Pickleball: The sport that is taking the Greater Valley Area by storm

Published 9:51 pm Monday, July 16, 2018

TROUP COUNTY — When people get to a certain age it is important that they stay active. There are many resources for them to continue staying up and at ‘em around the Greater Valley Area, and the Active Life Wellness Center has one that many people haven’t heard of.

Pickleball, a sport that resembles a mix between tennis, ping pong and badminton, has become a hit among people looking for low impact sports to play in the area.

“It’s great exercise, it improves hand-eye coordination and it’s just an amazing, fun game,” said Site Manager Molly Jones. “The greatest thing that we promote here is getting active. Pickleball definitely does that.”

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Held every Tuesday from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. eastern, pickleball is playable at the Active Life Center for anyone over the age of 55. It’s not just for older folks, though.

“The whole spectrum of generations play,” Jones said. “Young and old, men and women. It’s really for everybody.”

According to the United States of America Pickleball Association, the sport was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island off the coast of Seattle, Washington.

The history of the name is a topic of debate among pickleball historians, with one account citing the creator Joel Pritchard’s wife as naming it, and another giving credit to the Pritchard’s dog, Pickles.

Pickleball associations span the globe, with regular tournaments happening internationally and in between states.

With its growing popularity, the Active Life Wellness Center caught wind of it after this year’s Golden Olympics.

Since then, it has been a favorite of members who play it every week.

In addition to its health benefits, Jones said it is also extremely beneficial to the participants’ sociability.

“It is so great to watch our participants learn something new,” she said. “Some people who really hadn’t found their niche or what they like to do outside of socializing are getting involved. We even have some people that have some physical limitations that are getting out there. It’s amazing the difference that is has made, the excitement that it brings and the people it brings together.”