One lesser-known sport that has recently come to center stage in the media is called "Pickleball." The game with the strange-sounding name actually has nothing to do with pickles...but legend insinuates that a dog named "Pickles" was in the mix.
The naming of the sport has two origin stories. One claims that one of the sport's founders' wives, Joan Pritchard, called it pickleball because the combination of different elements of different sports reminded her of the "pickle boat" in crew competitions where the boat comes in last, and therefore athletes were like Charlie Brown - the last people chosen for the next race.
The second theory is that the sport was named after one of the founders' dogs, Pickles. Perhaps both are true. Maybe neither are. But whatever the backstory, pickleball seems to be here to stay.
One enticing aspect of pickleball is that players don't have to buy expensive gear or apparel. All that is needed are two paddles, a net, a ball, and a court.
The paddles resemble ping-pong (or table tennis) paddles, but they are a bit larger. They are not as big as tennis rackets, and are solid, instead of netted, like tennis rackets. The paddles can be made from several different materials: wood, graphite, aluminum, and other composite materials.
A wiffleball was originally used in the game, but as time has gone by and popularity has increased, pickleballs have replaced the original wiffleball. The ball is still very lightweight and has holes, but with new rules, the proper ball to play with depends on indoor or outdoor use, as well as USAPA guidelines for "official" balls.
The net, unlike many volley sports, is close to the ground, and official play dimensions are 36" high at the sidelines and 34" high at the middle. The official court size is 44' long and 20' wide, which includes the lines. It is basically the size of a doubles badminton court.
Pickleball doesn't usually have a dress code. Players wear comfortable athletic clothing and tennis shoes.
The sport has become so popular that a chain restaurant called Chicken N Pickle has been opening locations across the nation. A full menu is offered, as well as outdoor pickleball courts.
To learn more about pickleball or how to start your own games, click HERE.