Pickleball

How did this sport get its name?

This sport was founded by three guys on an afternoon in 1965. They were trying to find something for their kids to do, but couldn’t find all the equipment for their badminton set.

Two theories on the name:

  1. It was named for one of the founder’s dog “Pickles”
  2. It was named by one of the founder’s wives because it somehow reminded her of “pickle boats” (I cannot figure out what a pickle boat is)

The media likes the dog story better, apparently. There is no official position on it.

Why I Looked It Up

Pickleball seems to be taking over the world. It feels like everyone I know is playing it. I have at least two friends that have built formal pickleball courts in their backyards.

I always wondered about the name because it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the game.

The article where I got the above information also makes a point I share:

[…] many pickleballers feel that this naming controversy is a dent in the sport’s 50-year old heritage. It kind of prevents the sport from getting more recognition as it sounds childish.

The name is odd, and it doesn’t make the sport feel on the same level as other sports, which is unfortunate. Pickleball sounds like something you play in the front yard at a family reunion after a couple of beers.

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