There’s a famous line from the movie “Field of Dreams” everyone knows… “If you build it, they will come.” In this case, substitute pickleball courts for a baseball field, and the result is the same!
Back in 2017, resident Mary Jo Byrnes took up the game after 30 years of playing tennis. There were no pickleball courts in Montgomery at the time, but there were and still are plenty of tennis courts. Pickleball lines were added at the Swaim and Dulle Parks courts, but still using tennis nets. It took some convincing, but Byrnes found allies at City Hall to fund the pickleball court updates. Later, Byrnes enlisted the support of fellow players and long-time Montgomery residents Pam & Dan Larsen.
The four beautiful pickleball courts are the result of three years of preparation, location scouting, and meetings with the Parks & Recreation Commission, contractors, and volunteers. Montgomery has always had a reputation for top-notch parks, and now, with the addition of these four courts, that reputation has only been enhanced. The Dulle Park courts have already garnered the reputation of being second to none and attracting many of the best players in the area. After playing, people are stopping at some of our restaurants for lunch or visiting some of our shops. Another bonus!
Rusty Schubert of Schubert Tennis, a former long-time Cincinnati tennis pro and member of the Cincinnati Tennis Hall of Fame, began work on re-surfaceing the tennis courts for pickleball in mid-April. Since mid-June, when the courts were ready for play, the turnout has been nothing less than amazing. At first, there were six or eight players every morning. Then slowly, the word spread, and now there is an average of 20 – 25 players daily. We are seeing new players all the time, and the comments have been 100 percent positive.
Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country, with an estimated 3.3 million players. A common misconception is that it is a seniors’ game, and while that was once true, now the largest group of players are those ages 28 to 35.
In the 55 years since the game got started, it has become part of many school’s athletic programs. Former tennis players have hung up their racquets in favor of these oversized ping-pong paddles and balls that resemble whiffle balls. There is even talk that it will be added to the Olympics in 2028!
Why is it so popular? Equipment is relatively inexpensive, and the convenient, casual approach of open play where players can drop in and play without having to arrange a game makes it all the more appealing. In the case of Dulle Park, open play begins at 8:00 a.m. daily. Pickleball is a great way to get a low impact and interval exercise. A considerable amount of strategy is involved, so it is also a great mental workout. As for families, it is an ideal game, and kids, as well as teens, are finding out how much fun it is.
Find out for yourself what makes this game so popular. See the latest addition to our Montgomery parks.
For additional information, visit the Montgomery Pickleball Facebook page or contact Mary Jo Byrnes at 513-702-2979.