Pickleball seemingly has become one of the most popular activities in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
On Sunday an open house at the NOTL Pickleball Club’s brand-new indoor courts at Central Community Centre on York Road attracted big crowds.
“This marks a turning point for the club,” club president John Hindle told The Lake Report.
“We’ve put two exemplary organizations together. The best facility and the best club,” he said.
Hindle added that with the sport growing so fast, the club had been limited in the number of courts at its home base at the NOTL Community Centre.
“We’re now tripling our size from three to nine courts,” he added.
An endeavour that has been three years in the making, Hindle said he was overwhelmed with emotions finally seeing the community out and able to play.
“It almost makes me teary-eyed to see everyone out here and knowing they can schedule to play whenever they want,” he said.
For Hindle, pickleball is all about inclusivity.
“I’ve seen energy go into big team sports and all of a sudden you’re 20 and can’t play that sport any more,” he said.
At the open house, there were players with a wide range in age, skills and ability.
“We’ve got five- and six-year-olds learning and some of our members go as old as their early 80s,” Hindle said.
Joy Sanguedolce, a director of the club and social committee lead, is a prime example, saying she had never played a sport before joining the pickleball club.
“Since I’ve been a member, one of the things we’ve been known for is being all inclusive and welcoming. We offer everything from beginner to the highest level,” Sanguedolce said.
“It’s all about fun first.”
The six new courts at Central don’t mark the end of the club’s expansions, though.
Hindle told The Lake Report that the club is in talks with the town about reopening the outdoor courts in Virgil, along with approaching Niagara Parks about using the old Queenston tennis courts.
New members of the NOTL Pickleball Club will receive three free drop-ins and the club provides paddles and balls, if needed.
The courts at Central Community Centre are open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.