By Greg Price
The Town of Taber is hoping you will have a pickle of a time later this month.
With the new and improved Taber Community Centre Auditorium with all its renovations, the town is looking to maximize its recreational opportunities for the space and one of its flagship projects will be introducing pickleball to the public with instructional lessons.
“We saw pickleball at the Summer Games hosting last year in Taber and it was quite popular there,” said Dawn Phillips, director of recreation for the Town of Taber. “And I came from a community (Camrose) that it was hugely popular with seniors. Being a higher demographic of seniors, it was amazing to see how the sport took off there. When I got here, a few of us were brainstorming about programming ideas and that was definitely one that came up that we had the equipment for with the Summer Games. We wanted to do more programming in the auditorium, so this is just the first of many activities we are hoping to get in there.”
When the town renovated the auditorium, they kept the lines on the floor.
“We wanted to be able down the road to maybe do a basketball drop in, a parent/tot drop in where kids run around with balls, possibly volleyball. But, it was pickleball we chose to get this going, we have everything we need for it.”
Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, similar to a Wiffle Ball, over a net.
The sport shares features of other racquet sports, the dimensions and layout of a badminton court, and a net and rules somewhat similar to tennis, with several modifications.
Pickleball was invented in the mid 1960s as a children’s backyard pastime, but has become one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, making inroads into Canada as well.