By Arnie Leshin
Back in the day, there were cute jingles and I do remember one. It was simply “My mother gave me a nickel to buy a pickle, but I didn’t buy a pickle, I bought some chewing gum.”
Now a days I haven’t eaten many pickles or chewed much gum, but I do get confused when I hear these words “Millions relishing pickleball.”
Does this mean that there’s a sport out there that I even recently watched on TV? There it was on the tubes, a coed match, an all-women’s match, and an all-men’s match. There were no pickle or gum commercials, just a look at what appeared on the screen.
Now in many parts of the country, spring is starting to bloom, June will soon be busting out all over. It’s a great time of year to meet a friend or family member for a hike, walk, swim, bus ride, round of golf or tennis match.
That sounds nice, but it’s also confusing. To hear that if you’re looking for a new activity, give pickleball a try, and then it adds that the sport began as a family activity in the mid-60s.
Really, well in the mid-60s I was in my fourth decade, I was also serving in Vietnam, so maybe it slipped by me. I assume I was just too busy to get into pickleball. I can’t recall it, never heard it discussed, and now it pops up, and the word is that it’s growing in popularity now.
They really pile it on. There is minimal equipment to buy, games can be played at outdoor or indoor tennis courts, and virtually everyone can play. Really, does that mean infants and senior citizens can play?
Whatever, I hear that pickleball is a marvelous exercise, and the small court makes it easy to maintain a rally. Then, after you get the hang of it, you can even strike up some conversations with other players on the court, except I can’t picture infants or senior citizens doing this.
Now they say it definitely has appeal, that is feels more laid back than tennis and makes for an enjoyable time without being more overly competitive.
Here you go, the basics and the rules.
The Basics: Pickleball combines elements of badminton, table tennis and tennis. Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or high- tech aerospace materials to hit a ball — similar to smaller than a whiffle ball — over a net. Pickleball shares features of other racket sports, the dimensions and layout of a badminton court, and a net and rules similar to tennis.
The Rules: Singles and doubles contests are similar, too. Pickleball games are usually played to either 11 or 15 points, with the winner needing to be ahead by at least two points. Serves are underhand, done crosscourt, and must bounce. The receiving team returns it after one bounce, then the teams rally,
But none of this is easy, and add to this that there is definitely a learning curve
with pickleball. You might have problems figuring out how high the ball would bounce since it is less bouncy than a tennis ball or table tennis ball.
The size of the court is 20×44 measured in feet, the 36 height of the net in inches is on either side and dipping it to 34 inches in the middle.
it’s been said that from around 2000 to now, there has been an increase of 21.3% in the number of Americans playing pickleball, with millions relishing it. And believe this if you want, it has been some 60 years since the first game of pickleball was played in Bainbridge Island in the state of Washington. And I wonder how it all got past me.
That’s it. I’m not about to share this old sport that I never heard of, but anyone else can, and to learn more about this “popular” activity, go to usapickleball.org. Again, for anybody who cares, it’s usapickleball.org.
And if you check your television schedule or learn its being played nearby, it’s your choice to follow pickleball.