BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The game of Pickleball has been around since 1965. It originated in Bainbridge Island, Washington when two men decided to use an old badminton court to get their families out of the house and give them something to do. They couldn't find badminton rackets so they improvised and used ping pong paddles with a perforated ball.
More than 350 people are members of the Brunswick Forest Pickleball club. They play on brand new pickleball courts in the community almost every day.
The courts are similar to tennis courts but they are much smaller in size. Don't be fooled, the game can be very challenging.
"They say you're not really supposed to be doing a lot of running. If you're really good you're supposed to be at the net doing this kind of thing (pivoting with the paddle) said Nancy Camden, pickleball player.
Pickleball is played with a smaller version of a wiffle ball and a paddle, NOT a racket.
Marty Smith, a Brunswick County USA pickleball ambassador, says pickleball is popular with the older generation. "It's not as invasive on the knees or the ankles or the shoulders. You can still end up with tennis elbow if you don't watch yourself. It's just not as invasive on the joints as tennis is."
"It's a two-bounce rule. When you serve it they have to let it bounce then when they hit it back over the net the team has to let it bounce and then it's wide open," Smith explained.
Tim Camden, another Brunswick County USAPA Ambassador, explains the difference between tennis and pickleball. "What you noticed is this ball is not like a tennis ball. You're not gonna get the big bounce. So instead of where you see a lot of tennis players they back up to hit the ball with a pickeball you always attack the ball. Never run backwards. Backwards is a bad thing especially for the more mature people."
So aside from the physical workout you get from the game some folks are playing for a purpose. Brunswick Forest is hosting its first Pickleball Tournament, "Dinking for Pink" March 17. Proceeds go to Lump to Laughter.
Right now there are more than 16 places where you can play pickleball in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties.