A Friend at CourtJul 21, 2023 01:55PM ● By Kara Schweiss
Photo by Bill Sitzmann.
When he’s not at his Papillion business Monarch Siding, Windows & Roofing, Tom Galgerud is probably on a pickleball court. Tennis had long been Galgerud’s racket sport of choice, but he’s favored pickleball since picking it up a few years ago.
“I like the quickness of the game,” Galgerud said. “Tennis might take an hour, hour and a half to play a match. With pickleball, it’s 15, 20 minutes to play a match. You can play multiple matches in a day, multiple opponents in a day, and that doesn’t take forever.”
Galgerud discovered pickleball by chance.
“About two years ago, my fiance [Amy Rinowski] and I were working out at the Papillion Landing,” he said. “I’m watching these people play on the gym floor; I didn’t know what the sport was—it’s not tennis, it’s not badminton, it’s not ping-pong—it’s something else. This gentleman waved me in to come and try it…I was hooked from day one.”
“I struck up a conversation, explained the basics, got him a spare racket, and it’s been off to the races since,” said George Quaiver, the pickleball player whose friendly enthusiasm brought Galgerud to the court for the first time. “Tom has entered numerous tournament competitions to get points and keeps improving and increasing his skill rating.”
Galgerud, a natural, is ascending the player ranks quickly.
“There are different levels in pickleball, and you kind of work your way up. I played my first competitive tournament a year ago July (2022 Cornhusker State Games). I wasn’t sure what level to enter because I’d never played a tournament before, and so I entered the 3.5 level, and we won the gold medal,” Galgerud said. “I moved up to the 4.0 level, and I’ve been playing that most of the last year. And now I’m just moving into the 4.5 [level].”
Galgerud said he hoped to repeat gold at the State Games this summer. He won in mixed doubles and men’s doubles at the World Pickleball Tour Kansas City Challenger in late May.
“I have different partners from tournament to tournament. And that particular tournament, I played mixed doubles with a gal that I’d never met before from Kearney,” Galgerud said. “I like the social aspect of pickleball. You get to meet so many new people.”
The pickleball community is well-connected virtually, too. Galgerud said he can schedule games via an app anywhere he’s traveling—the lightweight equipment is easy to bring along—and pickleball is played all around the Omaha metro area, with details online and on social media.
Pickleball is typically described as a hybrid of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton. It’s played on a smaller court than tennis or badminton, meaning less running, which is appealing to a wider age range and to people with varying levels of fitness. However, Galgerud said, “It’s a great way to exercise,” especially for players who take on several consecutive matches in a day like he’s apt to do so.
Galgerud has found another benefit of pickleball: meeting potential new customers for his business, which focuses on residential work. Over his 30 years in business, he’s built Monarch’s reputation and has received many positive customer reviews online, as well as the Integrity Award from the Better Business Bureau.
“I chose Monarch to replace the roof on my house, in part because [Galgerud’s] business has been there as long as I have lived in Papillion, and I have had numerous neighbors use his services,” Quaiver said. “Tom also has a great crew working at the office for him while he’s out pickleballing.”