A team from Moose Jaw competed in the Pickleball National Championship held in Regina last weekend.
Gracie Farago, 19, and Jacob Radwanski, 22, were two of the younger people on the court, competing in mixed doubles (16-49).
"It was very fun, a little nerve-wracking of course but it was also very exciting to be in such a big setting with so many courts and so many people that like to play the same sport that we do," said Farago. "We didn't do too well, we lost both of our first games so that ended up getting us eliminated because it's a double elimination tournament but we had lots of fun, which I think is the most important thing."
What's surprising is that the duo only started playing the game back in June. Farago says when they saw that nationals were coming to Regina, they decided to sign up.
"We were just kind of bored one day and we knew that the courts by the Kinsmen Sportsplex were open and I had a pickleball set in my house so we decided to go out and give it a try and it was very fun. We instantly had a really good time. We're always looking for something to do that's active. It was the perfect thing to go out and do in the summer and from there because it was so close to our houses, we decided it's just really fun to just go out whenever we had a good opportunity to go out and we got to meet more people that we got to play with and it was lots of fun."
She notes the great thing about pickleball is that it's easy to learn and can be played by all age groups and abilities. It's also a really good workout.
Farago says Moose Jaw's pickleball community has welcomed her and Jacob with open arms. She added it was a little bit daunting at first to be playing with people who weren't in their demographic.
"We weren't sure exactly if the other players were going to take us in or if they weren't but luckily pickleball has such a welcoming community and it's a very social game. Playing in Moose Jaw we were welcomed right away. Instantly found people that we could play with which was awesome and then at the tournament we made so many new friends."
Farago encourages anyone looking for a new sport to give pickleball a try.
"You see at the outdoor courts. There are families with their kids that are playing but then there are also seniors that are playing so it's a sport that can capture such a wide demographic. I would really encourage anyone to play. It's really fun to play with your friends. If you're playing doubles it's really fun. I would definitely encourage everyone to go out and give it a shot," she concluded.
Pickleball is a racquet sport resembling a combination of tennis and ping pong. It’s played on a court 20 feet wide by 44 feet long. There is a seven-foot zone at the net called “the kitchen”, which is a non-volley zone. The ball has to bounce inside “the kitchen” before it can be returned.
Games are normally played to 11 points, and must be won by two.
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