Tofino celebrated Canada's national Sports Day by hosting a pickleball open house at the community hall on Nov. 21.

Tofino has a ball at pickleball ‘Try it Day’

“I find after an hour to an hour-and-a-half of playing this, you’ve had a good little workout," said Tofino local Duncan Speight.

 

There was a pickleball open house at the Tofino Community Centre on Nov. 21, to celebrate RBC Sports Day in Canada – a nationwide event that encourages Canadians to get out and play.

Tofino retiree Duncan Speight has been playing the easy-going racquet sport with his wife, Betty Wilson, since June. He says he enjoys it both for the cardio and the social aspect.

“I find after an hour to an hour-and-a-half of playing this, you’ve had a good little workout. You’re breathing and your heart rate is up,” said Speight.

Pickleball blends the rules of tennis and badminton, and the instruments of play include an oversized table tennis racket, a wiffle ball, and a lowered badminton net. Originally invented in the summer of 1965 by Joel Pritchard from Washington state, pickleball is easy to learn and easy on the body, making it especially popular with the baby booming generation.

“The wife of the guy who invented the game, she made some comment about it looking like a pickle boat coming and that’s how they named it,” said Donna Fraser, one of the pickleball try-it day event organizers.

“A lot of people just can’t play tennis anymore because their knees can’t take it, so it’s a smaller game, but still lots of fun ‘cause it’s very social,” she said.

With laughter being the notable outcome after each rally, it’s plain to see why Fraser and Speight are hooked on the convivial pastime.

Still, while it might come with a whimsical name and friendly inclination, competitive prowess is not completely outlawed on the pickleball court.

“The sport is evolving. People are getting a lot better. Initially, people were just trying to hit it over the net, but as you are able to do that, now you’re starting to put top spin and under spin,” said Tofino local and avid pickleball player Gurmail Aujla.

The Tofino Pickleball Club meets four times a week. Saturday and Monday, 9-11 a.m. at the Tofino Community Hall; Thursday 6-8 p.m. at the Tofino Community Hall; and Tuesday 5:15-7 p.m. at Wickaninnish Community School. All ages are welcome and equipment is provided.

For more information, contact Gurmail: gurmailsaujla@gmail.com.

 

Nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca