By Doug Halberstadt
Scores of people showed up last Saturday morning, Sept. 18, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of six new pickleball courts. The Rockford Park District converted two former tennis courts at Sinnissippi Park into a place where local pickleball players could play this new sport. Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country.
“We are excited to provide local pickleball players a place to play this fast-growing sport,” said Rockford Park District Deputy Director of Operations Jay Sandine. “Pickleball is a fun and healthy activity that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults. We look forward to watching this sport’s popularity grow in the Rockford area, and are thrilled to provide residents with another recreational activity option.”
For the many of us in the local area who have not heard of pickleball before, it is played on a badminton court with the net lowered to 34 inches at the center. The game is played with a perforated plastic baseball (similar to a whiffle ball) and wood or composite paddles. It is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players.
The game got its unique name after one of the co-inventor’s cocker spaniel dogs named Pickles.
In 1984, the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) was organized to promote the growth and development of pickleball, not only on a national level, but also on an international level. This organization provides players with official rules, tournaments, rankings and promotional materials.
Drop-in pickleball is also available indoors for ages 14 and older for $5 per visit at the Indoor Sports Center, 8800 E. Riverside Blvd., Loves Park. To learn more about pickleball at the Rockford Park District, call (815) 885-1135.
From the Sept. 22-28, 2010 issue