Pickleball – booming in downtown Vancouver!
The New Year brought the game to another Vancouver downtown community centre with a BANG! Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre was packed with over 30 mostly new and intermediate players on its opening Friday, January 15, 2016.
The centre started the program after a BC Pickleball Association board member approached their programmer in the fall. As the Centre was initially not too convinced that the game would attract any participants, the Association (PCPickleball.com) loaned a set of paddles and balls to start the game, and the Centre provided the existing badminton and volley ball nets and poles for trial in their roomy gym.
The first day arrived without any rehearsal and the poles and nets had to be improvised to accommodate this new recreational program within 20 minutes of preparation time. With three volunteers helping the Centre staff and the instructor, the President of BC Pickleball Association, over capacity crowd poured into the gym, causing the equipment shortage. The new program finally got going after the initial struggle, with 10 intermediate and 20 plus brand new players, who were introduced to the basic rules and techniques of this exiting racket ball game. After 1 hour of training, however, the new players were able to hit the balls, having a good time despite some struggle to get themselves familiar with the scoring system.
By the end of the first day, the number of registrants for the winter season reached 23 with only 5 spots left, and after the second week’s play, it was all filled up with 28 regulars and 3 remaining on the waiting list! The Centre could now justify their new set up expense to purchase their own equipment as the program turned out to be an instant success!
This winter, besides Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre, Britania and Dunbar community centres also started offering the pickleball programs. At this writing, the fun game is being offered at altogether 12 community centres in Vancouver. The game started in Seattle USA has now well settled in its neighbor to the North, Vancouver BC, offering another popular attraction to the potential visitors to this “one of the world’s most livable cities.”
Article contributed by and photo courtesy of Aki Takeda