Bainbridge Island is known for a lot of things, not the least of which is the peculiarly named sport of pickleball.
Never heard of it?
From Wikipedia: “Pickleball is a paddle sport (similar to a racket sport) that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, similar to a Wiffle Ball, over a net.
“The sport shares features of other racket sports, the dimensions and layout of a badminton court, and a net and rules somewhat similar to tennis, with several modifications.”
Though first designed by islanders Barney McCallum, Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell in the ’60s as a children’s sport, it has become “one of America’s most popular growing sports among all ages.”
While most islanders know the strange sport got its start here, much of the paddle-based passion is shrouded in mystery. Are you curious about how pickleball came to be or how the sport got such a funny name? Do you know what caused pickleball to become the “fastest growing sport in America” and what people and events helped spark this growth? Do you wonder how the rules were determined or why the court is the size it is?
Whether you’re a pickleball pro or a would-be paddle-handler, three upcoming events on Bainbridge Island promise to scratch your pickleball itch.
First, a seminar and clinic, hosted by top pickleball pros Jennifer Lucore and Alex Hamner, will be presented by the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District Sunday, July 15.
From 1 to 2:15 p.m., in the Bainbridge High School lower gymnasium, Lucore and Hamner will give a seminar, touching on topics like equipment, positions and serving, among others. Players should wear casual clothing, tennis shoes and bring a paddle.
The cost to attend is $20 per person; visit www.biparks.org to register (Activity #413616-01) or call 206-842-2306, ext. 114.
Then, from 2:45 to 4:15 p.m. the pair of pros will be at Battle Point Park for a pickleball clinic, which sold out quickly after opening for registration.
Finally, Lucore will stop by Eagle Harbor Book Company from 5 to 6 p.m. to discuss and sign copies of her new book: “History of Pickleball – More Than 50 Years of Fun!”
This event is free and open to the public; no registration is required.
“My parents have been playing pickleball since 2000 and in 2010 I finally really gave it a try — and then I was hooked — like so many others,” Lucore said, recalling her introduction to the sport. “This sport is so fun.”
“There was no one location to find the history of pickleball, so [writing the book] became our personal mission to be the historians and gather the facts.”
Lucore, from California, is a professional pickleball player and a global pickleball ambassador. Her numerous gold medal championships include: 17-time USAPA Nationals, 11-time Canadian Nationals, four-time International, four-time Tournament of Champions, and many golds at both the US Open and Professional Pickleball Federation tournaments.
She is also a world known pickleball blogger, a founding members of the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association, a regular columnist and editorial board member for Pickleball Magazine, as well as a regular voice on The Pickleball Show Podcast.
The book, written with her mother Beverly (one of the first USAPA Ambassadors) is the result of the duo having spent three years researching and gathering stories from pioneers of the sport, as well as pulling from their personal experiences to bring you a fascinating compilation of pickleball history.
“[The] next step for me it to keep doing what I absolutely love,” Lucore said. “Everything pickleball, from social play, competing in tournament, posting on my blog [www.allpickleball.com] and traveling the world to share the happiness of picklebal.”
And for the sport she loves? Lucore said the future of pickleball is bright.
“Thinigs are just getting started,” she said. “Next step for pickleball — it is the fasting growing sport, just Google it. This year’s Nationals will be at the famous Indian Wells Tennis Center.”
Visit www.eagleharbor books.com/event/ history-pickleball-jennifer- lucore to learn more.