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YMCA set to host free ‘pickleball’ game Saturday

File photo
A mixed (gender and age) doubles match in Pickleball.

File photo A mixed (gender and age) doubles match in Pickleball.

GREENFIELD — On Saturday, from 6 to 8 p.m., the YMCA in Greenfield is offering a free pickleball social event for those age 19 and older. Y members will be available to give a brief introduction to try this fun and easy game.

“Pickleball fever has arrived at the Y and adults of all ages are playing,” said Dave Garapollo, YMCA Youth & Family director. “In case you haven’t yet heard of this new game, it’s time to catch up because pickleball has become the fastest growing sport in North America and at our Y.

“What is pickleball? Think tennis, but you serve underhand. Think badminton, but the net is a lot lower.”

The U.S. Pickleball Association, USAPA.org calls the game a “highly contagious, progressive and incurable disease” that is sweeping the nation, especially with the growing population of baby boomers who are looking to stay active. While the game is fun for all ages, it has quickly become the game of choice for seniors because it doesn’t require the same mobility as tennis.

Pickleball was introduced in 1965 on Bainbridge Island near Seattle as a backyard family game on a badminton-sized court — 44 feet by 20 feet — with a 34-inch net. The inventors used wooden paddles and a whiffle ball that happened to belong to the family’s cocker spaniel, Pickles.

Because of his habit of running after stray balls and hiding them in the bushes, Pickles became the game’s namesake.

Garappolo added, “The sport is a mix of table tennis, paddle tennis, badminton and tennis. It is a great fit for seniors because it is very easy to learn, doesn’t require the mobility of tennis, and uses an underhand serve. The smaller court also creates a social atmosphere, and playing doubles and/or mixed doubles is promoted.”

The Y’s entire gym is used for pickleball on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 5:30 to 9:55 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:15 to 9:25 p.m., and Sunday mornings. Pickleball is free to Y members at these times. Non-members can pay a $9 fee. The Y provides all necessary equipment or players can bring their own.

Wear loose clothing and gym shoes.

For more information, call Garapollo at 773-3646, ext. 436, or for membership information, call 773-3646.

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