Three nights a week for 12 weeks, the Grants Pass United Pickleball Club gathers inside the gym at Rogue Community College to exercise, socialize and spread the word of one of the fastest growing sports in the country.
GRANTS PASS—When the weather puts outdoor sports in a pickle, it’s no problem for pickleball.
A sport with a quirky name and a growing level of fame now has a partnership with Rogue Community College—a pairing that enables the Grants Pass United Pickleball Club to offer an indoor class every semester.
“We’ve had to have a minimum of 25 people and as you can see, we’ve got way more than 25 people involved in this,” Steve Ware said, the head of the club.
It’s a group that’s grown to 150 people.
“I’m not very good at tennis, not very good at volleyball, not very good at badminton, but for some crazy reason I can play pickleball,” he said.
The personalities range far and wide.
There’s 83-year-old Jack Sanders, who plays to keep sharp and stay active with his son.
“I always tell people, if you’re older, it keeps you agile and keeps you from getting Alzheimer’s because you got to learn how to keep score,” Ware said.
There’s Claudia Beausoleil, who’s hoping to build courts in her hometown of Williams, but in the meantime is content with making the half hour drive to get her fix.
“It’s expensive to commute back and forth four or five days a week. I play at RCC, I play at the YMCA, and I play at the city parks out on Fruitdale,” she said.
The athletes say playing outside is preferable, but at the end of the day it’s not so much about where they are, but who they’re with.