Pickleball is huge. Don’t believe it? Consider this line from a recent CNN Business story: “The number of people playing pickleball [in the U.S.] grew by 159 per cent over three years to 8.9 million in 2022.” Here in Canada, a survey by Pickleball Canada last year showed that eight per cent of Canadian households have one pickleball player who plays the game at least once a month. This is a growing trend too.
That’s why members of the Pickleball Guelph Association delegated to the budget confirmation meeting in January. Their concern is having too many members and not enough space, plus there’s no dedicated pickleball courts in Guelph. The game’s being played on tennis and badminton courts, which are different games with their own rules and regulations despite the fact that they’re all games with rackets and nets.
But more than the personal enjoyment of local pickleball players, groups like the PGA are making pickleball the centre of a plan to draw tourism to the region by hosting tournaments. There’s no doubt that pickleball is a growing sport, and that it has more room to grow since it’s unisex, all-ages and family-friendly, but is pickleball the next big thing, or are we sitting on a pickleball bubble? To get a better handle on these, and other questions, we go to the source…
This week, we’re joined by PGA members Rick Thompson, Ryan Thompson and Susan McDaid who will tell us pickleball’s origin story, how each of them found their way to the sport and why they combined their efforts with others to form the Pickleball Guelph Association. They will also talk about co-ordinating with other pickleball groups across Canada, and how advocacy is a double-edged sword in terms of encouraging more people to get into a game that’s struggling to manage the numbers it already has.
So let’s talk about the pickleball revolution on this week’s Guelph Politicast!
The PGA’s next intro to pickleball session is sold out, but you can email the PGA at info [at] pickleballguelph.com to learn how you might be able to get involved. Indoor pickleball games hosted by the PGA are played Saturday nights and they’re adding a new night on Tuesday starting on April 11. You can learn more about pickleball in Guelph by going to the PGA’s website.
The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple, Stitcher, Google, TuneIn and Spotify .
Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.
Photo Courtesy of Guelph Wellington Seniors Association.