If you don't know what pickleball is, then you are probably not one of the 3 million Americans playing the game. If you're like me, the first time you heard the name of this now ubiquitous sport, you may have thought it had something to do with pickles. Both of us were wrong.

Pickleball is one of the fastest growing, and according to players, most fun and addictive pastimes you can take up. Here in Sioux Falls, there are about 250 Pickleball Club Members and the numbers grow every year.

If you believe the creators of the game, (celebrating its 54th Anniversary this year) who lived on Bainbridge Island, Washington, the name came from A) one of the creator's dogs and/or B) the "pickle boat" in the sport of crew, where members are combined from the leftovers from other boats.

Pickleball truly is an amalgam sport, as it combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. It is played indoors or outdoors with a paddle about twice the size of a ping-pong paddle, a plastic ball resembling a wiffle ball and a modified tennis net.

The rules are simple and the game is easy for beginners, which is why it is an all-ages game. It can, however, become a very fast-paced and competitive game for experienced players. Just ask the dedicated Sioux Falls Pickleball Club members, whose motto is "Fun, Friendship and Fitness!".

There are a lot of places in Sioux Falls where Pickleball is played including Riverdale Park, (during the spring and summer seasons) Terry Redlin Elementary, Our Saviors Lutheran, Woodlake Golf & Fitness and Active Generations, to name but a few.

This weekend the Pickleball in the Park Tournament is going on at Riverdale Park (2000 E. 24th Street). It's a free event and a great way to introduce yourself to the particulars of the game.

This is the tournament schedule:

Saturday, June 22--
Women's doubles start at 8 a.m.
Men's doubles start at 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, June 23--
Mixed doubles start at 8 a.m.

So if you're looking to get into an easy to understand and lively sport, with the likelihood that you'll have a whole lot of fun, the Sioux Falls Pickleball Club is looking for you!

For more information see Sioux Falls Pickleball Club's Facebook page or contact club president Larry Plucker at 605-929-3689 or at his email address, ldp20077@gmail.com.

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