Draw the Line – Pickleball Players want respect (and some lines)

An online petition has been started by the rapidly growing number of Bedford pickleball players for the town to paint the lines for a pickleball court on the existing tennis courts at the John Glenn Middle School.

I talked with Dat Le, the administrator of the Bedford Pickleball google group.  He said, “The Bedford pickleball group was formed five years ago and we were the most popular and fastest-growing adult pickup sports program in Bedford until the pandemic struck. We just recently started playing again when the lockdown was lifted.  Even though a large number of our members choose not to play due to health concerns, we still have a core 30-40 group of players that want to play 3 or 4 times a week.  Right now we can only play outdoors and there are absolutely no outdoor pickleball facilities in Bedford except for the two lined courts at the Middle school. Many times we have 16,20 people waiting to play on two courts and we also have to compete for court time with tennis players.  We are asking the town to paint more lines to double the playing capacity at the John Glenn Middle School.” 

Eventually, the players would love to see some dedicated pickleball courts here in town but realize they may need to wait.  Adding lines to the existing tennis courts does not prevent the courts from being used for tennis.  These are just additional lines that can be ignored when not in use.  Since pickleball only uses half of a tennis court, it is actually a much more efficient use of the space.  If both tennis courts at the Middle School added pickleball lines, 16 players could be on the court at the same time.  This is in contrast to four people playing singles on two courts. The group already has nets that they set up, it’s really just the lines they need.

I reached out to Amy Hamilton at the Recreation Department.  The Rec Department is very supportive of the pickleball players and are trying to quantify the interest in the sport.  They had a check-in book at the middle school courts last summer as a way to collect data on the popularity,  but it wasn’t filled out very often. Even so, people were playing.  This year there is an added emphasis on having the players sign in to show the town how many people are playing.  When I asked Amy about the specific request she said that “the town had no plans for painting the lines at this time.”

At the last look, the petition had 56 signatures on it.  So stay tuned.

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a racquet sport that is sort of a combination of tennis and ping pong.  The court is about half the size of a tennis court and you use a wooden paddle with a wiffleball.  It’s an easy game to pick up and requires a lot less exertion than tennis.  It’s gaining in popularity around the world.   Check out the website of the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) https://www.usapa.org/

Why is it called Pickleball?

Well, you can blame the dog – watch this video to learn more: https://youtu.be/WtJN8CV0t7U

Check it out for yourself.  Here’s a link to a google group page with more information on pickleball here in Bedford https://groups.google.com/forum/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=footer#!forum/bedford-pickleball

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