Sunday, September 2, 2018

Pickleball Comes to 12534

If you're like me (or me until a few days ago), you've never heard of pickleball, but according to AARP and NBC news, it's the fastest growing sport in America and, also according to AARP, "new research confirms [it] improves fitness and lowers risk of depression": "Play Pickleball for Health Benefits."

Mike Fritsch|WBOI
The game, which is a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, was invented in 1965 in Bainbridge Island, Washington, by three fathers--Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum--when their children wanted to play badminton but couldn't find a shuttlecock. Showing great resourcefulness, they lowered the badminton net and crafted makeshift paddles out of materials found in the garage to hit a wiffle ball back and forth over the net. 

There are two explanations of why the game is called pickleball. A popular one is that it was named after the Pritchard's dog, Pickles, who would chase the ball and often run off with it. The other, according to Joan Pritchard, is that "the combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of the other boats."

Pickleball gained favor first in such places as Arizona and Florida. The retirement community called The Villages in Orlando is said to be the "Pickleball Capital of the World." The game's popularity, however, is spreading to other parts of the country, including the Northeast. The reason I devote this post to pickleball is that, during the ongoing site plan review of The Falls by the Greenport Planning Board last week, a revision to the original plans for outdoor recreational facilities was revealed. In response to requests from residents, instead of tennis courts on the grounds, there will be pickleball courts.

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