What is the fastest growing sport among adults in Maine, and all across America?
Some game on a smartphone? Fishing? Baseball? Seriously.
Invented in 1965, pickleball is a game often associated with retirees and the state of Florida. But it's now the fastest growing sport in America, according to a 2021 report tracking sports participation from the Sports and Fitness Industry Association.
Do you know how it got invented?
Pickleball was born in 1965. After playing golf during the summer, Joel Pritchard, a congressman from Washington, and Bill Bell, a successful businessman, returned to Pritchard’s home on Bainbridge Island, not far from Seattle, Washington. With bored children at home, they sought to play badminton on an old badminton court but couldn’t find the proper equipment. They improvised and played with table tennis paddles and a perforated plastic ball. They began with the net at a badminton net height (60 inches high) and volleyed the ball back and forth over the net. Eventually as play progressed during the weekend, they found the ball bounced well on the asphalt surface and they would eventually lower the net to 36 inches high.
Here is that story of the invention.
How did it get its name.
One of the people there for the invention says the family dog’s name was Pickles and since the dog ‘stole’ the ball and ran with it they named the game after the dog. Another story though says the dog came a few years after the invention of the game and the dog was named after the game, not the other way around.
There is also an account that the combinations from various games, reminding them of the pickle boat where crew is selected from other ‘leftover’ crew from other boats. And the inventor's wife was a college rower. So that one gets my vote.
My first experience with it was a couple of years ago and a retired sister of mine and her husband not only play the game, but tried to convince me that if I played my life would change dramatically for the better. They love it and believe in it that much.
You can play in Bangor at one of two indoor courts at the Bangor Rec Building on Main Street. In Brewer at the Brewer Auditorium. Or at Armstrong Tennis Center in Hampden. Also at Orrington Recreation in Orrington.
Plus a brand new facility opened last week in Dover Foxcroft.
Actually you can play all over the state in a whole lot of locations . Here’s the link to places to play.
See how popular it is becoming. And it is growing all the time.