Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pickleball Play Under Way in North Myrtle Beach

Pickleball play under way in North Myrtle Beach
Anybody for pickleball? About 40 people were game today in North Myrtle Beach.
Pickleball play has begun at two sites on the Grand Strand.
The North Myrtle Beach Parks and Recreation Department had the first of three free workshops today to demonstrate the game and let individuals try it out. A crowd of mostly retirees - and many on vacation from Ontario -- turned out for all two hours.
The sport is a mix ping-pong, badminton and tennis -- played with Wiffle balls and oversize, wooden pingpong paddles, on a badminton-size field on a tennis court. Serves are made only underhand, and games to to 11 points won by at least two points.
Rena Grant of Myrtle Beach took many turns playing pickleball, and while watching others on the court, would flip back some stray balls hit out of bounds.
''There's a lot of similarities in footwork and the body movement," Grant said, "but this has a lot of wrist stuff, too."
Dick and Ernestine Perkins, tennis players vacationing from Southampton, Ontario, on Lake Huron, tried the game for the first time.
"This is a big change, with the size of a racquet and the bounce of the ball," Dick Perkins said. "You expect the ball to bounce,'' his wife said. "Don't wait for that ball. Run into it."
North Myrtle Beach invites the public to other workshops 1-3 p.m. March 4 and 12 at the city's Central Park tennis courts, near J. Bryan Floyd Community Center, 1030 Possum Trot Road. Starting March 18, open play will be available 1-3 p.m Wednesdays there. Details at 280-5570.
Also, Grant has organized pickleball play at Myrtle Beach's Crabtree Memorial Gymnasium, on the former Air Force base, from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays. Details at 294-2315.

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