If you're thinking to yourself "What in the world is Pickleball?", you're not alone.
I think the Pittsburgh Post Gazette article on Pickleball explained it the best. Here's what it had to say: "Pickleball takes the layout of a badminton court, then adds a slightly shortened tennis net and paddles similar to (but larger than) those used in pingpong. It's played with a Wiffle ball, under modified tennis rules. No actual cucumbers are involved."
No one is sure why it's called Pickleball, but with over 2 million people in North American playing the sport, it's clear that it's worth investigating. And, the truth is that Pittsburghers seem to be obsessed with all things pickles, so it only makes sense that the 2017 Gamma Pickleball Classic will be held in Pittsburgh on Jun 23-25 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center!
One cool thing about Pickleball is that it is a paddle sport created for all ages and skill levels. It has traditionally been a game played by retired people, but not so anymore! The rules are simple and easy to learn for beginners, but can quickly develop into a lightning fast, competitive game for experienced players.
Played either inside or outside on a court that combines both badminton and tennis elements, pickleball is played by either teams of doubles or single individuals. With the paddle, the players hit the whiffle ball in a similar fashion to tennis. As a main sport for retired residents, it's now growing in popularity in middle and high school physical education courses. All of this has led to an explosion of pickleball court construction across the United States, helping the more than 2.5 million pickleball players hone their skills.
As one of the top pickleball tournaments in the country, the Gamma Pickleball Classic reaches far and wide in terms of player turnout. The event welcomes players of all ages and skill levels to come and compete, as well as have fun enjoying the city. There will be a daily raffle, a volley challenge and a silent auction in addition to the actual tournament, so there's something for everyone!
Considered as a good form of therapy for those diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, the sport combines hand and eye coordination which in turn helps manage the disease's symptoms. As a result, this year's Gamma Pickleball Classic is benefitting Parkinson Foundation Western Pennsylvania. They expect to raise over $10,000!
Pittsburgh and pickles go hand in hand. Come see what Pickleball is all about or fine tune your skills at the Pickleball Classic later this month. Feel free just to come and RELISH the competition, or take a swing at this fun and energetic sport – it's a big DILL!
Holly, a born-and-raised Pittsburgher, is a wanna-be world traveler, amateur chef-in-training, dog lover and overall sports enthusiast. At any given time, you can find her pulling the strings behind @sports_pgh and the SportsPITTSBURGH Facebook page. Follow along!