Photos by Geoff Sisemore of GS 806 Photography
You may or may not be familiar with the rising popularity of the sport of Pickleball, but, once you discover how easy it is to learn to play, and the fun it can bring to different levels of athleticism, and to each generation, you will want to check it out.
We recently spent an afternoon with three generations of the Bolton family and enjoyed watching them play and interact with one another. Grandparents Scott and Vicki Bolton, son Shannon, and grandsons Brant and Carson, are certainly different ages and also enjoy different levels of play, but, as Scott “Pop” said, “We can all make winning shots.”
The game is a unique mix between tennis, badminton, and ping pong. The court is smaller than a tennis court, the balls are plastic and about the size of a softball. One uses a paddle just a bit larger than a ping pong paddle to keep the ball moving across the net. Most games are played with partners because much of the game happens within a few feet of the net hitting the ball quickly while trying to place the ball strategically.
Shannon and his boys found out about the game from Jim Blacketer at the Burgess-Rushing Tennis Center. Scott mentioned that he loves playing together as a family because all ages can play against one another and stay competitive. Mutual friendships are also developed as each age group crosses over to play with others depending on their skill level. Shannon and Carson have even played in a couple of recreational tournaments.
About the same time Shannon and his boys learned of the sport, Scott and Vicki witnessed a few playing in Ruidoso. Having played tennis as young adults, they were intrigued and watched for a while, then took up the sport about a year ago. Scott was quick to point out, “Play this sport with your wife. It gives you something in common—a chance to love and laugh together sharing time with each other.”
Shannon, Brant, and Carson also have tennis backgrounds and showed great athletic skills while this afternoon of play took place. Grandparents Scott and Vicki had no problem keeping up with the boys; however, the joy on the court was watching the playful interactions between them all as they teased one another, encouraged one another, and just enjoyed playing a sport together as a family.
For those wanting to try it out, there are free clinics offered occasionally to introduce the sport to those interested. Equipment will be provided and it’s a great way to see if this is a sport that you and your family would enjoy. Private lessons are also available from a couple of instructors in the area.
At this time, The Falls Tennis Club offers a couple of times to play Pickleball and the Burgess-Rushing Tennis Center has a couple of courts marked and available with a few dedicated times of play for those seeking regular activity. However, if you have some tape and a portable Pickleball net, one can set up a court on any level playing surface.
If you are interested in learning how to play, or want to interact with those that play, feel free to join a group called Lubbock Plays Pickleball on Facebook which you can link to here https://www.facebook.com/groups/1640762732890041/