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August 4, 2015 > Mission Hills Athletic Club brings pickleball to Fremont

Mission Hills Athletic Club brings pickleball to Fremont

By Cassandra Broadwin

Tucked away in a quiet redwood grove, four tennis courts of Mission Hills Athletic Club (MHAC) will be converted to host the third seasonal MHAC Pickleball Tournament on August 23rd, 2015 from 4-6pm. In preparation for this event, the courts will be marked to a third of their current size and reserved especially for a mix of 36 participants. All experience levels from novice to advanced are encouraged to try their hand at the sport.

Pickleball originated on Bainbridge Island, Washington, in 1963 as a backyard pastime for the family of Joel Pritchard, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. One weekend afternoon, Pritchard invented the game to entertain his bored children. He lowered the standard badminton net, used wooden paddles and a wiffle ball, and soon enough the game of pickleball emerged as what is said to be a hybrid between tennis, table tennis, and badminton. ÒThe way I see it, itÕs like oversized ping pong,Ó said MHAC employee Eric Gonzalez.

For years, the origin of the sportÕs name had been a disputed topic. The most common theory claims that the sport was named after the familyÕs cocker spaniel, Pickles, who was known to chase after stray balls. Another theory was that the name referenced Mrs. PritchardÕs maritime vernacular, as she would refer to the Òpickle boatÓ being the slowest vessel in a rowing race, stacked with a team of outliers. To this day, pickleball enthusiasts make a pilgrimage to see the birthplace of the sport in the Pritchard backyard to pay homage, but also in hopes of solving the mystery behind the name.

The sport has been rapidly gaining a following in community centers around the countryÑits popularity due mainly to its age-variant accessibility. According to the USA Pickleball Association, official membership has now reached over 150,000 players. ÒItÕs very popular among the Baby Boomers. It still requires a great deal of athleticism, but the pace is easier to keep up with for both younger and older generations. The smaller court means that there is less running involved. There is no overhead serving, which allows people who may have mobility issues to still play competitively,Ó said Christina Broadwin, manager of MHAC and director of the pickleball tournament.

The tournament includes a twenty minute instructional session with all attendees, followed by an hour and a half of rotational play. Members and non-members alike are invited to use this tournament as an opportunity to learn a new skill and enjoy a social afternoon with the MHAC community. The tournament is open to men, women, and teens ages 15 plus, and includes all necessary pickleball equipment.

For sign-up information, contact or register online at Tickets are $4 per session for full MHAC members, $6 per session for fitness only MHAC members or non-members if pre-registered and paid by August 16, or $10 drop-in (space permitting) on the day of the event.

Mission Hills Athletic Club Pickleball Tournament
Sunday, Aug 23
4 p.m. Ð 6 p.m.
Mission Hills Athletic Club
10 E Las Palmas Ave, Fremont
Tickets: $4 full MHAC members, $6 fitness only/non-members registered by Aug 16, $10 drop-in

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