View the full interview on our YouTube channel.