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Apr 23, 2013
06:00 AM

Pickleball: It's a Thing

Pickleball: It's a Thing


Pickleball paddles and balls

At the office, we're in the throes of sending the May issue of MetroKids to the printer. So with little time to blog I thought I'd share some info about a sport I'd never heard of until a fun dinner this past weekend, when a friend told us she'd recently taken a class on vacation to learn how to play it. 


This surprisingly old racket sport (it was invented back in 1965) is a hybrid of tennis, badminton and racquetball. It takes place on a shrunken tennis-type court equipped with a low net and is played with unusual boxy wood/graphite paddles and wiffle-like plastic balls. Creators Joel Pritchard, a Washington State congressman, and his friend Bill Bell came up with the idea after monkeying around on a badminton court. The nascent game was soon named for Pritchard's dog Pickles, a cocker spaniel who showed plenty of interest chasing after the new breed of ball. 

Since its founding, Pickleball has quietly become popular with adults and kids alike; the miniaturized court is a boon to those who like to swing a racket yet cover less ground than that required by a typical tennis court. There are at least two Pickleball meetup groups in Philly as well as a Delaware Pickleball Association. In South Jersey, it's offered at such area fitness clubs as the Cherry Hill Racquet ClubLike tennis, ping pong and other more venerable racket sports, it can be played as a singles or doubles game, so there's tons of friendly competition inherent in a Pickleball game. Do you play? Share your Pickleball experiences below.

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