As with most addictions, our addiction has changed our life. In fact it has taken over our life and at times, it is all we can think about. Fortunately we support each other in our joint addiction.
Like most addictions, our addiction came out of nowhere. We saw other people engaging, and so we became curious. It looked like fun from an outsider’s perspective. At first we held back and watched from a distance as others engaged.
We were intrigued and befuddled by what we saw. Like a cat with no sense for its own well being, our curiosity took over and we threw caution to the wind.
Our addiction is not to alcohol or some drugs or other such wild behaviour. No, our addiction is to pickleball.
What is pickleball and how can you get addicted to it?
The silly name came as a result of one of the mothers of the families saying that the game was made up of leftovers from other games, much like the crew of a pickleboat that came from the leftovers of crews from other boats. Any sailor should know what this means.
From the moment we hit the first ball, we were hooked. The game is a quick game with simple rules with many elements of tactics and strategy.
Pickleball is a relatively new game which some players describe as a combination of tennis and badminton.
This ball-and-paddle game is played on a badminton-sized court where the net has been lowered to 34 inches at the centre. Equipment includes wood or composite paddles, which are about twice the size of a ping pong paddle, and a plastic, perforated ball (much like a whiffle ball).
Now, as we travel throughout the province, we look for places to play indoors and outdoors.
At the larger centres in the Okanagan, such as Kelowna, Penticton and Kamloops, there are active club members playing multiple times a week. Many of our neighbouring smaller communities, such as Salmon Arm, West Kelowna, Lake Country, Scotch Creek, etc., have dedicated courts or tennis courts with pickleball lines painted on them.
Like new converts (addicts), we spread the word about pickleball everywhere we go. Pickleball players are a friendly, healthy and happy group. Laughter is a great part of our game.
We desperately need assistance to find a outdoor home, even if it is just temporary.
We need a safe surface. Many of our new friends are seniors and the court we have been assigned to the last few years is unsafe. The Sawicki Park tennis courts are riddled with large deep cracks.
The asphalt surface is pitted and aged. Sand from the nearby playground spills onto the courts and many of our players (including myself) have fallen. We would like access to washrooms or at the very least, running water.
The Vernon Pickleball Club (VPC) became official September 2013. Our number then was 130 and our membership now is 240.
Our addicting sport is played all year-round. During fall and winter, we play at Priest Valley Gym and Vernon Christian School. Between the two venues, we have eight sessions a week. Our sessions are capped at 32 players. Often we have to turn players away.
Recently, our club made a presentation to the District of Coldstream to request pickleball lines be added to Middleton Mountain tennis courts. We await its decision.
We will be presenting the same request to Vernon city council March 24.
We want to be clear. We only want to share a court in Vernon and a court in Coldstream. Our long range plan is to have dedicated pickleball courts built.
Our outdoor season begin May 1 and we are without courts (a home).
What is a pickleball addict to do?
Cheri and Brian Burgess