Pickleball has gained popularity at the Pickens County Community Center. The rec. department makes one of their basketball courts available every weekday for pickleball players.
The name “pickleball” is quirky enough to catch most people’s attention, but it’s the game itself that has a growing number of locals excited.
“It’s really taking off,” said Pickens County Parks & Recreation Director Brian Jones. “We have people playing five days a week. If we could offer it more, they would probably take us up on that offer.”
If you’re not familiar with pickleball, imagine a fusion of ping pong, tennis, and badminton. Singles or doubles play with a modified tennis net that sits low to the ground. Players use paddles that look like large ping pong paddles, and plastic balls similar to Wiffle balls. Paddles cost anywhere between $10 to well over $100.
Pickleball was developed in 1965 by a group of three dads in Washington state when their kids got bored one summer. The game has gained popularity over the years, with NBC calling pickleball one of the fastest-growing sports in America “that can be played by anyone.”
There are currently two pickleball nets at the Pickens County Community Center. Last Friday morning, nearly 20 people, mostly senior citizens, showed up.
“They come and play from 10 to 12, or sometimes even later if it’s available,” Jones said. “We bought a net and a set of paddles over a year ago and a group came and asked if they could bring their own. So, we have our nets and theirs, they bring their paddles, and we have balls for them. The county taxpayer is out next to nothing on this.”
Despite pickleballers taking up one gym in the morning during the weekdays, walkers are still able to walk laps inside.
Try your hand at the new sports craze at the Pickens County Community Center from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. The center is located at 1329 Camp Rd, Jasper, Ga. 30143. They can be reached at 706-253-8863.