I still can’t get over how silly the name sounds. Pickleball! Yet, in Chester, sports like rugby, golf, swimming, tennis, lacrosse, crew, soccer, volleyball, baseball, softball, and strangely track and field (particularly the field events), are not very popular among our youth, even at the school district level where most of these sports aren’t even offered.
Many call Pickleball the fastest growing sport in the United States, so why not jump on the bandwagon early and make a serious attempt to introduce this sport in Chester.
Knowing we’ll have to crawl before we walk, we broke the Pickleball ice last Friday by converting half of one of the Memorial Park tennis courts into a Pickleball court and invited the Swarthmore College women’s tennis coach to perform a Pickleball-101 clinic for anyone who could attend. To my surprise, one of the attendees was Ms. Nancy Daniels, a long time fan of this blog, who saw my post the night before and traveled to Chester to satisfy her curiosity. She participated in Pickleball for the first time like the rest of us. She’s a very fit 70-something year-old adventurist who had no problem picking up the basics of the game.
Coach Jeremy Loomis was an excellent instructor as he explained a few of the basic rules of the game, the court layout, and the equipment, before putting us through a few drills to get familiar with the game. Soon, we were playing a doubles game, and I now consider myself an expert.
I’ve connected Coach Loomis with one of our larger youth sports organizations with the intent of scheduling more clinics geared to young athletes to get an early introduction to the Pickleball. Look for further additions to the Memorial Park tennis courts to accommodate several Pickleball courts and the installation of a practice wall for both tennis and Pickleball players.
As a first timer to Pickleball, I enjoy the fast learning curve, the much smaller court than tennis, and the fact that any age group can play the game almost immediately. The only equipment needed is a paddle and a couple balls which we’ll soon make available to anyone who wants to try out the sport.
There aren’t many places to play Pickleball in Delaware County so we’re intent on making Chester a destination for this growing sport.