Pickleball Frenzy!

In the ever-expanding world of sports, there’s a game that’s been making quite the racket – and no, we’re not talking about curling, flag football or sport climbing. We’re talking about pickleball, a sport that’s sweeping the nation faster than a toddler with a sugar rush. So, grab your paddles and prepare to be served with the fascinating history of pickleball and everything you need to know about this “dill-ightful” sport, including where you can play it here in the City of Arts and Innovation!


Let’s time-travel to the summer of 1965, where the scene is a typical suburban backyard at Bainbridge Island, Washington. A certain Joel Pritchard and his buddies, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum were bored of their usual summer pastimes and found themselves trying to entertain their families with something new. Uncontent with games like shuffleboard or horseshoes, they decided to whip up their own game. Using a perforated plastic ball, some pingpong paddles, and a low badminton net, pickleball was born!


Rumor has it that the sport was named after Joel’s dog, Pickles, but real pickleball enthusiasts know the name of the game is credited to Joel’s wife, Joan (pronounced Jo-Ann) Pritchard who was rather fond of local “pickle boat” crew race competitions. She thought pickleball sort of threw bits of other games into the mix and decided that, “Pickle Ball” was an appropriate name.


Pickleball is a game that’s so easy, even you, the person reading this article, can play! It’s a mash-up of badminton and table tennis. The court is about the size of a badminton court, and the net is, well, shorter than your attention span during a long work meeting. Players use paddles that look like oversized ping-pong paddles to whack a wiffle ball back and forth. And the rules are a breeze!


You serve diagonally and need to get the ball over the net without committing any of the ‘no-nos’ like stepping into the kitchen (that’s the area close to the net). There’s a little bit more to the game, but if you’re real serious about the sport (believe us, there are some real pickleballers out there) you can find the official rulebook at: USApickleball.org.


If you’re eager to pickleball your heart out, you’re in luck because the City of Riverside offers plenty of courts for your sporting pleasure. There are currently 28 indoor and outdoor pickleball courts located at Bobby Bonds Park, Bryant Park, Hunt Park, La Sierra Park, Nichols Park, Reid Park, Shamel Park, and Villegas Park. There, you’ll find players of all skill levels and all ages, from beginners to seasoned pros, ready to welcome you into their ranks. You may even run in to members of the Riverside Pickleball Club. They regularly meet and play a couple rounds at Shamel and Villegas Parks. Equipment will be provided. For more information on meet up locations and times, visit:


So, there you have it, everything you never knew you needed to know about pickleball, the game that started with a few paddles, a wiffle ball, and a bit of boredom. Now, when someone asks you, “What’s the dill with pickleball?” you can confidently say, it’s the sport that’s taking the world by storm, one serve at a time! So, go out, grab a paddle, and join the pickleball party. No pickles required, but a sense of humor is a definite advantage!

Visit Riverside
Author: Visit Riverside