Sports

Pickleball picking up steam on new courts at Rengstorff Park


Courtesy of Monica Williams
Mountain View Mayor Lisa Matichak, center, cuts the ribbon on the new pickleball courts at Rengstorff Park. Mountain View resident Monica Williams, standing at right of Matichak, played an integral role in the project.

It has been two months since the opening of the pickleball courts at Rengstorff Park in Mountain View, and the person who played a prominent role in the project said it’s been a success.

Mountain View resident Monica Williams, president of the Palo Alto Pickleball Club and an ambassador of the USA Pickleball Association, said the two courts are “doing great.” Participants number 12-16 on any given day, according to Williams.

It took two years of planning and construction for the courts to become a reality. They opened in April at the back of the park, next to the tennis courts.

Pickleball does not involve pickles; rather, it calls for graphite and polymer paddles and plastic whiffle balls. Invented in 1965 and popular with seniors, the sport is similar to badminton, tennis and table tennis.

“Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the U.S.,” Williams said. “It is so popular because it can be learned quickly, is low impact and can be played by ages from 9 to 90.”

The courts are open to everyone, Williams said, and she invites people to stop by and give it try. The Palo Alto Pickleball Club provides the equipment, and members are happy to teach participants how to play, Williams said. The club’s motto is “Arrive as a stranger and leave as a friend.”

Williams began campaigning for pickleball courts in Mountain View in April 2014 when she made the request to the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission.

“I was introduced to pickleball in Arizona and fell in love with the game,” she said. “On returning to Mountain View, I spoke to the Parks and Recreation Commission to ask that they investigate how to offer pickleball to the Mountain View community.”

The effort she and other pickleball players put in paid off April 12 when Mountain View Mayor Lisa Matichak cut the ribbon to open the city’s first permanent pickleball courts.

There may be more pickleball courts to come. Williams and her club are now lobbying for more courts in Mountain View and Palo Alto. Williams said the need is there.

Before the Rengstorff courts, Williams and other club members devised their own courts at the park. They placed painter’s tape on tennis courts for boundaries and lugged their own nets.

“We estimated that we had carried over 7 tons of nets in two years,” Williams said.

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