Pickleball. It’s a real thing. And if you haven’t heard of it, you might want to get yourself up to the new Pine Ridge pickleball courts to see it for yourself.
Pickleball looks kind of like tennis, with a court setup similar to its cousin. It uses rackets that look more like giant ping pong paddles and a wiffle ball. It has been described as a combination of badminton, tennis and table tennis.
“It appeals more to people starting to get a bit older,” explained pickleball enthusiast John Hague. “It’s one of those things you don’t have to move around as much.”
Pickleball came to the Valley three or four years ago, Mr. Hague recollected, when a fellow tennis player and seasonal resident brought a pickleball net to town. They started setting up the net at the Mt. Nelson tennis courts and drawing chalk lines for the smaller court size.
The list of local players has grown bigger over the years and the email list is now up to about 40 people. The players have recently moved their games up to the Pine Ridge courts. Mr. Hague said the new courts at Pine Ridge are fantastic, with super views for a rousing round of this ever-growing sport. All the players are very grateful to the developers for building these publicly-accessible, free courts.
On a typical Thursday morning recently, eight players were at the sun-splashed courts. Shouts of the score rung out amidst the slap of paddles and light-hearted ribbing across the nets. Players admitted this was a small morning turnout, probably due to the smoke or the proximity to the long weekend. Often, they affirmed, there can be 12 playing and a few more waiting on the sidelines.
Lorraine Bladon was one such player last week. She has been playing the sport for six years.
“I play tennis as well,” shared Ms. Bladon. “For older people, this is a little easier. The court is smaller.”
There are also no overhand swings so for anyone with shoulder issues, it is easier on the body while still getting a good workout in. Ms. Bladon said aside from the fitness aspect, there is great camaraderie and fun in the game.
Anyone is welcome to come try out pickleball. Wear a good pair of running shoes and come to the Pine Ridge courts Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. The club has extra paddles to loan out.
They will also be holding a one-day tournament Saturday, September 23rd. For more information, contact John Hague at 250-347-9877.