Pickleball—it’s the latest on-trend sport you keep hearing about. Developed in 1978 but recently surging in popularity—it’s one signature away from becoming the official state sport of Washington State.
So I tried it—despite being out of shape, a little overweight, and never having watched or played the game—and this is what happened.
A little nervous and not knowing what to expect, I arrived to find two dozen players already on the courts, warming up and greeting each other. I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb.
However, any anxiety or nervousness went away when I met my future pickleball coach, Alice. She could see I was new, got me signed in, took my $3 fee, and lent me a paddle. She then told me I was wearing the perfect outfit and shoes. That was already a win—at least I dressed the part!
The courts are divided by skill and speed level, so I ended up on the slow/beginners court. She stayed with me and taught me about the “kitchen” (the area closest to the net on both sides) with its main rule that you are to stay out of it.
Learning why it’s called the kitchen would have to wait for another day. For the record, though, there are no pickles involved.
After a few lessons in serving and practice on the beginner court, it was time for a scored game with other players. Nothing like being thrown right into the fire!
Was I ready for this? It didn’t take long to realize I might not be. I would watch the plastic Wiffle ball whizz past my outstretched racket without contact.