What in the world is pickleball? 

It's the question that's swept the SouthCoast since Representative Bill Straus announced that construction would begin this summer to add pickleball courts at Fort Phoenix in Fairhaven.

I grew up in Washington State, actually not far from Bainbridge Island, the birthplace of pickleball, and actually played it quite a bit in high school when I took a one-semester Racquet Sports gym class. So I was shocked to see a bunch of confused comments about Fort Phoenix's new courts on a recent post in the Hometown Fairhaven, MA.

To answer the first question you're probably thinking, no, unfortunately pickleball doesn't involve actual pickles, although that would be a pretty interesting sight to see. Put simply, pickleball requires paddles and combines elements of tennis, ping pong and badminton. It's fast-paced, but accessible for just about every age group, from kids to the elderly.

Pickleball was invented in 1965 by three dads, Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum. According to USA Pickleball, origins of the sport's names vary, but some say Pritchard's wife, Joan, played a big part in the odd title. Because pickleball draws from a variety of other sports, Joan said it "reminded [her] of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats." On the other hand, many other pickleball enthusiasts, including McCallum, claim the game was named after the Pritchards' dog, Pickles. I mean, when you have a dog with that cute of a name, how could you not name your up-and-coming sport after them?

In a press release last month, Straus announced that construction would begin on six new pickleball courts at Fort Phoenix in early June with a completion date in October.

If you're looking for a new sport to get into, pickleball might just be the next hottest thing on the SouthCoast and you have some time to learn the rules before the new courts break ground in Fairhaven!

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