June 3, 2022
MPCC tennis courts will be converted into pickleball courts
The ever-growing ‘addictive’ game is the reason the four existing tennis courts at Memorial Park Community Center, 510 Bert St., will be closed Monday, June 6 through the end of June while they convert to 12 pickleball courts. .
In August, city commissioners approved approximately $100,000 for the conversion, which will include resurfacing the courts, refurbishing, installing permanent pickleball nets, and reorienting the courts to Bert Street.
Demand for courts in Johnson City has continued to flourish for years, and the sport’s popularity continues to grow nationally. Johnson City’s first-ever pickleball tournament was held inside the MPCC in 2018, and the event attracted potential players, organizers and sponsors about its potential growth. The buzz has only increased.
“We have 234 players at MPCC, and that’s up from 64 players in 2015,” said Deb Fogle, Senior Services Manager. “There are currently nearly 500 players in the Tri-Cities area playing pickleball.
“It’s not just a senior sport, and there’s an opportunity for growth in young adults, teens and children. We have seen an increase in the number of college-aged students playing pickleball on MPCC outdoor courts. It’s a great sport for the family.
With 4.8 million people playing now — nearly double the number five years ago, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association — some of the sport’s enthusiasts are taking advantage of pickleball’s growing popularity.
Most major pickleball players are over 65 and play more than eight times a year, but the game is getting younger, with the strongest growth among players under 55, according to USA Pickleball.
The game was created by three men from Bainbridge Island, Washington, who were looking to give their bored children something to do during the summer. The wife of one of the men named it pickleball after the “pickle boat,” the nickname for the last boat to return with its catch after a fishing trip.
Pickleball can be played by all ages, but the short court has attracted older players who may not be able to cover court on a full-sized tennis court in as little time as before. It is played in elementary schools, community and recreation centers, country clubs, and many other places. Play not only provides exercise but also an extremely conducive environment for socialization. Played much like tennis with a twist of ping pong, the sport combines elements of these racket games, as well as badminton.
Pickleball is played with a plastic ball pierced with holes and a racket approximately 8 inches wide and 16 inches long. The court – often adapted from a tennis court – measures 20 feet wide by 44 feet long.
The game now has two national professional tournaments, both formed over the past four years, and pickleball organizers are courting commercial sponsors to help grow the sport in the United States and abroad as part of a bid. to Olympic inclusion.
The new pickleball courts will be available for use in July. For more information on pickleball opportunities at Memorial Park Community Center, call 423-434-6237 or 423-434-5749.