EAST LANSING, Mich. – The sport of pickleball has been gaining in popularity throughout the nation and locally here in the City of East Lansing.
Since last November, a group of community members have been meeting regularly at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center to play friendly matches of the paddle sport, which combines many of the elements of tennis, badminton and ping pong into one fun and simple game. The group started small and has since grown to include an email group of approximately 90 people and up to 30 players at each pickleball meetup.
Gary Beaudoin, a member of the East Lansing Parks & Recreation Commission, helped start the East Lansing pickleball group and recently worked to move the group outdoors by creating four temporary pickleball courts on one of the tennis courts at Patriarche Park. The group currently meets on Tuesdays and Thursday from 9-11 a.m. and Fridays from 6-9 p.m. out at the park. In the fall, they will move back indoors at ELHCC. Any community members interested in playing with the group are welcome to stop by and, if they have questions beforehand, they can contact Beaudoin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (517) 721-1303.
Recognizing the growing popularity of the sport, staff with the East Lansing Department of Parks, Recreation & Staff have provided the group with temporary nets, paddles and balls. City staff members are also considering the possibility of creating permanent pickleball courts on one of the tennis courts at Patriarche Park. In the meantime, Beaudoin will be bringing the temporary nets and gear out to Patriarche Park on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays this summer, providing community members with a trial run of outdoor pickleball in East Lansing. All are welcome and the game is easy for beginners to learn.
“I really got addicted to it in a hurry,” Beaudoin said of the sport. “Most of the people in our group have experienced pickleball somewhere else, but we have a lot of beginning players too. I would say approximately 90 percent of our group are retired community members over the age of 50, but we also have had younger players, including college students. It really has become a positive social thing for many of the players who have joined us.”