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The Origin of Pickleball

Where does the pickle come from?

Legend goes that to entertain their families one summer day on Bainbridge Island, WA, dads Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum improvised a fun game that threw together the equipment they had on hand: table tennis paddles, their old badminton court (but not enough racquets), and a perforated plastic ball.

It was a happy mix of existing sports and spirited ingenuity. Joan Pritchard called the new game pickleball, referring to the sailing nickname "pickle boat" for the boat with a motley group of sailors rounded up as crew just before the start of a race.

But that makeshift game founded in 1965 had a big future.

According to Karen Rust, president of Pickleball Canada, a recent Ipsos survey indicates that about 900,000 households in Canada now play the sport, increased from an estimated 350,000 two years ago. The pandemic has been good to pickleball.

Players of pickleball are divided almost equally between the genders, with 53% male and 47% female.

Pickleball can be played as a singles or doubles game and has rules of modification for standing players and wheelchair players.

Since the building of the first permanent court in 1967, the sport has become popular throughout the world, with an International Federation of Pickleball regulating the sport in countries such as Canada, the US, France, Spain, and the UK.

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