On the poured floor, athletes of every age and ability step up for their favorite sport, activity or pastime. Puzzled by players on the north end of the Alliance Recreation Center (ARC) gym? Don’t be. What appears to be a cross between tennis and life-size ping pong is a real game — pickle ball.
During a recent non-league doubles game, player Carolyn Farritor explained rules between volleys. The intro did not seem too involved.
ACR patrons seem to agree. Director Mara Anderson quoted one participant as having said, “We have about 70 players.”
Gaining popularity throughout the United States, the sport has been quick to catch on here as well. The former YMCA site hosted it first league this winter, from December to January. Fourteen players, ages 16 and older, took part in co-ed competitive pickle ball.
Anderson noted the format is what they figure “people like best” with doubles play the most popular configuration.
Tim Sherlock and Tom Messersmith spearheaded the sport at the ARC with support from board member Rich Zochol. Anderson wrote a grant in 2017 to pay for initial equipment (nets, racquets and related items) then secured another grant for the after school program. She first encountered pickle ball at a recreation center in the Denver area.
The next league is set to begin March 4, expanding to an “A” team for experienced players and “B” league for the beginners.
Contact the ARC for details.