Adults play pickleball at Active Life

Published 7:37 pm Thursday, August 2, 2018

One of the country’s fastest-growing sports has made its way to The LaGrange Active Life, a recreation center for adults 55 and over. The sport in question is pickleball, which has developed a massive following in the United States in recent years. Citizens interested in expanding the reach of the game in Troup County approached The Active Life and director Dan Wooten approximately six weeks ago, pitching the idea of bringing the game to the center. The game has slowly gained traction since then at the center, with the hope participation will increase into the future. 

“We had heard about pickleball through some of the active participants at the Parks and Recreation Department,” Wooten said. “The Mike Daniel Recreation Center has hosted pickleball tournaments over the years.” 

Tony Martin was one of the interested citizens who brought the idea to The Active Life in May. Martin has been an avid pickleball player for years and felt the center could benefit from adding the activity to its repertoire. 

“We talked with Dan to try and get it going here,” Martin said. “The center was very receptive to the idea. This is one of the fastest growing sports in the country right now. Eventually it may be in the Olympics.”

The game is played with either two or four players on a 20-feet-by-44-foot court, with a 26-inch net in the center of the court. Players volley a hard whiffle ball with paddles back and forth across the net, and the game is similar to tennis and badminton. 

“It’s a great activity,” Brodie Dickinson said. Dickinson is a Miami native who moved to LaGrange in 2011 and picked up the game when The Active Life introduced it. “It’s great for movement, balance and hand-eye-coordination. It covers a lot of athletic abilities.”

Prior to The Active Life making a decision to find the funds to bring the game to its LaGrange center, Wooten and the staff took part in a non-traditional staff meeting, playing the game for themselves. 

“I participated myself, we had a staff meeting where all the staff played together,” Wooten said. “It was a great time.”

“They got fired up about it,” Martin said of The Active Life staff’s participation. “Now a few of them have picked the game up, too.”

For any interested parties, pickleball is played at the LaGrange location of The Active Life each Tuesday from 2:30 p.m.  to 4 p.m.