Getting into pickle: Clinic introduces sport to Starkville

Pickleball is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
By: 
DANNY P. SMITH
Staff Writer

It could be considered a cross between indoor tennis and ping pong.

When it comes to the developing the sport labeled pickleball, Gerry Logan of the Starkville Park and Recreation Department has been exposed to it in his previous stops in Clinton and College Station, Texas, through his work with the Senior Games.

He believes it's something that can catch on in Starkville.

"It's an interesting sport, especially if you've never seen it," Logan said. "(At the Senior Games) Pickleball was always the biggest event and the most competitive. Folks took it very seriously.

"When you look at it online, you get a little bit of insight into the world and people that actually travel all over the country and play in pickleball tournaments. Other parts of the country have some pretty nice facilities dedicated just to pickleball. Florida has several and Utah has several large facilities. It's a pretty big deal."

There will be an introduction to pickleball clinic on Tuesday at the Starkville Sportsplex inside the Travis Outlaw Center.

Logan said an individual came into his office a couple of weeks ago and asked about pickleball. With the Travis Outlaw Center, Logan felt like the SPRD had the type of facility to make something work.

"We love to see new activities," Logan said. "We don't have a lot of sports and fitness for older adults throughout our department just yet, so it definitely fits a need. We have the court space. They want the courts for a time which is not frequently used and that's in the morning usually. It's just a really good fit for our department."

The clinic is free to all ages and there will be two sessions. The first lasts from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. for early risers, then another one in the evening from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. People interested can attend one or both sessions. It will be an opportunity to get introduced to the game, meet other players and actually play the game.

Columbus has been involved with some pickleball clinics at Elm Lake Golf Club and Logan would like to see the idea catch on here.

"Basically, the best thing we can do is start somewhere and get as many people interested first so you can build up a good base," Logan said. "That's where we started and came up with the clinic.

"If you've never played before, you'll find it's pretty easy to take up. I expect you'll see this group play here once or twice a week in the gym. We have some equipment ordered to help that."

For more information on the clinic, contact Logan at glogan@starkvilleparks.com or 662-323-2294.

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