The student news site of Bak Middle School of the Arts


The student news site of Bak Middle School of the Arts


The student news site of Bak Middle School of the Arts


The Pickleball CRAZE

The history of pickleball and why it’s captivated people all over Florida
An illustration of a man playing pickleball on an asphalt court. (Graphic by Catherine Ruple and Siarra Pierre Charles)

Pickleball is a sport that has started to gain traction in recent years. As of 2023, there are 36.5 million active pickleball players (called picklers) in the United States. This number is projected to keep rising for years to come. Its virality has spread far and wide, even down to South Florida.

“It has become one of the most popular sports in Florida,” George Ryan, gym coach said. 

Pickleball is quickly becoming popular in Florida, being “the third-most pickleball-obsessed state in the U.S.,” according to Naples Daily News – especially in the southwest part of Florida. 

“I think [that pickleball is] a newer sport that is constantly growing,” Briella Wolle, seventh-grade theater major said.

According to USA Pickleball,  the world’s first national pickleball organization, the popular sport originated  in 1965. A businessman named Bill Bell and a congressman from Washington state named Joel Pritchard were the creators. 

They were at Pritchard’s house and they were bored. Because of this, they used a court that was originally designed for badminton in their backyard.

They experimented with the badminton court for a little while, adjusting important factors that can contribute to the game. 

There’s a good reason for pickleball becoming such a popular sport. Some of these reasons have to do with health.

“Pickleball is great because you can still get a workout in and not have it be too intense or harsh on the body,” Ryan said. “It’s a happy medium.”

Ryan has experience with pickleball and other similar sports, such as tennis.

“I used to play tennis,” Ryan said, “but the strain on my legs and back wasn’t good for me.”

Another pro of pickleball is how you can play it at any age. You can play it from the time you’re a kid to when you retire. 

“Pickleball is a lifetime sport,” Ryan said. “People in their 60’s and 70’s can still play it.”

 You don’t have to be an expert or a superstar athlete to play pickleball. 

“[Pickleball is] an easier version of tennis that everyone and anyone can play,” Alora Wilt, seventh-grade communications major said.

 Like any sport, there are rules to play pickleball which can make the game a good or bad experience for whoever is playing. 

“[Pickleball is] like tennis [but the rules] add spice to it,“ Wolle said.

Above all, pickleball is an enjoyable sport that just about anyone can play. 

“Pickleball just gets me going,” Amelia Gomez, sixth-grade strings major said.

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