Despite its ridiculous name, Pickleball is a great game. It can be picked up by almost anyone, regardless of athletic ability – one of the few active sports where anyone at any age can start playing and be confident within a short period. Although Pickleball can be energetic, it is contained to a small area, limiting the running and fast turning, thus making it easier for much younger and older players, or those with mobility concerns. Yet its activity is strenuous enough to give a solid aerobic workout, improving overall heart health.
Its ease of entry, though, is not its most remarkable trait. It is an unusually inclusive sport. A wide range of age groups, body types, athletic ability levels, and ethnic or social groups can usually be found playing with each other at any Pickleball centre. What makes this diversity unique is that often you will find that everyone is playing with everyone else in an open-ended round-robin format. No other sport has this spirit of interaction across the normal barriers of society. The name Pickleball itself was chosen to emphasize the centrality of this inclusiveness. In rowing, a pickle boat crew is composed of leftover oarsmen from other boats and is often comprised of coed teams, something that is not usual in rowing. The name was chosen to emphasize its coed and inclusive nature.
With its small footprint, Pickleball is also environmentally responsible. You can place four Pickleball courts on a single tennis court. You could place enough Pickleball courts on a single soccer pitch to support an entire playing community for a long time.
(On the right you can see how four Pickleball courts might be placed in the area used by a single tennis court.)
Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in North America not just because it is fun, and good exercise, but because it is environmentally responsible, socially inclusive, and inherently safer than other active sports.