HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

As pickleball gains, tennis seems to fade

Written June 28th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

Before: If you put the camera on the ground, you can make weeds look gigantic.

Is tennis going out of style as a recreational sport? You might get that idea if you look at the photo above. But it’s a trick shot and doesn’t say anything about whether tennis is still being played.

I happened to ride past Albany’s Burkhart Park on June 10 when I noticed the tennis court was sprouting a good crop of weeds. I inquired about it, and a few days later I was able to take this shot, showing no more weeds:

After: The parks maintenance crew has been by and made the Burkhart court playable again.

Still, I can’t remember seeing anyone playing tennis there on the admittedly rare occasions when the bike takes me past the place. So the question remains: Does anyone still play tennis for fun?

You’ll notice in the photo that at Burkhart Park, they’ve added yellow lines for a pickleball. Maybe it is that game that is replacing tennis in the few parks that still have courts at all.

At Hackleman Park, the tennis court were converted to pickleball several years ago. And at Linn-Benton Community College, where the tennis courts were neglected for years and nobody demanded they be maintained, the courts are about to be rebuilt for pickleball.

On Wednesday the Albany City Council approved an agreement with LBCC for the pickleball project on the college’s Albany campus. The city has budgeted $300,000 to pay for the new courts in return for city programs and the public being able to use them at no charge.

Pickleball? You can look it up. This cross between tennis and badminton was invented as a family activity in Washington state in 1965 and has spread around the country since. Google also informs us that the game was named after Pickles, the dog of one of the originating families. Apparently Pickles would chase the ball and not give it back.

Maybe the increasing popularity of pickleball accounts for the apparent decline of tennis. But whether it’s tennis or its replacement, it would be nice to see more people on the courts. (hh)

The empty court at Burkhart Park on June 10.



5 responses to “As pickleball gains, tennis seems to fade”

  1. Don says:

    If I am correct those are not weeds but chicory plants, excellent forage for animals. The species may even be beneficial to humans.

  2. Mike Wilson says:

    Hasso, tennis (and pickleball too) is alive and well in Albany and the mid Willamette Valley at the Albany Tennis Club! Located at 1423 27th Ave. SW in Albany, ATC has three indoor tennis courts (one court also striped for pickleball), four outdoor tennis courts with lighting and a seasonal pool (with summer memberships and swimming lessons offered).

    Chip Blackmon, Club Mgr./Tennis Director and his staff offer instruction in both tennis and pickleball at all skill levels. This weekend, June 29-30, the Albany Summer Classic UTR tennis tournament is being held at the club. In July the Rally in the Valley pickleball tournament will be held at the club.

    You can learn more about the club and the tournaments by visiting http://www.albanytennisclub.org or calling Chip Blackmon at 541-926-2513. Club President, Glenn Edwards, would be pleased to coordinate a visit with you to show off the club. Board member contact information is available on the club’s web page.

    Tennis players of all skill levels are welcome at Albany Tennis Club!

    Mike Wilson
    Board Member

  3. centrist says:

    I had to look up the history.
    Hey let’s play badminton!
    Wait, there’s no shuttlecock. What about this plastic ball with holes in it?
    Let’s lower the net.
    These rackets don’t work well with that ball. Well, let’s make paddles from these boards that were in the shed.

    Or something like that.

  4. centrist says:

    Don
    I’d like to attribute the following, but the name is long gone
    “A weed is simply a plant with no current commercial value.”

  5. Bryan says:

    Pickleball is fun, my family and I enjoy both it and tennis. There is a shortage of quality sand volleyball courts in Albany and a great demand, LBCC is unable to fulfill the demand, hopefully Chris Reese considers that in his YMCA future expansion.

 

 
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