Though many of us have never heard of it before, the sport of pickleball is one of the fastest growing in North America.
Ideally suited for the younger senior, age 55 plus, it is also a BC 55 Plus Games sport. With those Games scheduled to come to Kimberley Cranbrook in 2017, Suzanne McAllister thinks this would be an ideal time to introduce the sport to Kimberley seniors.
Pickleball is a racquet sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. Two, three, or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, similar to a wiffle ball, over a net. The sport shares features of other racquet sports, the dimensions and layout of a badminton court, and a net and rules similar to tennis, with a few modifications. Pickleball was invented in the mid 1960s as a children’s backyard pastime but quickly became popular among adults as a fun game for players of all levels.
In a visit to Kimberley City council, McAllister reported that at the 2011 Senior Games, there were 76 players, at the 2012 Games there were 102, in 2013, 156 and by 2014, 216 people participated in Pickleball at the BC Senior Games.
McAllister would like to start a league in Kimberley at Centennial Hall. While a gym with badminton court lines would be ideal, they are not available during the day, when McAllister hopes to entice seniors to give the game a try.
There is a little seed money to get started thanks to the Winter Games Legacy Fund and the BC Senor games Committee.
The plan is to begin with Wednesday mornings from 9 to 11 a.m. and add days if there is sufficient interest.