Pickle ball players hope to grow sport

If you’ve never heard of pickle ball, you’re likely not alone.

Bernie Pinette (right) volleys a ball back to his opponents while Gord Mierau looks on. The duo

Bernie Pinette (right) volleys a ball back to his opponents while Gord Mierau looks on. The duo

If you’ve never heard of pickle ball, you’re likely not alone.

Neither had a group of Williams Lake residents who now play almost every day during the week at the Williams Lake Golf and Tennis Club.

Gord Mierau, Bernie Pinette and his wife Georgette Pinette discovered the unconventional racquet sport while vacationing in Phoenix during the winter.

They’ve since become hooked — recruiting, training and pursuing growing the sport in Williams Lake.

“We want to encourage people to come out and play and have some fun,” Mierau said. “People that thought they were done with sport can have a really good time and socialize, as well as get some great exercise.”

Pickle ball, which borrows elements of tennis, ping pong, badminton, squash and racquetball, is played on a 20-foot by 44-foot court with a paddle — mostly resembling a ping pong paddle and a plastic tennis-sized ball with holes. The sport can be played with just two players; however, it is more commonly a doubles game.

Its unique name, pickle ball, stems from an unlikely source — the creators’ family dog Pickles. Pickles would chase after errant balls, then hide them in the bushes. Pickle’s ball was a phrase often spoken during backyard matches until eventually it stuck.

Mierau and the Pinettes recently resurfaced one of the unused courts at the Williams Lake Golf and Tennis Club to accommodate the growing number of players and hope to continue to expand.

“We hope to gain three more courts and hope to have about 50 people coming out and then we’ll go from there,” Mierau said. “Right now we’ve got about a dozen people coming out to play and we have equipment on site for anyone who wants to learn.”

The group meets every day during the week at 9 a.m. and invites anyone interested to come try out the sport.

Mierau stressed the fact that anyone, young and old, can play the sport. He added it’s grown immensely in popularity in the U.S. over the past few years.

“Through our winter activity in the Phoenix area this was such a growing sport,” he said. “We went from 30 players to 150 players in a year and those were people that thought they were finished with some kind of physical activity or sport. The tournaments that happen down there encourage the competition, or lack of competition for social play.”

Bernie said the local group currently has players almost 80 years old, all the way down to his grandchildren. He added the sport doesn’t cost much to get into, especially since the group recently purchased on-site equipment at the Williams Lake Golf and Tennis Club.

“It’s a real cheap in and not expensive to get into at all,” Bernie said. “There’s no equipment you need other than running shoes. We have all the equipment here.”

He added, eventually, the group wants to become an official club once they get enough members.

“The golf course is working with us trying to promote this and get this going,” Bernie said. “We want to thank them.”

For more information, or to schedule a match with the current pickle ball players, contact the Pinettes at 250-392-3768 or e-mail them at pinettes@telus.net.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)
FRENCH CONNECTION: Skating rink welcomed

This lake one will not last long but is still worth it

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.
FOREST INK: New batteries close to industrial level applications

The good news is the hope that this cost should come down each year

Researchers in B.C. say earlier than usual return of bats or dead bats can indicate trouble, such as signs of white-nose syndrome. (Cathy Koot photo)
Public help is essential for monitoring for bat disease

Anyone finding a dead bat is asked to report it to the BC Community Bat Program

Sandi Griffiths is the region’s new district manager of transportation for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
New MOTI district manager takes the wheel in Williams Lake

Sandi Griffiths replaces Todd Hubner who retired recently

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Most Read