Amidst the sun-soaked courts and the rhythmic ‘pop’ of paddle meeting plastic, a revolution is rapidly taking place in the world of racket sports. Enter: Pickleball
Pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington, by two friends, Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell. The story goes that on a lazy summer afternoon, these friends were looking for a way to entertain their kids. They improvised a game by using ping-pong paddles, a badminton net, and a plastic ball. They lowered the net, established rules, and thus, Pickleball was born.
There are two versions of how the game got its name – the first credits the name to the term used for the thrown-together leftover non-starters in the “pickle boat” of rowing races. The second is attributed to the Pritchard family’s dog, Pickles, who would chase after the ball during their matches. Whatever the origin of the name, one thing everybody can agree on is that the Pickleball craze is sweeping the country.
Local Pickleball enthusiast, Shawn Moorman, says “Pickleball has steadily grown since its invention, but a crazy, unprecedented explosion occurred during the pandemic.” It is estimated that 48.3 million U.S. adults (19% of the adult population) have played at least one game in the last 12 months.
Moorman says that one of the reasons that Pickleball is so popular is that it’s easy to learn and it gives folks a chance to get together – to “socialize and build community.” And best of all, Pickleball is accessible to all ages. “Pickleball is a wonderful alternative for older players who used to play tennis but are looking for something that puts less stress on the body.” But Pickleball is not just for older folks; the game is also exploding across college campuses.
Pickleball has become an international sport with a Pro circuit and formal governing bodies. Many local towns host tournaments – including Broadway. At the community level there is friendly competition every time they get together.
The Broadway Pickleball courts were built in 2022 and usage has been growing ever since. The Broadway Pickleball community brings together players of all levels creating opportunities to play and make new friends.
Moorman adds “We are not a league or club but rather just a bunch of folks that love to play Pickleball and make new friends. We are not formally affiliated with the Town of Broadway, but we do work closely w/ the Town Council on all Pickleball related efforts.”
Equipment and free lessons are available. For more information, email Bwaypickle@gmail.com or call 305-335-9054