This post was originally published by Alicia Luciani on May 4, 2017.
“I’m sorry, did I hear that correctly? You drove 100 kilometers to play a Pickleball game!?” — My reaction to a conversation with a Pickleball player
A few months ago, after learning about the EXPLOSION of this sport called Pickleball, and the lengths people were going to play this game — literally driving 100 km — James and I, co-founders of OpenSports, ventured out into the streets (buildings) of Toronto to try it ourselves.
I had done my fair share of research about Pickleball prior to going, but I am always nervous to try a new sport. Upon entry into the gym at the Miles Nadal JCC in Toronto, I initially observed that there was one court in use, and about a dozen players, most of who were two generations older than us!
We were embraced with a warm friendliness and within 10 minutes, we were on the court, playing. We picked up the sport pretty quickly, thanks to the patience of the “regulars” who taught us the simple rules. After a few misses — poor hand-eye coordination due to my lack of racquet sports experience — I was hitting the ball over the net, and joyfully participating in lengthy rallies. Not only was it fun, it involved some ballistic movement, agility, and strategy. Concentrating on my positioning was a mental challenge that I was eager for early in the morning. And whoa — the regular players were GOOD.
The popularity of Pickleball is really being driven by seniors. But, that’s just because they found it first. Pickeball is fun and easy to learn. Many former tennis players find Pickleball a good “step-down” sport when tennis becomes too demanding or they want to play in a more recreational manner. Some clubs like the Kitchener-Waterloo (K-W) Badminton Club are even offering the sport to kids, through generous government grants.
I have to admit, I think it is only a matter of time before Pickleball takes off among the younger generation.
We also love that this sport is pretty “green” in that it takes advantage of pre-existing spaces, by retrofitting tennis courts so that there’s no need to build new Pickleball courts.
We want to end this post with this inspirational video from I ❤ Pickleball. It really showcases how this sport is for all ages and can bring communities together.
As for driving 100km to play sports? Our dream, with all sports and recreational players, is that on any day of the week, you will have more than one option to play what you love, locally!
Alicia, and the OpenSports Team ❤