” Five Ring wasteland ” Article on Greek Olympic facility decline.
See National Post August 14, 2014
TITLE : ” BC SHINES IN EFFICIENT USE OF THEIR POST OLYMPIC FACILITIES “
The Richmond Olympic oval, Hillcrest Rec centre next to Nat Bailey stadium, Creekside Rec centre in False Creek , Whistler Athletic centre at the Chekamus exit are all 2010 wonderfully converted efforts to put these expensive facilities to work for the populace of British Columbia. It is not by accident ( nor efforts by pickleball Canada ) that they are all in part funded by pickleball programs to a lesser or greater degree. BCpickleball invited players in the lower mainland to come to the oval on the first day it opened to our sport some four years ago and 72 players responded, for an amazing turnout on eight courts out of a possible 16 courts.
The oval staff were impressed and went forward to purchase paddles and balls for leagues and beginners to use. The Richmond and small Vancouver cohort of players were asked if they would keep it going . They declined – citing soft spots on some courts and cost.
The Oval quickly reduced their price to 5.00 to play and 1.00 per car parking – very reasonable, as well as defining the usable courts which ended up as eight in number. A call in advance,with a foursome or eight-some will get the courts set up for you. Rumours persist that the cost is higher and courts not usable – not true. See article on www.bcpickleball.com on “an instructors course taught at the Richmond oval. ”
Well , what of the other Olympic heritage sites ? Creekside has had an active , but small cohort for several years, first started by BC Pickleball Assoc. Coal Harbour is due to start in September in downtown Vancouver on a trial basis until December. New players are welcome.
Hillcrest has had a program for three years and has half the space it needs to make a viable, larger program . Nice facility , with restaurant, curling , pool etc.
Whistler has one outdoor court at the first ( Chekamus exit ) coming into Whistler. It has great potential with a young population , three elementaries , a high school, tennis club and courts at the former Olympic residence , now the BC Gymnastics practice centre at Chekamus. It is interesting to note that Bathurst New Brunswick Tennis club has started the first clay court pickleball in Canada – something we have written about many times in these pages as a functional idea.
Finally, I have been asked many times, will Pickleball enter the Olympics ? Good use by our sport of Olympic Legacies is a really good start to that end , rather than showing to the world how taxpayer money can be wasted on elite sports that do not meet the criteria of ” A Game for All ” nor provide a fitter population as a whole – one of the cornerstones of the BC Gov’t program for a 20% fitter population by 2020. It is left to see if we meet our target.
Surely, as with ACE , the American Association for Exercise who, two years ago, chose pickleball as the go- to- sport for Americans, BC will judge pickleball as the growth sport of the decade…… For all ages and skill levels.
Would that we could have a crack at marking the Greek Olympic facility and fill
it with picklers instead of what it is now – a simple PHOTO OP for travellers. I have been there.