Pickleball in full swing

Fun new sport picking PGOSA up players in Oceanside

PGOSA pickleball club's Pat Chapman leans into a return while teammate Fran Beatty watches on during their spirited match at the outdoor lacrosse box last Friday.

The sport of pickleball is flourishing in its new home down at the outdoor lacrosse box, as evident last week by the spirited rallies and the sounds of laughter.

Soaking up the sun and having a ball as part of Parksville Golden Oldies Sports Association (PGOSA’s) Pickle-ball Club when we dropped by were Anne Howarth, Linda Hays, Fran Beatty and Pat Chapman.

Chapman and his brother will be teaming up to compete in pickleball at the B.C. Seniors Games being held in Kamloops Aug. 20-24.

“We started the summer with 24 or something and within three weeks we were at 86 which is the most ever,” Howarth said when asked about the league’s numbers.

There is a waiting list, and as of Monday the number of registered players was reported to have climbed to 95.

Key to the increased numbers are the extra courts added to the outdoor lacrosse box.

The City of Parksville put the courts in quickly for them pointed out one of the players, explaining how the city marked out two courts on the tennis courts nearby “and then we just grew so fast they just slammed these six courts out for us (here in the lacrosse box). They did a great job.”

“It is,” they all agreed in unison when asked if it’s as fun as it looks. “It’s a lot faster than people think.”

Beyond being a good form of exercise, it is also a great release valve for those with a competitive nature.

The PGOSA Pickleball Club holds court every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon at the outdoor box, and Chapman was quick to extend an open invitation to anyone interested in checking it out.

“It’s excellent,” confirmed Howarth, “it’s $15 a year to join PGOSA for seniors, so it’s cheap, and pickle-ball is $10 a year play.”

The league plays outdoors May to October and move inside to area gyms in the winter.

Players have to be a member of PGOSA, the local sports association for 55’s and over.

THE RULES

Pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court: 20’ x 44.’ The ball is served diagonally (starting with the right-hand service-square), and points can only be scored by the side that serves.

Players on each side must let the ball bounce once before volleys are allowed, and there is a seven-foot no-volley zone on each side of the net, to prevent “spiking.”

The server continues to serve, alternating service courts, until he or she faults.

The first side scoring eleven points and leading by at least two points wins. Pickleball® can be played with singles or doubles.