Penticton’s newly formed outdoor pickleball club will soon have a home to play on.
Mark Tamblyn, president of the Penticton Pickleball Club, said outdoor courts near the Senior’s Drop-In Centre are expected to open on Sept. 30. Tamblyn recently started a membership drive and figures many of the 240 indoor players will join. Once the courts open, Tamblyn said they will be able to get a month of action in before it gets too cold. The courts will be open to whoever wants to play and there won’t be a fee.
“They can hardly wait,” he said. “We anticipate in Penticton, once these courts are in, and people start playing, that the membership is going to start to grow. There is a whole community of new players waiting to get the opportunity to play.”
Tamblyn praised Penticton city council for the foresight to build the courts.
“It was very good of them. There are people that will move from other communities, I know two people already,” said Tamblyn. “Now that we’re getting the outdoor courts, people have told me they are going to come.”
In a memo to council, Tamblyn wrote that having courts can help citizens be more active, especially seniors, and that it can be a new sport for youth. Penticton can also reap economic benefits from tournaments, especially once four more courts are added. The courts could also help Penticton host the 55-Plus B.C. Games as the game is an official sport in the B.C. Senior Games. Council decided last May to create the courts for around $90,000 and received grant money to help with costs.
Tamblyn said a reason the sport is popular with older players is because once they are not able to run as much for tennis, pickle ball becomes a good option to stay active.
“It’s actually an excellent sport. A lot of young people are starting to pick it up now,” he said. “The ball moves slower and it gives you a chance to react. It’s a lot of fun.”
Kim Hun Kopp is among the young players who came out for indoor sessions in the Penticton Community Centre last year.
“Every time I come out I’m happy,” Hun Kopp told the Western News at the time. “People here are just so nice to me.
“You come out and make a lot of friends, it’s a friendly game,” continued Hun Kopp. “It’s a good game too. I love running around the court.”
The PCC will host a fundraising tournament on Oct.2-3 at the Penticton Community Centre. More information on the tournament can be found at www.pentictonpickleball.blogspot.ca.
The PCC was originally created by Jack Byron in 2002. He is part of the current nine-member executive.
B.C. has 9,123 registered players and there are 124 locations to play.
Those interested in joining the PCC can do so by going to the blog and clicking on the membership tab to fill one out.
Pickleball was started in 1965 by U.S. congressman Joel Pritchard and became a sport in 1972. Two or four players use paddles to hit a ball over a badminton-like net on a badminton sized court.