Relishing Pickleball

By Stacy D. Poole | June 9th, 2014

A look at the sport and why it's steadily growing

SAY WHAT? Pickleball! It combines tennis, pingpong and badminton, most often on a badminton-size court with four players swinging light-weight paddles to hit a Wiffle ball over a tennis-height net.

WHO PLAYS? Who doesn’t? NBC’s Nightly News calls it the “fastest growing sport in America.” Multigenerational athletes of all abilities play: 100,000 nationally, including 2,100 in Virginia. There are at least two dozen locations to play in greater Richmond.

WHY ‘PICKLEBALL’? The game originated in Washington state in 1965 at the home of Congressman Joel Pritchard. Rumor has it the name came from the inventor’s dog. But his wife says, no, the term comes from rowing, where a “mixed” crew of leftover oarsmen is called a “pickle boat.” Bored guests that day in ’65 had scrounged up equipment to play something.

ARE THERE … RULES?! Of course. By 1984, the USA Pickleball Association was organized and a rulebook was published.

(For more on rules, history and locations, visit the USA Pickleball Association website at

TO PLAY: Contact Dave and Linda Scott at, 804-739-8483 or 804-683-8481, or visit

– Stacy D. Poole is a local freelance writer, poet, educator and pickleball enthusiast. 

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