The sound of pickleballs popping off paddles has come to the Interlakes Community Centre. This past week, two sparkling new pickleball courts were officially opened for play at the popular community hub. For those not yet caught up in the pickleball craze, the sport has been described as a Frankenstein mix of ping pong, badminton and tennis. While pickleball may have a silly name and a mishmash origin story, it has nevertheless exploded in popularity over the past decade.
The Interlakes Community Centre wasted no time jumping on the pickleball bandwagon. The new courts come hot on the heels of soaring demand in the region. “We’ve seen pickleball take off in the last few years, so we wanted to build some dedicated facilities,” said Jane Smith, manager of the community centre. She added that pickleball’s growth locally mirrors the national trend, where pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports.
Built at a cost of $95,000, the two new courts have an asphalt surface and chain link surrounds. Bright green, blue and yellow lines mark out the pickleball boundaries. The courts will be available on a first come, first served basis during designated open play hours. Additionally, the centre plans to offer reserved time slots, lessons, camps and competitive leagues.
Serious and social players alike are hyped about the new venue. “Having dedicated outdoor courts at the community centre is huge for advancing the sport locally,” said John Davis, president of the Interlakes Pickleball Club. The club boasts over 150 active members who previously had to travel outside the community to play.
Now the two Interlakes courts will provide local pickleball junkies with their fix of “the fastest growing sport in North America.” But what exactly accounts for pickleball’s meteoric rise from quirky pastime to mainstream mania? Here are some thoughts on why this paddle sport has taken the world by storm:
It’s Fun and Fast-Paced – Pickleball provides a thrill ride of near-continuous action. The small court size and Wiffle ball-like pickleballs keep the game moving at a frantic speed. Players sprint up to the non-volley zone at the net, smash slams from the baseline, and everything in between.
It’s Social Yet Competitive – Pickleball gives folks an easy way to get together and mingle. The game encourages conversation while still satisfying competitive urges. The lighter balls and paddles make pickleball more accessible than tennis.
It Works for All Ages – Pickleball is a multigenerational activity the whole family can enjoy. Kids, parents and grandparents can all play together despite differences in mobility and athleticism.
It’s Inexpensive to Get Started – Aside from paddle and ball, pickleball requires little specialized equipment. Even petite community centres like Interlakes can fit in a couple pickleball courts for an affordable capital investment.
It’s Always Inseason – Forget spring, summer, fall or winter. Diehard pickleballers play year-round, especially on covered outdoor courts like those at Interlakes. Forget golf or tennis; pickleball now reigns as the go-to active retirement sport.
Of course, the real proof will come once the Interlakes courts open for community play. Will locals get hooked on the pickleball bug? “We think once people try it out, they’ll be sold,” said Ms. Smith of the community centre. She pointed to picklball’s “addictive nature” as a major factor driving beginning participation into lifelong passion.
If national trends hold true, the Interlakes Community Centre can expect to see pickleball passion sweep through the community. Facilities will need to expand to keep pace with demand. For now, though, the two new courts open up exciting opportunities for aspiring picklers. Stay tuned as the plot of the Interlakes pickleball story unfolds.