Industry News Pickleball Program in Sisters, Oregon is a Winner
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Written by PickleBall.net     May 08, 2013    
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Pickleball, one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S., has now become an adult program through Sisters Park & Recreation District (SPRD).

The game is played on a hard surface divided into zones by a net, and uses a plastic ball with holes in it. Players use oversize ping-pong paddles. It is a sport that borrows elements from badminton, table tennis, and tennis.

Al Boyette had played tennis for 35 years before getting interested in pickleball.

"The game is played on a badminton-sized court, which is easier on the knees," says Boyette. "Not only is pickleball fun for the players, it's easy to learn. This is my third year playing it."

Boyette became so sold on the sport that he became the self-appointed pickleball ambassador for Sisters.

"This game is perfect for baby-boomers; they're used to an active lifestyle," Boyette said.

Boyette and other pickleball fans have been playing the game at the tennis courts in Sage Meadow. You can watch them play on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings. The public is always invited.

Boyette talked his friend Doug Bermel into playing the game.

"At first Doug was skeptical, but then he ran with it, can't get him to stop," said Boyette. "It's that much fun."

Bermel and his wife, Pat, noticed how fast the sport was growing. More and more Sisters folks were becoming fans of pickleball. Bermel decided to approach SPRD with an idea.

He talked to Kelly Sheets, coordinator of adult programs for SPRD and asked if they could set up a pickleball program for adults in Sisters.

Bermel would take responsibility for the game and the setting up and taking down of the nets, etc. Bermel owned two pickleball nets of his own.

"Sheets wasn't so sure in the beginning because she didn't know what pickleball was, like a lot of people," Bermel said.

"We already had pickleball players that were willing to join the program."

SPRD not only added pickleball in their adult program guide, they donated a net and a few paddles.

Sheets decided to sit in on one of the SPRD games being held indoors at Sisters Elementary School.

"The game was awesome. It was so vibrant and everyone was laughing, talking and having fun!" she said.

Pickleball gives players an excellent cardiovascular workout while offering some merrymaking. It's a low-impact sport; it's not overtaxing.

"We hope to be able to play outdoors this summer on the Sisters Elementary School tennis courts," Bermel said.

Pickleball is generally played with four players, two on each team, but can also be played one-on-one.

"I'm new at the game; it's easy and enjoyable," said Connie Morris during the SPRD session Thursday evening. "You don't have to have a powerful swing like in tennis."

For more information visit www.sistersrecreation.com.

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