Pickle Ball – What a strange name for a fun game. Is it something to put on a sandwich? Is it a snack to have while playing a ball game? NO! Pickleball is a game played indoors or out and is the fastest growing sport in the United States. The rapid growth of pickleball across the country has reached our area. In the Kane County/Kanab, Utah extended area, people of all ages are coming together to experience the fun, family friendly game. Folks from Kanab, Orderville, Fredonia, Valley and tourists are all enjoying it. Single people, couples and everyone else all enjoy playing with others. “I did not understand why this game was attracting so many people,” says Mike Amacher, “then I gave it a try. As a tennis player for many years, I picked up the game quickly and immediately it was fun to play. We play with all skill levels, so all new players find that they can compete and have fun their first time on the court.”
Left to right, photos by Pam Mortenson:
Pickleball players at the Kanab Center Gym, which is currently under construction.
Pickleball players enjoy a friendly match in Fredonia.
Pickleball is a fusion of tennis and ping pong usually played with two people on opposite sides of the net using paddles and a wiffle ball. Those who play often have learned that it is a sport of finesse and can be quite challenging. It’s a game of fast hits, slow hits, strategic or unplanned hits – but best of all, lucky hits. Win or lose, the game is a blast for every player, and some days are better than others. People ask themselves if they won or not, and they can’t remember – guess it doesn’t matter who “won”. While it is less physically demanding than some other sports it makes up for that with fun and health benefits. Pam Mortenson says this is a great way to lose weight and be healthy! “I hate standard ‘exercise’ but this game is fun and I play several times a week. The weight is melting off, I’m feeling better and I am having the time of my life.” Studies have shown that compared to walking at a self-selected pace for half an hour, people who played doubles pickleball for a half hour had 14 percent higher heart rates and burned 36 percent more calories. If you ramp up your game, you burn even more.
Pickleball is a family friendly game for people of all ages. Statistics show that most players are seniors, but the 20-40 year age group is growing fast. And many youth are also joining in the fun and showing they can be formidable. Nicole Zacharia, from Fredonia says, “Pickleball is fun for all ages and is irresistible! I’m so glad my mom invited me to play a game with her. I truly enjoy this sport and the friendly atmosphere that comes along with it.”
One tourist said, “This game has made a big difference in my life. When I first started to play, I would get tired. Now I can play several games and feel great while doing so.” He had found an exciting social activity to look forward to. Everyday life can be overwhelming. Meeting new friends and increasing self-confidence have made a difference for Michele Robinson-Page – she said, “I enjoy spending time with the most wonderful group of people ever. I have found an exciting social activity to look forward to and it has impacted my life in ways I could not have imagined.”
KCPBA members, friends, tourists and visitors play pickleball several times each week. At present our only location is at the tennis courts across from the hospital and by the library: 374 N Main St., Kanab. Check our Facebook page for times! Search ‘groups’ for “Pickleball in Kanab UT” or email KCPBAssn@gmail.com. We would love to have new friends, neighbors and visitors join us. We are working successfully toward having new permanent local courts where even more people can play in the future.