Earlier this year, Gov. Jay Inslee—by law—made pickleball the official sport of Washington. It makes sense. The game was invented in our state in 1965. But I believe the legislation was also made possible by influence that extends beyond Washington borders. Currently, the game of pickleball is red hot in our nation. The Parade cover story that was published yesterday acknowledging the fact was just a formality.
With enthusiasm continuing to grow, I suppose Washington declared it our state’s official state sport before another state swooped in and did the same, thus delivering a heavy dose of embarrassment to all Washingtonians.
Pickleball is a great game. My first time playing it was at Northwood Middle School in Spokane. The physical education curriculum offered a special racquet sports unit that a limited number of students could sign up for. As a seventh grader I successfully got my name on the list. Over the course of a few weeks, I improved my ping pong skills and dabbled in badminton. But the best part of the unit was an introduction to the sport of pickleball. The PE teachers running the unit set up a couple courts in the cafeteria gym and I felt the addicting nature of smacking the wiffle ball with the oversized paddles.
I repeated the unit in eighth grade, too. I remember my partner and I finishing second in the pickleball round robin tournament, losing to the eventual champions in a hard-fought match characterized by several long volleys that grew my admiration for the game even more.
Over the years I have not played pickleball as much as I would have liked, but perhaps now is the time to re-commit (because everyone likes the bandwagon trend adopter, right?). Spokane boasts parks with pickleball courts and if the enthusiasts who continue to write letters to the editor in the Spokesman-Review have their way, more might be coming.
Do you play pickleball? If so, let me know when you started playing and where you currently go to get your pickleball fix. Don’t Blink.