When the game of pickleball started in 1965, no one expected it to be a full-fledged sport with pickleball tournaments being played nationwide and beyond. And yet that is exactly what it is today.
Pickleball has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, gaining popularity among all age groups and genders world over. This simple to set up and even simpler to play game has stolen the hearts of many.
What is Pickleball?
Pickleball is a sport in which players hit a perforated plastic ball (similar to a whiffle ball) over a net using short-handled solid paddles (made of wood or composite materials) similar to those used in table tennis, only bigger.
Pickleball can be played as a singles sport with 2 players or as a double play with 4 players.
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the game. It can easily turn into a fast-paced, supercharged game that will keep you on the edge of your seat if you are a spectator or on your toes if you are a player.
The USAPA – Agent of Pickleball Growth
Wherever pickleball is mentioned, be sure you will hear the name “USAPA”. The USAPA is the United States of America Pickleball Association and it was organized to promote the growth and development of pickleball.
The USAPA’s is not only committed to national pickleball development but it strives to take the game globally as well. The USAPA provides players with official rules, tournaments, rankings, and promotional materials.
Without an official organization to oversee the game, there would be no uniformity and the game wouldn’t be the professional sport it is today. The USAPA also oversees pickleball leagues and organizes tournaments all over the US.
You can check their website for a pickleball tournament near you. Pickleball league tournament results are recorded and used to rank players.
The USAPA held the first national pickleball tournament in Buckeye, Arizona in 2009 and it attracted over 400 players of all ages and levels. Last year’s national pickleball tournament was the largest to date, attracting more than 1300 players from 42 states and 14 countries.
It seems the USAPA is doing a great job of promoting the game. From your local pickleball league to national pickleball tournaments, the USAPA is driving pickleball forward, and keeping sanity and cohesion in the way the game is played.
If you’re a pickleball fan, consider supporting the organization, financially or as a volunteer. The game needs you.
Pickleball – The Game with a Funny Name (and Even Funnier Pickleball Team Names)
Where did the name “Pickleball” come from? Well, there are two versions of the story.
1. Legend has it that when the game was invented, the Pritchard’s dog kept picking up the balls and running away with them. The dog’s name was Pickles, hence the game was called “Pickleball”. This version has also been endorsed by Barney McCallum, one of the three inventors of the game.
2. According to Joan Pritchard (Joel Pritchard’s wife), she started calling the game pickleball because “the combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.” She dismissed the dog story saying they never had the dog named Pickles until 2 years after the game had been born.
Wherever the inspiration for the name came from, it seems other pickleball teams are drawing their inspiration from the same source.
Although some teams are simply named after a business sponsoring them or a famous person, some teams have come up with quite some interesting pickleball team names, some that can leave you in stitches (and some in a pickle if not pronounced properly – like Ace Hole).
Court Jesters, I think those guys should take their game seriously. And what of Mature Swingers? Their after parties must be wild. These and many more names are definitely funny, but they do exemplify the creativity that birthed the game and keeps it alive.
Come to think of it, pickleball is a normal name after all. Especially when you pit it against the other pickleball team names you’ll find in the pickleball leagues.
I guess it’s not just the ball that’s light, even the players are lighthearted. This then must the game to play for some lighthearted fun.
Pickleball – The League Needs You
If you haven’t joined your local pickleball league or chapter of the USAPA, this is the right time for you to do so.
Not only will it help fine tune your skills, but it’s a great opportunity to be part of something bigger than yourself. Your input in your local league is much needed. Without your support, the next pickleball tournament might not be as great as it should.
The game needs you, my friend.