Outdoor courts – and a bit of romance – drove Welland resident Reese George to travel 40 minutes to play pickleball.
George, 23, started playing pickleball in 2018 at the YMCA and fell in love with the sport.
“I haven’t stopped playing since,” she told The Lake Report.
She’s now a pro and has been drafted to play in the Canadian National Pickleball League, a pro league that just began this year. It is the highest level of competitive pickleball in the country.
She’s playing with the Oshawa-based Southwestern Ontario Brewers and credits her time with the Niagara-on-the-Lake Pickleball Club for her success.
“The board is run super well and they all love the game. It’s very inclusive, it’s like a social club as well,” she said.
“They are really good at separating the level of play so that everyone gets the most out of their play sessions.”
After starting at the YMCA, she landed in NOTL because she was looking for a club with a more competitive level of play.
So, in 2019, George began practising in Niagara-on-the-Lake on what she thinks are the nicest courts in the area.
“I ended up joining for the outdoor courts originally,” George said. Those courts have since been closed after a noise complaint.
Finding love at the NOTL club has played a part in George’s improvements as well.
The club’s head pro Adam Eatrock is her boyfriend and has helped George hone her pickleball skills.
“He taught me everything I know and basically got me to where I am now,” she said.
She also is pleased that the NOTL club added her as a club pro.
The NOTL cub was formed in 2017 and plays out of the community centre year-round and is adding six new courts at the Central Community Centre on York Road.
Membership offers people access to club play sessions, professional instruction, social events and tournaments across Canada.