Pickleball…It’s All in the Name!
If you are like me, your first reaction when you see this name, “Pickleball”, you are likely pondering several thoughts.
1) Is this an actual sport?
2) What is a “Pickleball”?
3) How is it played?
4) What kind of name is Pickleball for a sport?
These are all very good questions, but I would safely submit to you that you may want to be careful to whom you pose such questions, because you should not be fooled by the name, these players take this sport seriously. I learned while growing up that any sport where paddles are used can prove harmful to your body, if you ask the wrong question to the wrong person.
If you do not read further, you will be missing one of the most interesting articles posted for the Liberty Games, to date. Do You Know Where Pickleball Got Its Name? Pickleball is a racquet sport which combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. The sport is played on a court with the same dimensions as a doubles badminton court. The net is similar to a tennis net, but is mounted two inches lower. The game is played with a hard paddle and a polymer wiffle ball.
Although Pickleball appears to be very similar to tennis, there are key differences that make Pickleball more accessible to a wider range of players, particularly children and seniors. Chief among these differences is the speed of the Pickleball ball which typically moves at one-third of the average speed of a tennis ball. Equally important, however, is the size of the court which is just under one-third of the total area of a tennis court. This smaller area combined with the slower moving ball makes Pickleball much easier to play than tennis.
Originally invented as a backyard pastime, Pickleball is now an organized sport represented by National and International governing bodies. Since its inception in 1965, Pickleball has spread across the United States and into Canada. It is now beginning to spread around the world. The United States Pickleball Association estimates there are more than 100,000 active Pickleball players in that country alone. In Canada, where the game is still relatively new, there are already more than 5,000 players in just four provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, and Ontario. Meanwhile new organizations like the Singapore Pickleball Association and the All India Pickleball Association are bringing the game to Asia and beyond.
The game started during the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island at the home of Joel Pritchard, US House of Representatives for the State of Washington. He and two of his friends, William Bell, Barney McCallum, returned from golf and found the kids bored. They attempted to set up badminton but no one could find the shuttlecock. They improvised with a whiffle ball, lowered the badminton net, and cut paddles from plywood.
The unusual name of the game originated with Joan Pritchard, who said it reminded her of the “Pickle Boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.” The popular story told today is that it was named after the family dog. Joan corrected this story in interviews but the story persists. As the story is told, the whiffle ball belonged to the dog. Whenever an errant shot happened, Pickles would run and try to get the ball and hide it. They named the game for their dog’s ball, “Pickles’ Ball”, then it became Pickleball. It’s a good story, but the truth is the Pritchard family didn’t get the dog until 1967. Actually, the dog was named after the sport.
The Empire State Sports Council is pleased to announce Pickleball as an Official Sport of the 2012 Liberty Games! If you are interested, and wish to compete for the State Title, you may now Register online by going to our website designed just for the games @ ; in fact, if you Register early you can qualify for special prizes (see Below).
Because the Liberty Games are built around the concept of T-E-A-M (Together Everyone Achieves More), we would like to make a spot in each of the articles written, that will announce the arrival of each Sport, to impress upon you the importance of each of the individual Sport’s Chairs, as they are critical in the effort to Bring Back the Games! The Pickleball Sport’s Chair is Sandy Rohner (also the Pickleball Organizer for the Senior Games), and she is joined by Committee Members Al Cavallaro, Judy & Pete Briscoe, and Tom Helfrich, as their cooperation is very bit a TEAM effort. When asked about the Liberty Games becoming the New State Games Sandy said, “It is truly exciting to have the opportunity to work with the Empire State Sports Council in Bringing Back the Games, and that they consider Pickleball to be worthy. It shows their vision for what the Liberty Games can become.”
The Empire State Sports Council is very excited to have Sandy and her Committee on our TEAM, and we hope you will enjoy taking part in the competition, which will begin on Friday, July 20th. Moreover, we are so excited that we are offering the following promotion. Be one of the first to purchase the Official Liberty Games Sportswear, as the Empire State Sports Council will hold a drawing of the first 100 Athletes in each sport that purchase Liberty Games Sportswear, and the selected Athlete will receive a Gift Card to a local restaurant for $10! Moreover, the winners from each sport will be placed into a larger drawing, which will be made at the Opening Ceremonies of the Liberty Games, and the winner will receive a Free Apple iPod. The runner-up will receive a $50 Gift Certificate from Dick’s Sporting Goods. Don’t wait, be one of the first 100 athletes in your sport to purchase Official Liberty Games Sportswear, and you can be a winner today!
In the meantime, be sure to Like Us on Facebook, as we look forward to making so many new friends. If you are in a position to do so, we would certainly appreciate your support of the 2012 Liberty Games. Please take just a minute right now to click the Donate Now button at the top of the page and make a contribution of any amount, the Empire State Sports Council would greatly appreciate it!