The town of Grand Falls-Windsor has invested in a new sport — they’ve dropped a grand on Pickle Ball equipment. Yes, Pickle Ball: a game of dinging dill pickles — instead of dodgeballs — at your opponent. Kidding!
It’s actually more like ping pong meets badminton, with the ball being a wiffle ball (a white plastic with holes in it). Wiffle balls take a gentle, slow flight relative to a tennis or racket ball. The oversized wooden rackets used to whack the ball make a nice, satisfying clack sound when they hit the ball. See the video below.
Locals over-wintering in Florida have been credited with bringing the Pickle Ball craze back home with them, and Councillor Mike Browne, chair of the recreation committee in Grand Falls-Windsor, was happy to invest in what they were on about.
Despite its 2 million US enthusiasts, Pickle Ball has a long way to go in Canada before its second only to Hockey. But you have to start somewhere, Newfoundland, and why not Grand Falls-Windsor?
The Official Pickle Ball website says, “Pickle Ball was created with one thing in mind: fun. It was designed to be easy to learn and play whether you’re five, eighty-five or somewhere in between.”
But it’s particularly popular among the elderly or not-so-active, as it provides exercise and entertainment without too much needless exertion of energy. You play on a tennis-like court, on 2-person teams, so, you need only defend your side of the court.
Once your opponent knocks the ball over the net, you must let it bounce once, and then return it over the net. The net is lower than a tennis net, again, making the game a little easier. And serves must be done underhand. butthe court is its own: there’s a “no volley zone” just to complicate the game.
None of this answers the big question: Why is it called Pickle Ball? You’d have to ask its inventor, former Congressman and Lt. Governor of Washington Joel Pritchard, who, in the mid-60s, named the sport after his dog, Pickle! Because boy, did Pickle ever love chasing and chomping on that wiffle ball.
The game was invented by Pritchard winging a Badminton set up for his kids one day. All he could find was a wiffle ball and some strange little boat paddles to keep them occupied.
Grand Falls-Windsor is wasting no time diving in. Pickle Ball sessions get Started on Monday, 7-9pm at the Windsor Pentecostal Church gym on King Street.