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Pickleball: It might just take you by surprise

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POSTED April 29, 2009 2:46 a.m.
The first time that I ever stepped foot on a racquetball court, I figured that it was about time I show my father who was really the boss.

How hard can it be to hit a blue ball back off a wall to a spot where I thought my less than nimble (dad and I cringe every time I think about saying that) could never get to it?

I had just got done running eight miles a day. I was set.

And in a matter of moments, my old man punished me like he caught me trying to hotwire his 1951 Ford F1 pickup. It was a lesson learned quickly, and one that I would never end either living down for forgetting.

While heart problems have slowed down the old man a little bit in recent years, he’s still able to bring the thunder of his giant frame in positions I never thought possible.

My favorite is sitting up top and watch a couple of hot shots try and take him down.

I’ve never seen anything more comical. But on Tuesday morning I got the pleasure of watching men hammering away at a game they call “pickleball” – a combination of what appears to be racquetball, tennis, badminton, and even a few games I’m not even close to familiar with.

Surely it wasn’t the game that I had in mind when Dennis Wyatt first told me about how “wild” it was going to be. Think hockey – without the massive amounts of time spent in the penalty box and also having to worry about that ball flying just about every which direction. Shots to the boards. Getting knocked down onto the ice. And being that this is taking place in Stockton, it’s only  matter of time before you either find a group of people looking to enjoy the Social Distortion style music you’re celebrating with.

But while “pickleball” might not be a new trend, the way that they game is played as doubles – broken up into teams with a lacrosse-style trend to try and block as many people as possible will be spilling over from the Connecticut prep schools And things aren’t as easy as they look.

A few swipes with that oversized paddle and you’re likely to send that ball straight over to ground zero – where I’m pretty sure they frown on that.

Take away from the fights – what some might argue is the best portion of the game itself – and you’ve got yourself a top-flight activity for those who appreciate the skills it takes to dribble through defenders and get a clean shot on the goal.

Those who were in charge of making sure that there was something that would draw the crowds definitely hit their mark with this one.

Just make sure you’ve got yourself a front row seat. This isn’t something you’re going to want to miss.
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