On August 7 at Edison Middle School in Green Bay, the Green Bay Pickleball Challenge ("The Battle for the Ages") will be held from 10 a.m. through the afternoon. The tournament will offer competition for both individuals (men and women) and mixed-doubles teams. Registration is still open, through August 1.
Still wondering what pickleball is?
I know. Pickleball is no longer the "new, new" thing, or even the "new" thing. I'm always at least two trends behind. But I'll admit I have heard the word "pickleball" now for several years and I still don't really know how it is played. How about you?
Let's cover the basics first. Pickleball is a paddle/court sport, played with a (usually) wooden paddle and a plastic ball that has holes in it. The USA Pickleball site further states that the game "combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong." It can be played indoors or out, and it's played on a badminton-sized court with a slightly smaller tennis net.
Pickleball gains most of its popularity from its accessibility. It was first played in 1965, on Bainbridge Island, which is near Seattle, Washington. Its inventors were a group of friends--politician Joel Pritchard (a member of Washington's state House of Representatives), William Bell, and Barney McCallum--who were looking for a way to keep their kids entertained temporarily. They had so much fun and were so talented at spreading the game to others that eventually they formed their own company, Pickle-Ball Inc., in 1972, to make and sell paddles, balls, nets, and other gear.
Although pickleball is not yet sufficiently popular to be included in the Summer Olympics--any sport that wants to be considered for inclusion in the Olympics a sport must be recognized by the International Olympics Committee (IOC) as a sport, and it must be played by men in 75 countries across four continents and by women in 40 countries across three continents.
Until it can be played at the Olympics, Green Bay residents have brand new pickleball courts that opened in June of 2021, at Edison Park, located at 442 Alpine Drive. City officials are excited about the possibility of holding more tournaments like this Green Bay Pickleball Challenge; when the courts opened, James Anderson of the city's Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department told WBAY.com: "Now we can host tournaments, as this is one of the most popular growing sports that we have right now, pickleball...You’ll see players up here from all over the place. They drive from all over Wisconsin, and when we do a tournament, they come from four or five different states."
One group that helped fund-raise for the park was the Packerland Pickleball Players, a social organization in the Green Bay area for those interested in learning and playing pickleball. The group also provides information about numerous area pickleball courts and tutors available to give lessons on the sport.
Whether you come out on August 7 to play or to watch pickleball, you're in for a fun tournament featuring a sport that continues to grow in popularity!
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