Mike: Pickleball is a really interesting sport because it’s something that has taken over the geriatric crowd. It’s like tennis, but scaled down. You use a wiffle ball instead of a tennis ball, a paddle instead of a tennis racket, and the courts are smaller. It’s set up to make the game as egalitarian as possible. If you’re a good tennis player and you’ve got a really hot serve, you can dominate a game with ace after ace, but you can’t do that with pickleball. You have to serve underhanded and the ball has to go to the other side and bounce before someone returns it. There’s a space adjacent to the net called the kitchen and you’re not allowed to be in the kitchen unless the ball bounces in there. Then you get in and get out. Pickleball is all about sweat and giggles because we have so damn much fun. People are always screwing up and if you can’t laugh at yourself, I mean, why even do it?
Kurt: It doesn’t take long to get to the point where you’re having fun playing. It’s a pretty short learning curve. And that’s why we play – for fun and exercise.
Tim 1: Pickleball actually started in Seattle in 1965. The guy who invented the game named it after his dog, Pickles. I always tell people it’s a cross between ping pong and tennis. Somewhere in that area. As much social as aerobic.
Kim: My husband and I are just visiting Baker for a couple of weeks. I looked Pickleball up in the Baker City Herald and they had an article from 2017 where they interviewed Tim so I called the Y and found out when they play.
Marie: Back then, we were tennis players and we had no place to play in the wintertime so we thought we’d try pickleball. That’s how it got started in 2012. We rent the gym here from the YMCA. Players come and go. Most people have their own paddles, but we still have paddles available for people who don’t have their own. I don’t play anymore. There are a lot of us getting to the point that we need joint replacements.
Tim 2: I’m not playing right now either. I just came down to get a coffee afterwards! We always play doubles. There are very few that play singles, typically, only the young people do it.
Want to give it a try? The Pickleball group plays Monday and Wednesday from 9:00 to 11:00am at the old Baker County YMCA gym at 2010 Church St. Everyone is invited to join the fun. Or just have a coffee afterwards!