Home » Sports/Recreation » Greenbelter asks, “What in God’s name is pickleball?”

Greenbelter asks, “What in God’s name is pickleball?”

posted in: Sports/Recreation

The niche sport that has grown in popularity for teenagers and young adults over social media this year has been around in the senior community of Greenbelt since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

What began as four people playing pickleball — three of whom had never played before — turned into an organized senior program that meets four times a week for three hours. There is also a beginners group twice a week, Purely Fun Pickleball, where they coach newbies.

Abby Crowley, who has been playing with the club since January 2022, explains that the appeal of pickleball for an older generation is the fact that it’s “more doable” compared to tennis, since players are covering less territory. Pickleball courts have special lines on tennis courts that make the inbound area smaller than in a game of tennis.

“I came for the calories, but I stay for the friends,” said Crowley.

For veteran player Stanley Zirkin, when it became too cold to play tennis outside he began looking for an indoor sport to keep him active. Pickleball was suggested to him by a friend, to which he replied, “What in God’s name is pickleball?!” He has been playing since 2018, back when it was once or twice a week with tape temporarily lining their courts at the community center.

While some members admit that things can get rather competitive, and less experienced players aren’t always welcomed into a game with open arms, all four players I spoke to agreed that they’re happy to see the organization grow. They all enjoy playing together each week and challenging each other while staying active.

When asked about her feelings towards the sport growing in popularity among younger crowds, Crowley said, “As long as they don’t take up too much space on the court? I think it’s great.”

However, court space is already tight at the Greenbelt recreation center. With back-to-school programs ramping up again and the coming cold weather, the group fights to keep their weekly indoor time slots and is asking the community center for additional time in the evenings.

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Emily is a senior journalism major at the University of Maryland. She's currently writing to earn credit in her News Writing and Reporting class!

  1. Betty Ohler
    | Reply

    Great article. Nicely done.

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