Pickleball is cruising towards becoming a Global Sport!
Posted on April 19 2018
Pickleball & Cruises
Much of the country, the world really, has no clue what pickleball is. They’ve never heard of it and probably assume that it has something to do with pickles (it doesn’t). But the next time they hit the high seas for a vacation cruise, they will be able to play the game on ships from three different cruise lines.
Holland America will be joining Princess and Regent Seven Seas by offering pickleball to passengers on their 14 cruise ships. According to Erik Elvejord, Holland America’s director of public relations, it was an easy choice to make since the company was getting numerous requests from guests for it.
Tino Carrillo, the assistant cruise director on one of Holland America’s ships (the Volendam), says the game has been somewhat popular among the ship’s older passengers (AZCentral.com):
“You typically play doubles, so it’s less tiring than some other sports,” he says. “It’s more accessible for everybody. It’s something fresh and new that more and more people are enjoying playing.”
What is pickleball?
It’s so new (but technically not) that many people will not have a clue what it is. The game is described as a cross between tennis, ping pong (or table tennis), and badminton. It’s not played with a racket, but instead uses paddles. Rather than hit a shuttlecock or tennis ball back and forth, players hit a wiffleball. It can be played indoors as well as outside and is safe, easy, and fun for all ages.
The game has seen its popularity explode in recent years, especially in warm weather climates like Florida and Arizona as well as among retirement communities. Locations geared towards playing pickleball have more than doubled across the country since 2010. However, the origin of the game dates back to the mid-1960s.
As the story goes, former Washington Congressman Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell, a local businessman, had returned to Pritchard’s home after playing golf and found their families bored and in need of something to do. There was an old badminton court on the property, but they couldn’t find any badminton equipment. So, they compromised and used some ping pong paddles and a Wiffle ball.
The new game was a hit, and the rest, as they say, is history.
How did Pickleball get its name?
But why ‘pickleball?’ Were they going for something odd on purpose? Or was it just dumb luck?
There are two stories as to how the game got its name. According to one, the name came from Pritchard’s wife, Joan, who started to call it that because “the combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.”
The other explanation came from Barney McCallum, who helped Pritchard and Bell develop the rules. He says it was named after the Pritchard Family dog, Pickles. Apparently, Pickles liked to get involved in the game as well:
“The Pritchards had a dog named Pickles, and you’re having fun at a party, right? So anyways, what the hell, let’s just call it pickleball.”
How it got the name doesn’t matter, of course. What does is that the game is becoming more and more popular. So popular, in fact, that you can play it on your next vacation in the South China Sea (or wherever Holland America, Princess, or the Regent Seven Seas sails).
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