Over the last five years or so, retirees who winter in the south have been bringing a new sport back home with them. It’s called “PICKLEBALL”
Pickleball is a unique activity for all ages. Similar to many other racquet games such as badminton, tennis, racquetball, and table tennis, Pickleball is played on a court about one-third the size of a tennis court. It is played indoors and out, requires very little in expense or equipment, and is great for those who have a few aches and pains from years of tennis, racquetball or squash.
Pickleball began in Seattle, Washington, about twenty years ago when the inventor was looking for something for his family to do on a slow Saturday afternoon. He went out to the garage, found a couple of badminton racquets and sawed off the handles, put up the badminton net; and, searched for some kind of ball to hit around. What he found was a Whiffle Ball, which belonged to his dog. It worked great, and the family was immediately amused and interested. Only problem: the dog didn’t like the idea. Every time the ball left the court, the dog stole it back and tried to hide with it. The dog’s name? Why, “Pickles”, of course. Thus, the name of the new game, “Pickleball”.
Over the years, Pickleball has been refined and fine tuned. Today it is a full-fledged activity which is regularly played in more than 38 locations across Minnesota. The most interest has been generated by city, community and county park and recreation departments responding to citizen interest. For most communities, there are usually a number of tennis courts or basketball courts that simply go under- or un-used. The cost to ‘adapt’ them to Pickleball is minimal: some additional striping of the court, and the addition of a portable net to a basketball court, and that’s about it. The players need a paddle (which run between $15 and $55), and a few Pickleball balls (a couple dollars each). That’s it. Rules and videos are readily available on the Internet. A little bit of practice and you have a new, fun activity in town.
There are a number of resources available if you are interested in bringing Pickleball to your community. A local venue is the website: MinnesotaPickleball.com. It has a growing amount of information, a directory of places to play, and links to videos and other informational resources.
If you are looking for a great way to stay active without a lot of exertion or expense, and would like to form new friendships, Pickleball just may be an option for you.