Pickleball catching on across the region

More than 60 players took part in Christmas tournament at Pearkes Rec Centre

  • Dec. 31, 2016 10:00 a.m.
Pickleball players celebrate following the Christmas Pickleball Tournament at Pearkes Recreation Centre.

Pickleball players celebrate following the Christmas Pickleball Tournament at Pearkes Recreation Centre.

Unlike the flu that comes and goes, once you’ve been exposed to pickleball, you’ll have the fever for life.  Players love the exercise and camaraderie that characterizes the game.

Pickleball (named after the inventor’s dog “Pickle”) is the fastest growing sport in North America.  Similar to tennis, but played on a smaller court with paddles and a plastic whiffle ball, it’s a whole lot easier on the body, which attracts many seniors to the game.

Greater Victoria, from Sooke to Sidney, has many venues for learning and playing the game (www.victoriapickleball.org).  Regardless of whether you’re a newbie or advanced player, check out the various lessons that are available.  For maximum enjoyment, at least in the beginning, it’s best to learn and play with people at your own level, or just a bit better so you can learn some new skills and strategies.

To increase access to courts and arrange various types of tournaments, Victoria pickleball players recently formed an association to complement the Vancouver Island Pickleball Association  (www.vipa.ca).  More information is available through Trish Main (vicrpba@gmail.com), president of the Victoria Regional Pickleball Association.

Nearly every day at one of the local rec centres, you can hear the distinctive ‘thunk’ sound that accompanies the game of pickleball. Another common feature of the game is the fun being enjoyed by those playing. Once you give it a try you’ll understand why nearly everyone who takes up the game gets addicted.

The second annual Christmas Pickleball Tournament was held Dec. 16 at Pearkes Rec Centre, with more than 60 players taking part in the all-day event. Robin Milliken and a host of volunteers did a great job running the tournament and purchasing prizes, ranging from bags of chocolates to a pickleball paddle and dinner for two.

Medals were awarded to the top three teams in A and B divisions as follows: Mike Priestly and Kathy Thomson took gold in the A Division, with Brian Jenkins and Mike Vidler claiming silver and Lori Murray and Larry MacDonald picking up the bronze. In the B Divison, Ken Cairns and Ralph Austerman struck gold, while Allanah Fuhre and Mary Orme took the silver and Meng Fand and Edith Ritzer finished with the bronze.