Pass the Pickle(ball)

Pickleball photo

We admit, we didn’t know much about pickleball, but people really seem to like it and now you can play it on Palm Beach. Being the public servants that we are, we found out a little more for you:

  • What on earth is it? Pickleball is a paddle sport played on a small-ish court with a modified tennis net. Best we can describe it from watching a handful of YouTube videos? It looks like a giant game of ping-pong where the players are actually standing on the table. Except there’s no table.
  • Is it hard to play? Most people are quick to pick up the game, and judging by its popularity with both schoolchildren and seniors, just about anyone can play. There’s not a ton of running, but we imagine that competitive matches could get plenty strenuous.
  • Why the crazy name? There are a couple theories. According to the USA Pickleball Association (yes, there is a national federation for the sport), it’s either because one of the game’s creators had a cocker spaniel named Pickles, or because his wife thought “the combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat in crew, where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.”

Here on the island, you can play from 10 a.m.-noon on Saturday mornings at the Seaview Park Recreation Center. The cost is $2 for residents and $4 for non-residents. Paddles are available to rent, and space is limited. To reserve, call Seaview Park (561-838-5404) or Phipps Ocean Park Tennis Center (561-227-6450).

(If you’re a traditionalist, adult recreational tennis leagues run this fall from September through December, with men’s and ladies singles, doubles, or mixed doubles. Call the Seaview pro shop for more information.)

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