What do you get when you take an old badminton court, improvised badminton racquets and a perforated plastic ball? Pickleball!
At least that’s what happened back in 1965 when Joel Pritchard, a Washington State congressman along with friend and successful businessman, Bill Bell, brought all that together to come up with a game for their families to play one weekend. After tinkering with net height and crafting different paddles, the game took on a life of its own and soon Pickleball was taking off.
Fast forward some 40 years and you find that pickleball is more popular than ever. Our newest preserves to jump on the pickleball bandwagon are Florida’s Three Flags and Orlando preserves as both locations now have pickleball courts. And don’t forget that the courts at Oregon’s Seaside preserve are host to a pickleball tournament each September that is sanctioned by the USA Pickleball Association.
The game, which is a cross between tennis and ping-pong, is actually easy to learn but the fast-paced action has made it a favorite among tournament sport events. Other preserves that offer pickleball include Verde Valley in Arizona; California’s Lake Minden, Oakzanita Springs, Palm Springs, Pio Pico, Rancho Oso, Snowflower, Soledad Canyon and Wilderness Lakes; St. Clair in Michigan, Ohio’s Kenisee Lake, Oregon’s Bend/Sunriver, Pacific City, South Jetty and Whalers Rest; Bay Landing, Colorado River, Lake Conroe, Lake Tawakoni, Lake Texoma and Lake Whitney in Texas; Chesapeake Bay, Lynchburg and Williamsburg in Virginia; and Washington’s Chehalis, Crescent Bar, La Conner, Leavenworth, Mount Vernon, and Paradise.
Oh, and that plastic ball the gentlemen first used – the story goes it belonged to the family dog, Pickles!
To learn more about pickleball, visit www.usapa.org.