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Pickleball Fever is sweeping Victoria

Photos courtesy of Malcolm Macaulay

 Unlike the flu that comes and goes, once you’ve been exposed to pickleball, you’ll have the fever for life, which is a good thing, considering the enjoyment, exercise, and camaraderie that characterizes the game. Pickleball (named after the inventor’s dog “Pickle”) was invented about 50 years ago on Bainbridge Island, Washinton and 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 have recently formed an Association to complement the Vancouver Island Pickleball Association (www.vipa.ca). More information is available through Trish Main ([email protected]), President of the Victoria Regional Pickleball Association.

Nearly every day at one of the local rec centres, you can hear the distinctive sound of thunk … thunk … thunk, which to pickleballers means fun … fun … fun! Guaranteed, you will smile more playing pickleball than doing anything else on the planet. Well, just about anything else! Don’t take my word for it, come on out and give it a go. Only then will you understand why nearly everyone who takes up the game gets addicted.

On Dec. 16, 2016 the second annual Christmas Pickleball Tournament was held at Pearkes Rec Centre. Over 60 players participated in this all-day event, stopping only for a pizza lunch and occasional yuletide snacks.

A special thanks to Robin Milliken and a host of volunteers for running the tournament and purchasing prizes, ranging from bags of chocolates to a pickleball paddle and dinner for two. Players are already looking forward to next year’s event.

Medals were awarded to the top three teams in A and B divisions as follows:

“A” Division

Gold: Mike Priestly   Kathy Thomson

Silver: Brian Jenkins   Mike Vidler

Bronze: Lori Murray   Larry MacDonald

“B” Division

Gold: Ken Cairns   Ralph Austerman

Silver: Allanah Fuhre   Mary Orme

Bronze: Meng Fand   Edith Ritzer