Pickle ball: America’s fastest growing sport comes to KWU.

Written by on April 4, 2023

Pickleball has been one of the fastest growing sports around the world and it has been around longer than you thought. Pickleball was created by three men in 1965, Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum. In 1967 the first pickleball court was constructed in the backyard of Pritchard’s home. In 1972 an official corporation was founded for the sport. In 1976 the first ever pickleball tournament was held in Tukwila, Washington. It became popular quickly with college students who wanted to learn more about the sport. In 1982 tournaments began playing all around the state of Washington. In 1984 a big breakthrough happened United States Amateur Pickleball Association was founded and pickleball was on a national level. The paddles were made using fiberglass/Nomex honeycomb panels. In 1990 pickleball was starting to be played in all 50 states. In 2001 pickleball was introduced as an Olympic sport and in 2003 it was played at the Huntsman World Senior Games. In 2005 a new corporation was founded for the sport called the USA Pickleball Association. In 2009 the first USAPA national tournament was held in Buckeye, Arizona. In 2015 the USAPA surpassed 10,000 members and by 2016 it had surpassed more than 17,000 members. The first US open pickleball championships were held in Naples, Florida and the sport was nationally televised for the first time. The USAPA also partnered with Saint Jude’s which gave it more national attention. In 2017, the USAPA inducted its first hall of fame class with the three original creators included. In 2022 pickleball was named the fastest growing American sports for the second consecutive year with the national tournament drawing 2,300 players and $150,000 in prize money. Currently pickleball is played by more than 8.9 million people in the US and USAPA has over 70,000 members.  

Pickleball’s comparable sport is tennis. Pickleball is played with wooden paddles, uses a wiffleball as the ball and uses a miniature tennis net, and not a regular sized one. Pickleball is typically played in teams of two, you must serve underhand to the other player in their “kitchen” area. After the first serve, you can choose to let the ball bounce once or hit it out the air to the other team. But if the ball bounces twice or you hit it out of bounds, that is a point for the other team. Also, the only way your team can score is if you serve. Pickleball is a fun sport for all that can be used for physical activity all the way from amateur to professional players. The KWU intramurals is putting on the first pickleball league, it is being played at the brand new pickleball court installed outside the student activities center. The league started on March 28th and the championship game will be played on April 12th. I think this is a great choice by KWU to play this sport and show it off to students who have never played it before.  

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