For active, older adults who want to participate in a competitive sport, there’s a new game in town. Pickleball is a new sport suitable for all ages. Westminster at Lake Ridge, a local retirement community, is hosting a Pickleball orientation next month for athletically inclined adults who are 65 years of age and older.
Bill Spengler, who lives at Westminster, discovered the game while visiting his cousin in Phoenix where National Pickleball Championships are played. He learned that the game was played at Lake of the Woods, near Fredericksburg, VA. Spengler owns a vacation house there, so he took up the sport. A former tennis player, it didn’t take him long to learn to play.
"I was hooked and I really love the game. It is also a very social sport and fun for those on the sidelines," he said.
The Pickleball awareness event will be held on Monday, Oct. 15 (rain date Oct. 19) from 9 a.m. to noon. Experienced players will demonstrate the sport and interested attendees will get a chance to play in a round robin format. The sport can be played by singles, doubles and mixed doubles team. Seating will be provided for spectators to cheer their favorite team.
The games will be followed by a luncheon on the Westminster patio, prepared by Westminster's award winning chef, Andrea MacDonald-Black. For those visitors who would like a tour of the Model cottages and apartments at Westminster, they will have that opportunity from 1 to 2 p.m.
The game was invented in Washington State about 20 years ago. The founder had a dog named “Pickles” who kept stealing the ball as he and several friends were trying to develop the rules for the game. So they named the game Pickleball. The popular game is a hybrid of lawn tennis and badminton, with some elements of tennis as well.
"The game is played on a badminton size court using a tennis net," Spengler said. "You hit the pickleball, a hard plastic ball about the size of a softball. The ball has holes in it like a whiffleball. It is lightweight, doesn’t bounce much, and won’t hurt you if you get hit. The players hit the ball over the net using a paddle which is a little bigger than a ping pong paddle. You serve underhanded and only get points when you are serving. When you lose your serve, the opponent can start getting points by serving."
The game can be played by two or four players.
The Pickleball event will be held at Westminster at Lake Ridge, a continuing care retirement community at 12191 Clipper Drive in Lake Ridge. It is open to Northern Virginia residents over the age of 65. To RSVP, call Clint at 703-496-3440.
To learn about the sport, visit International Federation of Pickleball at http://ipickleball.org/.