Bethel Citizen photo by Alison Aloisio

 

BETHEL — Pickleball has joined basketball on Bethel’s public basketball court.

What is it?

The sport, invented in 1965, combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, according to the USA Pickleball website.It can be played indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court and a slightly modified tennis net. Equipment includes a paddle and a plastic ball with holes. Like the other sports it resembles, it can be played as doubles or singles.

Interest in adding a pickleball court on the existing basketball court on the Bethel Pathway was voiced to the town this spring by area residents Pat Roma and Allen Connors, according to Sarah Tucker, the town’s recreation director.

Tucker said the idea was to paint lines on one portion of the basketball court and stagger its usage.

She brought the idea to the Bethel Recreation Board, and received permission to pursue it if the volunteers who were behind the construction of the basketball court agreed to it.

That, said Tucker, came via contractor Ron Savage, whom she contacted to gather input and who was instrumental in seeing the court completed.

The basketball group gave their blessing, she said, and Roma then obtained a $600 grant from the Bethel Rotary Club to pay for painting the new lines, which took place during the summer.

Connors donated some equipment for use at the court, Tucker said.

Roma said that when he contacted Tucker, he had been hearing about the game for more than 25 years, but had never played.

He and several friends have been using the court since it was completed, and they’re enjoying it.

“It’s outdoor activity, exercise, competition, camaraderie, a skill to develop and good fun,” he said.

The court is available before 9 a.m., although Tucker has said since the time frame can be more flexible to include more morning hours. An evening time may also be established.

Ellen Whitney of Bethel said she and her husband, Rick, were among a half dozen people who, after playing badminton recreationally at Crescent Park School earlier this year made a switch to pickleball.

“We do think there is an interest in it in this area,” she said.

(Note: Under SAD 44 Adult Education, the CPS group is again playing, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.  Contact Adult Ed at 824-2136 ext. 1340 for more information.)

Roma said other area residents are encouraged to try the sport and take advantage of the new resource on the Pathway.

“I’m hoping to see this grow to be a more regular occurrence where one can meet many others for a game,” he said.

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