by Doug Fidel
Ping-Ping-Ping. Any pickleball player recognizes the sound. I know nothing else that gets my nudist neighbors moving as fast as the ping-ping-ping sound of someone playing pickleball on The Willamettans court. Personally, I have never played pickleball, but I have played Ping-Pong since I was a boy.
As I was researching pickleball, I was surprised to find out it is among the fastest growing sports in America and it tops the list for seniors over 50. More surprising was that the sport was invented right here in the AANR-Northwest region close to several clubs and resorts. In 1965 Congressman Joel Pritchard and friends Bill Bell and Barney McCallum are credited for creating the game for family entertainment. A corporation was formed in 1972 to protect the creation of this new sport and the fi rst pickleball tournament was held in the spring of 1976 in Tukwila, Washington.
Where did the name “pickleball” come from? While the Pritchard’s family did have a dog named “Pickles,” the dog was not included in the family until two years after the game of pickleball was invented. The dog was actually named after the game, not the other way around. According to Joel Pritchard’s wife (Joan), she started calling the game pickleball because “the combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.”
The United States American Pickleball Association (USAPA) was organized in 1984. The goal was to perpetuate the growth of pickleball on a national level. Obviously, they have accomplished a great growth rate that has captured the attention of nudists nationwide.
AANR-Northwest participated in the Oregon Parks and Recreation Association trade show at the Eugene, Oregon Hilton this past November. During some slow time, the sound of ping-ping-ping caught the attention of the AANR members hosting the AANR-Northwest display. The USAPA ambassador Tom Whidden's attention was captured when he heard The Willamettans Family Nudist Resort had two nice tennis courts. He started doing the math and shared that the two courts could be taped off for eight pickleball courts.
In a very short period of time, Tom was soliciting The Willamettans to host a USAPA pickleball tournament. Tom approached the Board of Directors who unanimously agreed it was a great idea. The Willamettans President, Alan Jaskoski, shared a conversation that he had with AANR Executive Director, Dan Whicker, who feels that conventions should be event driven. AANR-Northwest President Dave Smith wasted no time supporting a USAPA pickleball tournament during the AANR-Northwest convention. Tom suggested that he limit the tournament to 200 registrations. All skill levels are welcome, and the tournament has been described as a fun three-day event. Players will pre-register for the tournament on the USAPA website. Following that registration, they will be directed to The Willamettans website to register for the convention. The win-win is The Willamettans will be promoted to every pickleball player visiting the USAPA website. The Willamettans has the potential to have two hundred fi rst-time visitors to introduce the joys of nude recreation.
In early January, I attended a USAPA meeting in the Portland, Oregon area. Forty-five pickleball movers and shakers representing areas in the northwest were in attendance planning the advancement of pickleball. My presentation was well received and the networking invaluable.
Tom Whidden is addicted to advancing pickleball. He researched the AANR website and I know he envisions tournaments at nudist resorts beyond the AANR-Northwest region. He did express that he was surprised that other AANR affiliated resorts were very active in pickleball! Many nudists plan their vacations around venues where they can recreate nude. Pickleball players plan their vacations around pickleball tournaments. Let's grow pickleball in our nudist activities and events and capture some of their vacation time and get healthier at the same time. Perhaps after having the opportunity to spend time playing their favorite sport nude, they may become as excited about nudism as they are about pickleball!
Healthy and fun, pickleball and nudism together are a win for all ages.
First printed March 2017 in the AANR Bulletin Page 33. Reproduced with permission.
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