Maurice Michaud

The wiffle and the pickleball

Pickleball, a new sporting craze, has arrived in Sooke. It's a mix between ping pong, tennis and badminton.

You’ve heard of softball, fastball, baseball. Pickleball has nothing to do with these.

But have you heard of ping pong, tennis, and badminton? Yes indeed, Pickleball is the happy offspring of the amalgamation of all three. In fact, as the WhatIsPickleball.com website so aptly sums up, “It’s OVERSIZED ping pong!  Played on a badminton-sized court with a tennis-sized net.”

Other than comfortable activewear and running shoes, you’ll need a wiffle ball that is three inches in diameter, and a wooden paddle for each player that is no longer than 15.5 inches and no wider than eight. Oh, and a net that is 36 inch high and 20 feet long.

Maurice Michaud is a bit of a Pickleball expert, and he says in Nanaimo they have eight pickleball courts that can accommodate 48 people, and more often than not their courts are all full. “The average age is probably 60 or 65,” he estimates. “There are a couple of people in Nanaimo I play with that can kick my butt, and they are in their mid to late 70s.”

Pickleball, which originated in 1965 as an all-family game invented by US Congressman Joel Pritchard and a few of his friends, was named after the dog who chased the ball every now and again. His name was, you guessed it, Pickles.

Dave Shepherd, President of Pickleball Canada, wrote in the November 2012 newsletter, “Pickleball is an easy game to learn how to play and that is why the growth of this game is phenomenal. There are new groups playing in Canada, from the East to West, from Nova Scotia and P.E.I to places like Sooke and Saltspring Island, BC.”

That’s right folks! We’re on Canada’s Pickleball radar. And, it’s available in Sooke.

Pickleball “can be played on almost any type of surface, and the only equipment required is a net, some paddles, and a wiffle ball,” says Colleen Hoglund, the Recreation Coordinator at SEAPARC, in correspondence.

The second annual Pickleball Canada National Open Championship is coming up. Abbotsford will be hosting Canada’s largest pickleball tournament, attracting over 200 players from throughout North America. The tournament will be held on July 6 – 7. It will be held at the Abbotsford Recreation Centre (ARC), with additional courts at the Yale secondary and William Fraser elementary schools. Registration forms are available at pickleballcanada.org.

If you are curious about this newly emerging sport that is truly an enjoyable sport for all ages, drop by SEAPARC on a Saturday between 10 and 11:30 a.m.