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That’s the question I asked myself every time I rode past the tennis and pickleball courts in my new home development at Arbor Creek in Southport, North Carolina. The first few weeks I had been too busy unpacking boxes to join in the fun, but a friend (who plays twice a week) said,”Joe, you may love the game because you already love tennis, racquetball, and ping-pong.”
The game is a combo of four actions. The paddle, made from graphite or wood, is bigger than a ping-pong paddle, and shorter a racquetball racquet. It’s lighter than a badminton racquet. The”kitchen” is seven 7 feet long starting from the net and twenty feet wide. The kitchen is a safety where you cannot slam the ball in someone’s face. If the ball lands in the kitchen, you must allow the ball bounce once to keep the volley going. (Pun intended.)
The official pickleball court is a rectangle with dimensions equal to 20 feet wide by 44 feet long (inclusive of lines) for both singles and doubles. The non-volley line is the line on both sides of the internet between the sidelines and parallel to the internet. These lines are located 7 feet from the internet.
You must serve the ball beyond the kitchen and property in the bounds of the rectangle to continue play. The machine only gets one serve if the ball goes out of play. Then the next player on the same team serves. You can’t score unless you have the serve. We play with 7 or 11 points win, and you need to win by 2 points.
Wiffle balls come in four colour from yellow to white. The lightweight paddles allow you to set spins on the plastic ball by clipping at it. The ball bounces reasonably high, and it can’t be hit a fly the first time it is served during a round of play. A word of warning: do not back-pedal for a ball hit high over your head. Turn around quickly, dash into the ball with short steps, and hit it, or simply let it fall in. No hit ball is ever worth crashing on green-colored asphalt. I have crashed 5 times on the floor before I learned to play the ball safer, and to wear sneakers which were right for me. I have not fallen in many months, knock on flake-board.
The beauty of pickleball is not that it is called”pickleball” and allegedly named after a dog called”Pickle.” According to legend, Congressman Joel Pritchard invented the game in 1965 on Bainbridge Island just to keep the kids busy on a summer day. In fact, the dog was named after the game was invented. Now it is the hottest sport sweeping across America, played indoors or outside by over 2,000,000 players in retirement community centers, physical education courses, and YMCA groups.
Why can it be sweeping the country beyond the good cheer it provides for its members? Many retirees are leaping out of the comfort zone (the living room recliner or porch rocker) to play outside with their neighbors and friends at a challenging game of skills and wits in sunlight. Are they out for blood? No. They only want to play their best, listen to the chatter of friends, get a little sunshine, exercise, and an outstanding paddle shot to recall. Is music to the ears of these players.

What is Pickleball?

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