|Photo by Dick Bevevino|
Anthem Community Park
It started as a way for a family to lower the boredom factor for their children while on vacation. That was in the 1960's. Now it's a sport for all age groups, including the 80-year-old who beats some of us every time he walks onto the court. And then there are the six and seven-year-olds who learned to serve the ball after two times out with their grandparents. Plus, it is a growing middle-school extracurricular activity and has been added to the high-school phys. ed. curriculum in many schools. The USA Pickleball Association promotes the sport through its 1000+ volunteers who are ambassadors throughout the world; they recruit and teach all age groups to play
If you've played tennis, handball, racquetball, table tennis or badminton, you have an advantage. But many of us have never played any sport and yet have learned because of so many willing people on the courts. Local YMCAs have added pickleball, and many municipal parks and recreation departments have converted tennis courts to pickleball across the country. Leslee Komaiko of the LA Times calls the sport "beginner friendly"("Pickleball: a little bit ping-pong, a little bit badminton, a lot of momentum," August 8, 2015).
Interested? Start by yourself. There will be plenty of people waiting to help you. Or take a friend or family member. Children, tweens and teens, adults, and people in their 70s, 80s, 90s can play. Go to USAPA.org and search "Places to Play." For example there are 84 places and contact people listed for PA and many that aren't listed, like the Edinboro, PA, YMCA and Warren, PA, YMCA. Texas lists 121 places to play, and Kentucky has 20 although cities like Richmond aren't yet on the list. Florida has 320, and Ontario has 155. Canadian sites are listed by provinces, and international sites are listed in 10 countries. places to play pickleball