It has been said many times that sports can bring people together. One of those examples is the Burke Pickleball Association. This league is open to people of all ages. There are also professional leagues for the sport on a nationwide scale.
The local league was founded by Patti Stevens according to current President Gary Hill.
“We started in 2017 with only 13 people, but since then we’ve expanded to over 40 members,” Hill said.
While some places and organizations are built on competition, this league is more for fun, Hill says.
Hill also said that the players are also expected to adhere to the rules, “We let our players make sure the games are fair, a lot of the mainstream tournaments do that as well,” He explained. All the players witnessed by this reporter were calm and seemed to have fun, further cementing the main idea of the league; bringing people into a stress-free environment for some clean fun.
One of the members of this association, Andy Forsyth, said he found out about this league through a friend. Forsyth has played with this organization for 9 months and commended the program for having such a friendly atmosphere. “It’s social and you also get some exercise out of it as well,” Forsyth said. The original sport got started in Seattle, Washington circa 1965 and it started out as a sport for kids that evolved into what it is now. According to Forsyth the sport got its name from the inventor’s (Barney McCallum) dog, but there’s a small debate on that front. However, he also said that most people think it got the name from the dog.
Fellow player Craig Offut noted that this sport is starting to increase in its popularity and that this isn’t the only league he’s a part of. “I play here in Burke and I also play in Vienna, I’ve been doing this for a little over a year,” he explained.
This league plays all year long on the weekends and weather conditions normally don’t postpone any day of playing. Hill even mentioned that during the winter, “We sometimes have to shovel the courts so we can play in the snow.” When it comes to the Burke Pickleball Association, the fun never ends and will continue to flourish in the future.