Pickleball simple but satisfying sport

January 26, 2009 7:05:13 PM PST
How are those New Year's resolutions going?

Many people are looking for new ways to exercise and keep in shape. Well, I found a sport that is not only fun to play but also great exercise.

As I walked up to the Highlands Recreation Center in San Mateo I thought to myself, "What is that noise?"

I found out it was "Pickleball."

Pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island outside Seattle. Its court has the same dimensions of doubles badminton. You serve a wiffle ball underhand and play the game with composite paddles. You can only score on your serve.

What's up with the name?

"Pickle was the dog of the owner. They'd play and the ball would fly off the court. Pickle would go after the ball and grab it, hence the name pickleball," explains Greg Komisarek.

Komisarek is pickleball's local ambassador. He first saw the game in Florida and was hooked.

Komisarek says, "It's a very simple game to pick up. Because it's so simple, you get 11- to 20-shot rallies and break a sweat right away. In 20 minutes you can have a complete game."

All three of Greg's kids play the game. 18-year old Aaron played three sports in high school and missed the competition.

"It's the competitive edge I needed. I started playing and got hooked right away. It's fun game," he says.

"I play with 60-, 70-year old people and they're beating me at the sport. It's pretty competitive," says his brother Garrett.

Greg's daughter Ronnie, like Garrett, plays volleyball and is known as "The Terminator" in pickleball circles.

"It gives me a good workout and gets my energy out. And, you get to hit something really hard," she says.

It is a great workout and talking trash is encouraged. But, the sport is so loud that tennis clubs have not been very receptive.

"I can't believe here in the Bay Area more people haven't taken to it. They pick up a paddle and it'll happen. We're trying to get it going," says Ronnie.

Well, consider Mike Shumann hooked.