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Taste for pickleball grows in Amherst


Expanding to West Highlands school tonight

AMHERST – Pickleball is not a food, it’s a sport, and it’s addictive.

“It’s so addictive. I love it,” said pickleball enthusiast Muriel Morrison.

“You play for a couple hours and you burn 1,000 calories,” she added. “This doesn’t feel like exercise, it just feels like you’re having fun.”

Her sister and cousin in Halifax introduced Morrison to the sport, and she’s been playing in Amherst for a little over one month now.

“I was looking for a sport that we call exercising by accident and I found it.”

Her love of the sport inspired Morrison to spearhead a movement to help grow the sport of pickleball in Amherst. And it’s growing fast.

For the past month a large group has been playing at the Cumberland YMCA, and this week it expands to West Highlands Elementary School.

The YMCA has one court, and the high numbers of people coming out to play pickleball necessitated the need for expansion.

“Only four can play at a time here and we can have 10 or 12 people show up. We rotate but there’s too much time watching. We needed to find a bigger spot,” said Morrison. “We have enough space at West Highlands to set up six courts, and they have at least four sets of nets, so that will accommodate a good sized-crowd. Now we need more people, the more the merrier.”

Morrison thanks the YMCA for providing free pickleball, and she thanks the Town of Amherst and West Highlands Elementary for helping to expand the game to West Highlands.

Morrison contacted Corey Crocker, facilities co-ordinator or the Town of Amherst Recreation Department, and asked about finding a second facility for pickleball. He contacted Town of Amherst active living co-ordinator Tamara Porter.

“Corey Crocker sent Tamara an e-mail on our behalf and he also contacted the principal of West Highlands School on our behalf, so he got it going for us,” said Morrison.

Everything moved very fast after that.

“I sent a proposal to Tamara Thursday morning and she called me Thursday at lunchtime and told me she was ordering the equipment,” said Morrison. “She contacted a guy in Moncton who sold the equipment and she ordered the equipment for us.”

What is pickleball?

“The game is a cross between badminton and table tennis,” said Morrison.

Players use paddles to hit a plastic ball across a net.

“It’s not a high impact game. You don’t need a lot of strength to play,” said Morrison. “It’s like hitting a ping pong ball, so you don’t need the strength you need for tennis.”

Players in their teens up to players in their 70’s play in Amherst.

Amherst Pickleball Schedule

All pickleball is free and equipment is provided.

West Highlands Elementary School (Four courts)

Tuesdays – 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Fridays – 5 to 7:30 p.m.

YMCA (One court. No YMCA membership needed to play)

Tuesdays – 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Thursdays – 8 to 10 p.m.

Saturdays – 2 to 4 p.m.

 

 

 

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