WASHINGTON, July 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — D.C. Pickleball Team (DCPT), an expansion team of Major League Pickleball (MLP) and D.C.’s newest professional sports team, announced the addition of Pro Bowler and Super Bowl Champion Cliff Avril to its ownership group.
Avril joins an already high-profile group of investors with DCPT that includes Al Tylis, Sam Porter, Eva Longoria, Justin Verlander, Kate Upton, Rip Hamilton, Shawn Marion, Odell Beckham Jr. and Mesut Ozil.
“Cliff’s passion for playing and growing the sport of pickleball aligns perfectly with the ethos of our team,” said Adam Behnke, Chief Operating Officer of D.C. Pickleball Team. “We’re looking forward to working together to continue to bring positivity to our community through pickleball.”
Avril recently started playing pickleball and quickly fell in love with the sport for all the reasons pickleball is adored by so many – the community, the camaraderie, the competition, the fitness, and the pure fun and joy it brings to all who play.
“Since I stepped foot on the pickleball court I knew there was something special about it,” said Avril. “I was immediately curious about how I could get involved and was thrilled to learn of the opportunity to join D.C. Pickleball Team’s ownership group. I love nothing more than making a positive impact through sport and I appreciate that our group shares that passion.”
Avril is a former NFL Pro Bowler and Super Bowl Champion. He played for the Detroit Lions (2008-2012) and Seattle Seahawks (2013-2017) during his ten year career. He was drafted by the Lions in the 2008 NFL Draft after playing collegiately at Purdue University.
For more information about D.C. Pickleball Team, visit dcpickleballteam.com and follow them on social media:
About D.C. Pickleball Team:
D.C. Pickleball Team (DCPT) is DC’s first professional pickleball team in Major League Pickleball (MLP) that joined MLP ahead of the 2023 season that began January 26th. DCPT’s ownership group includes Al Tylis, Sam Porter, Eva Longoria, Justin Verlander, Kate Upton, Rip Hamilton, Shawn Marion, Odell Beckham Jr., Cliff Avril and Mesut Ozil.
DCPT played in the MLP Challenger Level in season one and will play in the Premier Level in season two. The year is divided into two “seasons” of three events — in the first season, 12 teams will compete in the MLP Premier Level (the first 48 drafted players) and 12 will compete in the MLP Challenger Level (the next 48 drafted players), with rosters consisting of two men and two women. The teams will then flip levels and re-draft players for the second season that starts September 21st. Season one’s Challenger Level roster included Sam Querrey, 10-time ATP Tour titleist and ranked 11th in the world in 2018; Stefan Auvergne, an exciting new player from France and a former competitive tennis player, competitive gamer and race car driver; Shelby Bates, former D1 tennis player at Coastal Carolina University; and Judit Castillo, former D1 tennis player at Northwestern State University. Season two’s Premier Level roster includes Riley Newman, world ranked #2 in pickleball; twin sisters, Jackie and Jade Kawamoto, former D1 tennis players at the University of Dayton; and Christian Alshon, former University of Chicago tennis champion where he was team captain and undefeated in singles.
About Major League Pickleball (MLP by Margaritaville)
Major League Pickleball (MLP by Margaritaville) is the premier team-based professional pickleball league and the standard-bearer for the fastest-growing sport in the United States. Founded by Steve Kuhn in 2021, MLP has since expanded from eight to 24 teams and is committed to growing the sport’s role in society and impacting every facet of pickleball’s business.
MLP features nearly 100 of the best athletes in the sport spread across 24 teams – 12 in the Premier Level, home to the top 48 players drafted and 12 in the Challenger Level, featuring 48 draftees looking to make their ascension to the top of the league – a unique coed format, iconic team owners, the introduction of promotion and relegation to American pro sports, an innovative draft format, easy to understand scoring, and the largest payouts in prize money across all of pro pickleball.
In December 2022, MLP named its first-ever title sponsor, Margaritaville, branding the league MLP by Margaritaville. A global lifestyle brand inspired by Jimmy Buffett, Margaritaville, has served more than 20 million travelers and consumers every year to change their latitude and attitude with Margaritaville. For more information, visit www.margaritaville.com.
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SOURCE D.C. Pickleball Team
The Return of the Giant Pandas: A Symbol of Renewed Diplomacy Between China and the United States
China’s plan to send a new pair of giant pandas to the San Diego Zoo signifies a renewed era of wildlife diplomacy and friendship with the United States.
In a gesture reflecting the enduring bond between China and the United States, the China Wildlife Conservation Association has announced plans to send a new pair of giant pandas to the San Diego Zoo. This move marks a significant renewal of friendship after the recall of iconic bears on loan to U.S. zoos amid strained relations between the two nations.
The recent signing of cooperation agreements with zoos in San Diego and Madrid, along with ongoing discussions with zoos in Washington, D.C., and Vienna, underscores a fresh round of collaboration on panda conservation. This initiative not only highlights the importance of protecting these beloved creatures but also serves as a symbol of unity and shared commitment to wildlife preservation.
San Diego Zoo officials have expressed great anticipation for the arrival of the two pandas, a male and a female, expected to reach the zoo by the end of summer. Megan Owen, Vice President of Wildlife Conservation Science at the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, shared her excitement, stating, “They’ve expressed a tremendous amount of enthusiasm to re-initiate panda cooperation starting with the San Diego Zoo.”
As these gentle giants prepare to make their return to the San Diego Zoo, the significance of this gesture extends beyond conservation efforts. It serves as a testament to the power of wildlife diplomacy in fostering understanding and goodwill between nations, transcending political differences to focus on shared values and a common goal of protecting our planet’s biodiversity.
The upcoming arrival of the giant pandas symbolizes a renewed era of collaboration, friendship, and hope for a future where conservation efforts transcend borders and unite us in our shared responsibility to safeguard the natural world.
Source: Associated Press
Unlocking the Next Frontier: Odysseus Lunar Lander’s Historic Mission
“Odysseus lunar lander aims to make history with first U.S. spacecraft touchdown on moon in 50 years. A testament to human ambition and innovation.”
In the vast expanse of space, where dreams of exploration meet the harsh realities of technology and finance, Thursday marks a potential landmark moment in the annals of space exploration. The Odysseus lunar lander, a testament to human ingenuity and perseverance, stands on the precipice of making history as it aims to achieve what no U.S.-made spacecraft has done in five decades: a controlled touchdown on the lunar surface.
After a breathtaking lift-off from Florida, Odysseus embarked on its journey towards the moon, capturing awe-inspiring images of our planet Earth along the way. Now, as it hurtles closer to its destination, the anticipation mounts for what could be the most perilous test yet – a soft landing on the moon’s surface.
Intuitive Machines, the pioneering force behind Odysseus, dares to tread where no private company has ventured before. If successful, this endeavor would mark the resurgence of American-made spacecraft landing on the moon since the final Apollo mission in 1972.
However, the road to lunar exploration is fraught with challenges, both technical and financial. While the Apollo program once commanded a budget exceeding 4% of all U.S. government spending, today’s NASA operates on a fraction of that, a mere 0.4%. To stretch resources further, NASA has turned to outsourcing robotic lunar landings to commercial entities like Intuitive Machines, aiming to achieve ambitious goals like the Artemis program’s lunar return with reduced costs.
But cost isn’t the only hurdle. The technical feat of landing a spacecraft precisely on a celestial body a quarter of a million miles away is akin to hitting a golf ball from New York to Los Angeles and landing it in a specific hole – a daunting task even with today’s advanced technology. Compounding the challenge is the time delay of roughly three seconds for signals to travel between Earth and the moon, leaving little room for error during critical maneuvers.
Moreover, the legacy of Apollo-era expertise has waned over the decades, leaving a gap that new technology alone cannot bridge. As Dr. Scott Pace of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute aptly notes, “These are people doing it for the first time, and there’s no substitute for that experience.”
Yet, amidst these challenges, there’s an undeniable sense of optimism and determination. As Lisa Altemus of Intuitive Machines emphasizes, success in lunar exploration requires collective resilience, collaboration, and a willingness to learn from failures. It heralds not just a scientific achievement but the dawn of a new era – an emerging lunar economy where the moon’s resources could unlock boundless opportunities for humanity.
If Odysseus achieves its mission, it will not only mark the first U.S. spacecraft landing on the moon in half a century but also pave the way for future lunar endeavors, including the exploration of the moon’s south pole, a region rich in potential resources like ice and water.
As we stand on the brink of this historic moment, let us marvel at the audacity of human ambition, the tenacity of scientific endeavor, and the boundless possibilities that lie beyond Earth’s confines. The journey to the moon may be fraught with challenges, but with each step, we inch closer to unlocking the mysteries of our celestial neighbor and forging a new chapter in the saga of space exploration.
NASA Astronaut Available for Interviews Prior to Space Station Mission
NASA astronaut Tracy C. Dyson is available in limited opportunities to discuss her mission beginning at 8 a.m. EST on Monday, Feb. 26. The interviews will take place ahead of Dyson launching to the International Space Station in March.
Interested media must submit a request to speak with Dyson no later than 12 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23, to the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston newsroom at 281-483-5111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dyson is scheduled to launch aboard the Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft Thursday, March 21, and will spend approximately six months aboard the space station. She will travel to the station with Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and spaceflight participant Marina Vasilevskaya of Belarus, both of whom will spend approximately 12 days aboard the orbital complex.
During her expedition, Dyson will conduct scientific investigations and technology demonstrations that help prepare humans for future space missions and benefit people on Earth. Among some of the hundreds of experiments ongoing during her mission, Dyson will continue to study how fire spreads and behaves in space with the Combustion Integrated Rack, as well as contribute to the long-running Crew Earth Observations study by photographing Earth to better understand how our planet is changing over time.
After completing her expedition, Dyson will return to Earth this fall with Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub on the Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft.
Learn more about International Space Station research and operations at:
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