BRINSTON – When introducing a new, sport why not call on an expert?
The Matilda Memorial Recreation Committee (MMRC) did just that. They called on a member of their own community, Jim Duncan, to first set up the pickleball courts and then demonstrate what is being called the fastest growing sport in North America.
For those who have never heard of pickleball, here is a brief introduction. Pickleball is a racquet sport that combines the elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. Two, three or four players use solid wood paddles or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, similar to a whiffle ball, over a net. The sport shares the features of other racquet sports, the dimensions and layout of a badminton court and the net and rules similar to tennis.
Former U.S. politician Joel Pritchard invented pickleball in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Wash. as a back yard game to entertain his children and family friends.
Back to Brinston
Duncan grew up on his father’s farm, attended university in Toronto where he lived until his recent retirement. He now spends his summers in the Brinston area and resides in Arizona during the winter months.
He says he took up the pickleball paddle two years ago and since then has played on courts both in Ontario and the U.S.
Duncan recently (Sept. 15-17), competed in the 2017 Pickleball Association of Ontario at the Markham Pan Am Centre and played his way, along with men’s doubles partner Jim Parrott to a silver medal in the 3.5 division.
The MMRC enlisted Duncan to layout three courts, a job he insists was completed in two weeks by dedicated volunteers, may of whom helped revitalize the Brinston recreation facility.
“It’s a great sport that provides lots of exercise and it is very popular with retirees, but more and more younger people are starting to take it up,” he said. “That’s what we want to do here in Brinston, make it available for everyone, especially youngsters.”
The nets, paddles and balls are available in the rec. building and a can be accessed at any time by contacting a committee member.
“Get a friend or two, get the key, and play,” said Duncan. “It just takes 10 minutes to set it up.”
There are rules of course, but for the beginner just slapping the ball back and forth over the net and moving to make the play is all it takes to get involved.
“Having fun is the main thing,” he added.
Duncan said the outdoor courts on the rink surface are as good as, if not better than some of the ones he has played on in the city. He noted there is plenty of space in between each and still room for a game of ball hockey to be played at the east end of the rink.
The MMRC is hosting its second annual Pig Roast on Sat., Oct. 28 from 10 am to 3 pm with lunch available from noon to 2 pm.
There is a full slate of events for all ages and tickets are available at the Brinston General Store, from any MMRC member or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org