The increasingly popular sport of Pickleball has been taking the nation by storm for several years now, with Statesboro being no exception to the growing phenomenon.
This fact can be seen by the many locals and groups who play nightly at the Bulloch County Recreation and Parks Department tennis court complex. The casual, communal sport is providing not only fitness but a social outlet for the people of Statesboro.
Lenard Robinson, Athletic Supervisor at Bulloch Rec, offers more information on Pickleball's growth and allure in Statesboro.
What is Pickleball?
According to PickleBallCentral.com,
"Pickleball is a paddle sport played with a whiffle ball on a badminton-sized court and a tennis-style net. Pickleball is enjoyed by people of all ages and athletic abilities thanks to its ease of play and straightforward rules.
The sport is inexpensive, social and healthy, and has been widely accepted in school gyms, fire stations, community centers, local parks, athletic clubs and thousands of backyard sports courts. In some ways it’s a combination of tennis and badminton, and along with sports such as table tennis and racquetball, pickleball has exploded in popularity."
Pickleball's impact in the Statesboro Community
Robinson followed up the website's description of Pickleball stating that, "For the past 7-10 years, Pickleball has been picking up speed with people all across the nation."
"Pickleball has gone from being a 'niche' leisurely pastime, to becoming more of a well-known daily sport to do within the community. Local residents play it consistently and our courts are frequently packed with pickle ball players of all ages and skill-levels. We regularly have a wide variety of participants playing, ranging from college students to middle schoolers, to the elderly population, to several other groups."
Robinson goes on to share some of the community highlights and connections formed by playing communal Pickleball.
"We've had leagues where people have never played the Pickleball sport before. But they come in, pick it up, and get better over time," he said. "People also build their social networks with other members of the community here because it is a great way to meet new people and make new friends. Pickleball has been a great community building activity for the Statesboro community and remains fun because of the a small-town vibe and the shared community love for the game."
How to participate in nightly Pickleball games
Fortunately for those looking to pick up the sport, the Statesboro Pickleball community is welcoming and informal. Robinson invites those who are interested to simply walk up the "old fashioned way" and ask to get in on the game.
"If people would like to participate in Pickleball, they can come by the courts and simply ask to join a future game. The process is mostly informal, and joining or participating is typically done on a first come-first serve basis," he said. "There is also a Facebook group called 'Statesboro Pickleball' where locals can gather and schedule a group to play. However, the old-fashioned way of coming up to the courts and speaking with folks to try and participate in games remains the best way for locals to participate."
Bulloch Rec also hosts leagues and tournaments seasonally, and those future dates will be released on the website once confirmed.
The Bulloch County Recreation and Parks Department (BCRP) currently has 6 Pickleball Courts, located at the Sue Oertley Tennis Complex at 1 Max Lockwood Drive, Statesboro, GA, 30458.
The Sue Oertley Tennis Complex is open 8am – 9pm, Monday through Sunday.
For more information on the local group sessions and games, visit the Statesboro Pickleball Facebook page HERE.