Monday, October 27, 2008

(As Posted in the Monthly Meadow Pointe II Newsletter)

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country today. It has found its way into our community and is gaining popularity very quickly with our residents. Surely some of you in Meadow Point have seen us playing on the tennis courts with balls and paddles that do not resemble tennis equipment at all. What is that game? And why is it called Pickleball?

The game of pickleball was introduced in the summer of 1965 on Brainbridge Island in the Puget Sound area of Washington, by Bill Bell, US Congressman Joel Pritchard and Barney McCallum. While playing the game, Pickles, the Pritchard’s cocker spaniel took a great interest in the game, particularly the ball, and would continually fetch the ball and hide it in the bushes and thus he managed to get the game named after him. The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) was formed in 1972 and the first official rule book was published. And, did you know that the very first national tournament was played right here in the State of Florida? Today the game has found its way into middle and high school PE classes as well as the Sr. Olympics competitions in several states.

The game captures your interest because it can be played by all ages, requires little equipment or cost and is easy to learn. Pickleball is an exciting game that is played on a badminton size court with the net lowered to 34 inches at the center. It is played with a perforated plastic ball, similar to a whiffle ball, and wood or composite paddles. While easy for beginners to learn, it can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for the experienced player. There are three unique facets of the game not found in any other racquet sport; the underhand serve, the double bounce rule and the non-volley zone. Like tennis it can be played as a Singles or Doubles game, and points are earned only when serving. The game is played to 11 points.

Rich and Donna Donald are Meadow Pointe Residents and Local Ambassadors for USAPA, and sit on the USAPA Planning Committee for the Atlantic South Region. They introduced the game to two of their friends in Meadow Point about a year ago. Today you may see as many as 15 or 18 players rotating play on the courts on any given evening. In February, Rich and Donna, with a league from Sun City Center, demonstrated the game with Charlie Belcher on Fox 13’s Good Day Tampa Bay. In April, Meadow Pointe residents, Don Bass and Renee Glassman joined the Donalds in a pickleball demonstration at the Nancy Bartles Middle School in Tampa, and would love to do the same next year right here at the John Long Middle School and the Wiregrass Ranch High School. Both Rich and Donna have competed in the Florida Senior Games and have brought the Gold Medals home to Wesley Chapel. Rich will be playing in the Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles at the Florida State Championship Games in December in Ft. Myers/Cape Coral. Florida will also be host the National Pickleball Tournament in Ft Myers in 2009.

The Pickleball League plays every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings rotating between the courts at MPI and MPII. Our players range from 14 years old, to Senior Citizens, so anyone reading this article can play!!! We get a little exercise, have some friendly competition, make some great new friends and have a lot of fun. However, we must caution you THE GAME IS ADDICTIVE !!

If you have tennis courts in your area, they can quickly be lined for pickleball. If you are interested in learning to play or learning more about the game, please contact Rich or Donna Donald 813-313-9265 / Or Renee Glassman at 813-907-7521 / For more information about the game visit or our Atlantic South Regional Blog at
To see more photos, click on Meadow Poine Players in the PHOTO GALLERY

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