I read a website account of Pickleball in BC and those that “brought the sport” here.
I would like to revise the history for you to let you know that I and many others played pickleball in Vancouver back in the early 80s. I worked for Chevron Canada Limited and we had courts on the roof of 1050 W Pender Street. I believe these were installed when Daon Development built the building in the 70s, when Jack Poole and Daon were the primary tenants. After Daon moved to the Daon building (across from the Marine building), the courts were open to lease by the next primary tenant which was at the time I believe BC Forest Products, and subsequently Chevron Canada Limited.
We had both open recreational play and a full open round robin format (doubles and singles) throughout the year, followed by top 8 double elimination playoffs. I ran the draw and schedule for our little league for Chevron and played with Rowan Edwin Ley in doubles. Chevron Canada Limited internal newsletter at the time has pictures including us winning doubles. We played doubles as well as singles, with communal wood paddles most of which had chips and delaminations but we didn’t care.. White whiffle balls were regularly collected from the streets and gardens around the building when winds and errant shots carried them over the chest high walls surrounding the roof.
I believe the second Daon building had courts as well. I think Jack Poole may have known the initiators of the game in neighbouring Washington State.
I recently returned to the game this year and have met a lot of politics and organizations who claim to own the sport here and in the USA. I was shocked at how they have made up “new rules” including how lines are called (based on the lack of compression of a pickleball relative to a tennis ball), which were never part of the original game. When we played we played that if the ball were to continue on its path through the imaginary plane of the court line and any part of the ball would contact the line then the ball was in — nothing about compression or the lack thereof.
I tell people we didn’t use the word DINK, and in fact that would have been considered a bad word in my day. While we didn’t dink we did develop our own strategies to success as there were no “gurus” to tell us what our strategies should be — just a court and the rules of play. We used a lot of doubles tennis strategies, including the up and back style (which led Pospisil and Sock to a Wimbledon Tennis doubles victory in recent years) as well as the two up strategy which is the predominate doubles pickleball strategy these days. We did drop shot (the old-timer word for dink) as well as employ a good offensive lob to get those two up players away from the net. It was great fun and great exercise.
If you are going to write the History of Pickleball in BC, perhaps the old timers should be given some consideration for a sport that was played for fun and corporate spirit.
I have greatly improved my health through playing this past year and am thankful every day that I have some old muscle memory still inside me of a game we enjoyed in our youth. I encourage everyone to try pickleball, especially the youth who will benefit from the fun today and the court sense they develop for when their bodies are less agile in the future.
As I see the coverage of the National Championships in Kelowna this week, the press are quick to point out that the knee braces on display aren’t from pickleball but from other sports — we are a safe bastion for other sports enthusiasts whose bodies are recovering from injury. In Hawaii and the Comox Valley we get tennis players rehabilitating at pickleball and we welcome them.
The fastest growing sport in North America is also good for body, mind and spirit.