Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Pickleball comes to Moose Lake

 

Courtesy Tim Caroline

A group plays pickleball at the Riverside Arena.

Pickleball has started at Riverside Arena in Moose Lake.

According to the USA Pickleball Association, pickleball is "a fun sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong." Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, similar to a whiffle ball, over a net. Pickleball was invented in Bainbridge Island, Washington by three dads to give their children a new summertime activity. According to the wife of one of the creators, they named the game pickleball because "the combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats." However, one of the other fathers insisted the game was named after their friend's dog "Pickles."

The size of the court used for pickleball is similar to badminton, and four courts have been taped off at the arena.

Tim Caroline, one of the organizers of the Moose Lake Area Pickleball Club, explained how it started in the area.

"I got involved a couple of years back when I received pickleball paddles and balls from my family as a Christmas gift," he said. "Sue and I started playing at the Sand Lake Tennis Court and had a blast doing it. We taught a community ed class at school to teach people how to play and score the game."

The Carolines wanted to share the sport with the community and talked to Guyal Nelson, the manager of Riverside Arena, about setting up courts.

"He was all for it," said Caroline. "We taped down the lines. Nineteen people showed up the first Monday evening. We had eight on Wednesday morning but I received many messages from people that weren't able to attend. I think that it is going to grow."

Caroline explained that people of any age can play the game and couples can play together.

"It's a great game to play," he said. "It doesn't matter if it is two women, two guys or a couple. Several people that came were happy to find something that couples can play."

The investment in equipment varies.

"You can spend from $15 to over $100 for paddles," said Caroline. "A company that I bought my paddles from is going to give out 1,000 paddles across the country. I sent in an application to see if we can get some of those paddles."

Caroline described the game and the court.

"The net is lower than a tennis court," he said. "It is 36 inches instead of 42 inches from the ground in tennis. The court is 20 feet wide by 44 feet long. There is a seven-foot area on each side of the net that is called the 'kitchen.' Players need to stay out of the kitchen. They can't run up to the net like they do in tennis. The ball is served underhanded. Players can score only when serving so some games take a while. They need to score 11 points for a game."

Pickleball is played on Monday evenings at Riverside Arena from 6-8 pm and on Wednesday mornings from 9-11 am. Watch for posters in businesses or visit the Facebook page, Moose Lake Area Pickleball Club. Visit the website at mlapbclub.wixsite.com for more information or just stop in when pickleball is being played. The email address is mlapbclub@gmail.com.

"There are unique rules to the game," said Caroline. "It was amazing to see people that were there for the first time pick it up fairly quickly. It is a social activity. We were so excited at the end of the first night to see people that came out and had so much fun."

There is a $2 donation each time to cover the cost of equipment.

 

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