Nfld. & Labrador

Pickleball: Learn about a sweet sport with a sour name

The Town of Grand Falls-Windsor is investing in equipment to make the sport of pickleball available to residents and they are confident it will catch on.

Grand Falls-Windsor town council spending $1,000 on pickleball equipment

PIckleball is a combination of table tennis, tennis and badminton. The Town of Grand Falls-Windsor is investing in equipment so residents can enjoy the sport. (CBC file photo)

There's a new sport coming to central Newfoundland, and the name is deceiving.

Pickleball doesn't involve brined cucumbers, but does use a ball that is full of holes, and the town council in Grand Falls-Windsor thinks it could catch on with people there.

The town has invested $1,000 in equipment for the burgeoning game, which is a cross between ping pong, badminton and tennis.

Coun. Mike Browne, chair of the recreation committee, said the idea to make it available to residents came from local snowbirds who travel to Florida during the winter.

"It is a huge sport down there and there are about two million people playing it in the U.S. It is starting to make some traction in Canada," he said. "Most provinces have associations formed and Grand Falls-Windsor thought it would be a great idea for a leisure activity for young and old alike."

Browne said the sport is not particularly fast-paced in comparison to some other racket sports. It uses a wooden paddle similar to that used in table tennis, although significantly larger. A net similar in height to a tennis net is used, along with a wiffle ball, and games are usually played in doubles.

"It is a great afternoon or evening out for a couple of couples," Browne said.

Name of the game

The sport's name has interesting origins.

Pickleball was invented by a Congressman, Joel Pritchard, of Washington state in 1965. A common belief is it was named after Pickles, the family dog who chased the ball at every opportunity.

Pritchard's wife Joan has since said she named the game because the racquets reminded her of a pickle boat crew, where oarsmen were chosen from leftover workers of other fishing boats.

Browne said he is confident the game will be popular in his town.

"People are very active in our community," he said. "There is no reason to think that small investment is not going to bring some great leisure activity to people here in Grand Falls-Windsor."

Pickleball sessions will start on Jan. 30 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Windsor Pentecostal Church gym on King Street.

With files from the Central Morning Show