Pickleball’s Impact On Campus

By Adam Meyer

A team on campus is introducing the community to a new lifestyle. Pickleball is a game that is not recognized by the average person. Usually when looking at a game of pickleball for the first time watchers are usually astonished by the speed of the game and the way it is played. This is no ordinary sport, although the history of the sport indicates it was created in 1965 off the coast of Seattle. The origin of the sport comes from three fathers and their claims that their children were “bored” during summer.

According to USAPA (United States of America Pickleball Association) the property had an old badminton court so Pritchard and Bell (two of the fathers of the children) looked for some badminton equipment but could not find any.

The game was then improvised with ping pong paddles and a plastic ball. The overall goal of the game was to bring families together to play, similar to badminton. The creators first played the game with a regular badminton net but decided to lower it after they realized that the ball that they were playing with bounced well on the concrete. Even though most tennis players engage in the sport the rules were closely based on badminton rules. Also the name pickleball did not originate from the cucumber.

According to USAPA a year or two after the game was invented, the Pritchards purchased a cocker spaniel and named it pickles. As the game progressed, an official name was needed and “pickleball” was it.

The story of the origins of pickleball correlates to Quincy University and its students in a way that represents a new generation being brought into the sport, bringing it into the eyes of people who may not have seen it before.

A pickleball club was recently created on campus. But there was one concern with the club, how could there be one without a court? That question was soon solved as the outdoor basketball court across from Friars is now repurposed to be a pickle ball court, colors of purple and light blue now illuminate the court.

The tennis team was first to know about the club and sport, but they were also the first to play it.

“The tennis team usually tries to warm up with pickleball,” Dane Mechali said.

Mechali also explained about the importance of the sport to tennis ability, and how the two are interchangeable with form and foot movement. The club is not only open to students but the community as well. This is an attempt to bring campus life to community life, not only bringing students together but bringing students and community members together. Tournaments are planned to be held when the weather conditions allow. 

Kay Bettendorf who is a softball player for Quincy University is also a member of the club.

“Pickleball is a sport that anyone can play. Doesn’t matter if you’re athletic or not pickleball is for everyone. And I joined because I loved playing it in high school and it has a competitive component to it that I also enjoy,” Bettendorf said.

It seems the creators’ intent of having everyone have the ability to play is proven to be successful with the nation wide positive response to the sport.

Beginner players including Adam Rogan and Noah Randall just started the sport this year.

“Pickleball is new to me, I haven’t heard much about it until one day I saw the outside court was re-painted,” Rogan said.

Both Rogan and Randall wish to play pickleball in the spring when the weather is not as cold.

“The first week of school I had no clue this was a club, and I wanted to play after I saw a couple of tennis players playing,” Rogan said.

Quincy University’s court was a contributor to the growth of the sport in Quincy. Before the courts on campus there were a few created in Moorman Park Quincy, IL.

According to the USAPA number of places to play has more than doubled since 2010. There are nearly 4,000 locations on the USAPA’s Places to Play Map.

Students who join the club will receive a long sleeve shirt that says pickleball club on it. These shirts are also a form of advertising for the club because not all students may know what the club is or entails.

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