Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ever Heard of Pickle-Ball?

What a glorious new day to play a little Pickle-Ball. At the end of this street are a couple of Pickle-Ball courts as well as a couple of tennis courts... and I have been playing Pickle-Ball almost every day since arriving here.  It has become my holiday substitute for walking or jogging.

As another day begins the clouds are painted with sunlight and the palm trees look pretty good in  silhouette.  You can't tell in this picture that most of the palm frawns are brown, killed by a previous cold snap here.  But new leaves are coming out of the very top, so most of the trees look like they will recover.

Wow, this looks like another really good day to play a little Pickle-Ball.  Since it happens outdoors here, the wind can become a major factor if it gusts  very much.

Here at the Rincon Country East RV Resort where Lorne and Gail spend most of the winter, the popularity of Pickle-Ball has far surpassed tennis.  Never heard of Pickle-Ball before?  Me neither.  It combines the best of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong.

The game is played with a paddle just slightly larger than a ping-pong paddle... and the ball is a hard plastic wiffle ball, which is a tiny bit bigger than a tennis ball, but with holes and it is very light.

The court is the same size as a badminton court, with the net set at 36 inches high.  It seems to appeal to the more senior population and is steadily gaining momentum.  I have not seen anyone use any of the tennis courts here... but there is a growing number of guys who come out here every morning and play between 8 and 11 AM.  Some of the guys are in their 80's and it is amazing to see them so active and having fun.

This game was invented on Bainbridge Island in 1965.  Joel Pritchard, a US senator and Bill Bell, a successful businessman, came home after golfing one Saturday afternoon and their families were sitting around complaining there was nothing to do.  So they looked around for some sports equipment.

An asphalt badminton court was already set up, but most of the rackets were damaged and no "bird" was to be found. They found some ping pong paddles and a 3" plastic ball with holes in it that they could use instead of a shuttlecock.  They first tried to play a game with the net at badminton height... but it was too hard, so they dropped it to 36 inches and developed a game much like tennis on this smaller court.  The ball bounced really good on the asphalt.

The ping pong paddles seemed a little light weight for the larger ball, so they went into the workshop and cut out four paddles from a scrap of plywood with a little longer handle and wrapped some tape on it.  A pretty logical solution.  Then they developed some rules that have evolved into what has become the standard for today.

Do you know how Pickle-Ball got its name?  The name Pickle-Ball, comes from the Pritchard's dog, Pickles. Pickles would hide in the bushes and chase down errant balls.   You see it was Pickles' ball!  Thus Pickle-Ball was "born."
To find out more about Pickle-Ball Google it up... or click on this link for Pickle-Ball Canada.

"Necessity is the mother of invention." 


  1. Beautiful early morning photo.I love the southwest desert in the winter. I agree with you that pickle-ball is a lot of fun to play. Also thank you for the history on pickle-ball, I never knew that is was invented here in the state of Washington.

  2. Can't wait to play pickle-ball with you! Sounds like fun.

  3. Don't all great things come from Bainbridge Island?

  4. I like the Bainbridge Island reference, too. Good story, Sherwin.

    I will have to learn this, if possible...

    Love you, Bear!

  5. I can imagine it now. Elderly people who plays this will break their backs somehow. LOL