Pickleball grows in popularity during pandemic

Pickleball, invented in the 1960s, has evolved over the decades and is still growing in popularity, including in New York.

"What’s great about pickleball is it’s adaptable to surroundings so you could do it on the gym floor, you could do it in a park, you could lay lines in the street, it’s amazing how many different places, even during Covid, pickleball actually kept going and kept growing during Covid which is amazing," said Ken Henderson, Founder and President of Traveling Pickleball Pros. "Courts are being built everywhere right now.

"It’s a similar game to ping-pong and tennis, but it has its own particular rules. It’s an easy game to start if you’re an athlete if you’ve played any sport before you’ll have no trouble picking it up, if you play paddle sports before it’s even easier and if you’ve played no sport I can have you playing in a couple of minutes," said pickleball player Mark Berkow. 

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At the Mid-Island YMCA in Plainview, Long Island pickleball has become a staple. The combination of getting exercise and making new friends is attracting so many people to the game, including many retirees.

You can find 69-year-old Faith Konikoff playing twice a day at the Y - morning and night. 

"I have to be careful. I had a bad fall a couple of weeks ago going after a ball and I was out for like three weeks, it was really bad, but it didn’t stop me from coming back and playing," said Konikoff. 

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"What was more important is I was able to meet new people at this stage of life because people move to Florida, people move away and unfortunately some people pass away at our age and I’ve met friends here I can honestly say will be my lifelong friends," said Joel Rauch. 

And one player told us the answer to the question you might be wondering.

"The people who invented the game out in the state of Washington and they had a dog and the dog would run after the balls that look like Wiffle balls and the dog's name obviously was Pickles."

Pickles' name will certainly live on.