Pickleball – the ‘new kid on the block’

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/12/2021 (405 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Last summer a member of our Dakota Community Centre, Kevin Brown, suggested
I write a column in The Lance about a popular game called pickleball.

“It’s universal,” he said, “and Snowbirds play it down south.”

Pickleball is reputed to be the fastest-growing sport in North America. Take a bow, pickleball – you’re the “new kid on the block.” The Internet offers a great explanation about its origin and name but no, there is no pickle in Pickleball!

Dreamstime.com A pickleball paddle and ball, pictured on an outdoor court.

Briefly: three golfers in the northwestern United States devised this hybrid sport using simple materials on hand just to have some relaxing fun with family and friends. It is based on elements of tennis, ping pong, and badminton. The court is medium-sized and the game can be played by young and old and those between. A large paddle or bat and a plastic ball the size of a tennis ball — with larger holes for indoors and smaller holes for outdoors to counteract winds —completes the equipment list.

To get a credible story, I started at Dakota, where Jared Neufeld, manager of the fitness, sports and recreation department, escorted me to the upper fieldhouse floor to view the pickleball games being played below. He also gave me a pamphlet delineating the rules and particulars about the game.

Furthermore, I solicited a report from Sarah, a teacher friend of my family in Toronto. She plays twice a week at the North Toronto Community Centre and said, “Players, beware — pickleball is addictive and contagious!

“You learn and love the game immediately and want to play more. I brought the game to my elementary class and got the same reaction.”

Sarah said pickleball works on her balance, hand-eye co-ordination and reflexes.

“I love the sport because players are diverse in age, gender and athletic ability. Everyone is welcome, and you make new friends.”

The last word goes to Michele Augert, the congenial president and CEO at Dakota Community Centre.

“Having 12 hardwood pickleball courts available for all levels of play has made the Dakota fieldhouse one of the most coveted places to play in our province and has helped boost the sport of pickleball in southeast Winnipeg,” she said.

“We’re glad to see so many returning players and new faces playing pickleball after the closures and restrictions of the pandemic.

“This centre provides options for people of all ages and abilities to gather and play the games they love. It makes for a healthier, more vibrant and engaged community — which has never been more important than it is today.”

Amen to that. And Happy new year!

Anne Yanchyshyn is a community correspondent for St. Vital. Email her at acy@mymts.net

Anne Yanchyshyn

Anne Yanchyshyn
St. Vital community correspondent

Anne Yanchyshyn is a community correspondent for St. Vital.

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