The newsLINK Group - Pickleball

Editorial Library Category: Health Topics: Pickleball Title: Pickleball Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Good family games are challenging to create. They need to be fun, because there’s no point in playing if they aren’t fun. They should also be challenging, because part of the fun is competing against other players, and if it’s too easy then players lose interest. Editorial: Pickleball 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Good family games are challenging to create. They need to be fun, because there’s no point in playing if they aren’t fun. They should also be challenging, because part of the fun is competing against other players, and if it’s too easy then players lose interest. But they can’t be too hard to play, or it becomes difficult to talk people into learning the rules. That’s why there are so few good family games around. Pickleball is one of them. Two families came up with Pickleball in the mid-1960s on Bainbridge Island, which is close to Seattle, Washington. We don’t know for sure which year it was. It could have been 1963, 1965, or 1966, depending on the source. Joel Pritchard had a home there. He and his friend William Bell got together one summer day for a game of golf, but they promised the children they would come home and help them find something fun to do. The golf game lasted longer than it was supposed to, though, so when they finally got back to Joel Pritchard’s home, they were greeted by bored, restless, unhappy children who wanted the two men to make good on their promise. The men got busy rounding up what they thought might work for an afternoon’s entertainment. The home had a badminton court. They thought maybe they could get the children busy playing badminton, but the shuttlecock was lost. Instead, they lowered the nets to about the height of a tennis-court net. They tried table-tennis paddles, but the paddles were too small. They quickly made a couple of paddles out of plywood to use instead. They still needed a ball, though. Just about then, a neighbor named Dick Greene stopped by with a plastic bat and a whiffle ball. They borrowed the ball. The next step was getting children onto the court with the paddles and the ball, where they could begin hitting the ball back and forth. The children had a great time. This was obviously a game that had some potential. Everyone was interested in keeping it going. There were no rules at first, but everyone liked the basic idea — after all, swatting a waffle ball back and forth across a net is not a hard thing to do. The rules they came up with over the next few days were not that complicated, either. The next weekend, they wrote down the first official rules with their friend Barney McCallum. The rules were loosely based on the rules for badminton, but there are also elements from tennis and ping-pong. The game began to spread. Friends and neighbors were curious to see what was going on; before long, they were using wood jigsaws and marine plywood to create their own new paddles. People who had badminton courts used them. Those without courts took chalk and drew courts on their driveways and in their backyards. Children enjoyed the game, but so did adults. The game’s name probably came from Joan Pritchard, who was a competitive rower. She used to call the slowest boat in a race the “pickle boat.” Later on, after the game had been around for a couple of years, the family named their dog Pickles. Although some people have suggested the game was named after the dog, the dog was actually named after the game. However, there are quite a few written sources that got this part of the story wrong. In 1967, Joel Pritchard (who was a Republican politician) built an actual pickleball court on the site of the badminton court. Some people followed his example, and others made use of basketball courts and volleyball courts. The game could be played indoors or outdoors; the only real requirement was a hard surface. By 1972, the game was still popular, and people wanted balls, nets, paddles, and other gear in order to play. The three men (Bell, Pritchard, and McCallum) decided to copyright the rules and incorporate. They started the U.S. Pickleball Association. Articles about the new sport were published in The National Observer in 1975 and Tennis magazine 1976. In 1976, people played the first Pickleball tournament at South Center Athletic Club, which is located in Tukwila, Washington. An

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