Pickle-ball is a sport that brings many racket sports together into an inclusive game for all ages.
“If you have played a racket sport then you should adapt to the game fairly quickly. Indoors it is played on a badminton court. It combines badminton, squash, racket ball, tennis and table tennis. It uses all the racket skills,” said Donna Bradley, the Fernie ambassador of the sport.
Bradley brought the sport to Fernie and is an advocate for how inclusive and enjoyable the game is.
“I play it all summer, I love to play it. It is a great game, a great activity with great socialization. I thought lots of people would enjoy it and they have,” she said.
The sport was introduced to Fernie in the late fall of last year. It started with a core group of players who play the game during the summer.
“We started in November 2015. Several of us played pickle-ball over the summer and we wanted to have something to do in the winter as well. A lot of us go to our cottages, go down south to Arizona, Florida and Texas and they say that it is the fastest growing sport right now. We have a lot of people from Ontario too,” said Bradley.
Participation for the sport has flourished from a core group and continues to grow almost every week.
“Every day it grows, this session we have one new person. Every week we get one or two people coming out to give it a try,” said Bradley. “We have a lot of tennis players, we approached them first and they really picked it up. It is nice to have a racket in your hand over the winter. It’s an off-season sport for people that play tennis and when the ski conditions are bad we get a lot more pickle-ballers.”
It has grown so much that Bradley has started to consider looking for additional courts.
“We can’t get enough courts, it is a great facility but we are already packed in here we need another one,” said Bradley. “We play three times a week, Monday morning at 9 a.m. to about 11 a.m. or so, Thursday morning at 10:15 to about 12:45 and Tuesday night from 7:45 to 10:45 p.m.”
While the sport is catching on they welcome all ages and abilities levels to come and participate whenever they can.
“It’s just a drop in fee, it’s a six-dollar drop in fee and we have paddles for use and provide the balls. It’s great fun, and a great activity,” said Bradley.