By Beth Taylor
Pickleball, North America’s fastest growing sport, is coming to Cyntheanne Park with courts opening in early summer.
Pickleball is an all-ages recreational paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping pong. Players need a pickleball racket, which is smaller than a tennis racket and longer than a ping pong paddle. The typically yellow or white plastic, hollow ball has holes throughout and travels at one-third the speed of a tennis ball. Attire is anything comfortable; tennis-style dress is common.
The game originated in 1965. Three dads, Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum, from Bainbridge Island, near the state of Washington are credited for creating the game to help fend off their kids’ summertime boredom and provide a game that could be enjoyed by all family members.
“We were looking for something new and exciting to bring to our community,” said Matt Walker, operations and administration manager for the Fishers Parks and Recreation department. “We want to bring new things to the community, and the pickleball courts will create a destination amenity In Cyntheanne Park.”
A pickleball court is the same size as a doubles badminton court, measuring 20×44 feet, and the net height is 34 inches in the middle. Court markings are similar to those of a tennis court. Pickleball courts are located in all 50 states.
Four dedicated pickleball courts, connecting sidewalks and new plantings including trees, shrubs, grasses and perennials will be added to Cyntheanne Park.
“Fishers has a pretty large 50 and better community,” said Walker. “We wanted something new for those residents. There’s been a real demand for it.”
The city is hoping for final approval by the end of March, with a ground breaking in April. “The concrete has to cure for 30 days before paint can be applied, so there is a little delay,” he said.
Walker hopes to create a training program through the parks department. “Anybody and everybody can play it,” he said. Go to www.usapa.org for rules of the game.
Accounts of the origin of the name vary. According to McCallum, the game was named after the Pritchard’s dog, Pickles, but Joan Pritchard, Joel’s wife, explained that she called it pickleball because the combination of sports reminded her of a pickle boat crew, a crew consisting of the leftover crew of oarsmen.