What is it with this sport called pickleball?

New sport is hottest fitness thing going right now


New pickleball courts were installed next to the tennis courts south of the Ninth Grade.

Mark Zackery, staff writer

What is pickleball?

Pickleball is a racket/paddle sport where two or four players hit a polymer ball over a net using solid-faced paddles. It’s also one of the latest fitness trends sweeping the country.

This past summer, some of our outdoor basketball courts were replaced with pickleball courts and the park south of the Chapel Hill United Methodist Church on Girls School Rd will have pickleball courts installed this summer.

Pickleball was invented in 1965 in Bainbridge Island, WA by Joel Pritchard, Barney McCallum, and Bill Bell. The game is called pickleball because they named it after Pritchard’s dog, who was named Pickles.

The dog was known to run with the ball while they were playing. Pickleball is similar to tennis, ping pong, and badminton. Games are usually played to 11 points and won by 2.

They do have a couple of different rules, a different court, and different equipment. Pickleball gained most of its popularity in 2020 when the sport grew. Washington just adopted pickleball as the official state sport in 2022 so that explains how serious this is getting. 

Physical education teacher Lorie Bear enjoys playing the game and is in the process of purchasing enough equipment to make it part of her curriculum.

“I just started playing in the fall and I am impressed with the sport,” Bear said. “It’s good exercise and it’s fun.”

Bear likes the sport so much that she recently had a court built in her garage.

Business teacher Lisa Bugay also plays a lot of pickleball and Area 31 teacher Aaron Moss plays competitively and has been ranked in the national rankings for his age group.

Bear is hoping to start a fun league around Ben Davis and believes the sport will really take off.

“It’s a game anyone can play,” she said. “I think if you try it, you’ll be hooked instantly.”