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Future goals include playing pickleball

Sports Talk

By Beth Cox


As I played tennis with my daughter in another city, right across from us were pickleball courts. It was hard to stay focused on the tennis match I was in because I was intrigued by this game where people were playing on this small court with what looked like ping pong paddles.
The people were laughing and having fun and in some serious competition.
I was in some serious competition, beating my daughter in tennis, trying to do the impossible. The sweat and the frustration encompassed me, and I couldn’t help but wonder why I had not tried this pickleball game. I’m sure my old knees would be grateful for the opportunity to not run all over the tennis court trying to return my daughter’s drop shot.
I love tennis, but tennis is not always in love with me. I was also invited to play pickleball at the new courts in Mountain City. I thought it was for the older population, but the people I saw playing were young and athletic. I’m not always excited to try new things, but I am not opposed to trying pickleball.
I have heard a lot about the sport here lately, so after seeing it played, I decided to research the game. It is new to Johnson County and rural America but has been around since 1965.
It was explained that it is a mixture of ping pong, tennis, and badminton. It is played on a 44’ x 20’ court with a 36’ net and features a non-volley zone often referred to as “the kitchen.”
Pickleball is played with a paddle and plastic ball. It is similar to tennis, where it can be a single or double play. Players only score by serving. Scoring is called out in a 3-number sequence that involves the server’s score, returner’s score, and whether the server one or two is serving.
There are more rules to it, though, but from what I saw, there is less running and more breathing, and easier on the knees. If anyone is interested, go to Cunningham Park, where lessons are given on Monday, Tuesdays, and Thursdays at 6 pm and Saturdays at 10. There are pickleball paddles and balls available at the three courts.