Pickleball has gained significant popularity recently in Paris, Texas, as demonstrated by the presence of 800 members on the Paris Texas Pickleball Facebook group.
The club organizes regular games at local churches and outdoors at courts in Paris Junior College and Culbertson Park.
A Keen Interest
While not all 800 members actively participate, most show a keen interest and offer support to the sport, according to Sue Hays, who has been championing pickleball in Paris for nearly a decade.
Hays told David Money at Theparisnews.com, “Many are active, and the number keeps growing almost daily.”
Sue Hays demonstrated her commitment to the cause by personally addressing the Paris City Council recently, and this coincided with an update by Public Works Director Michael Smith regarding the conversion of a tennis court at Culbertson Park into four pickleball courts.
Following a bid process, the city awarded a contract of $17,116 to Dobbs Tennis Courts for the conversion. Smith indicated that the work was set to commence last week and was estimated to take approximately three days to complete.
The proposal entails constructing eight illuminated courts, and the group intends to handle the financing.
“Paris Needs Pickleball So Badly”
During her address at the public forum, Hays stated, “I represent a large group of pickleball players here in Paris, Texas. Like about 800 people. We are wanting to build courts at the athletic complex near Love Civic Center.”
Hays emphasized the significance of this initiative for the community, stating, “Paris needs pickleball so badly.
“I had this thought eight years ago when I played inside the First United Methodist Church, and I thought then that we needed pickleball in Paris because we are dealing with too much obesity and too many mental health problems.”
“People talk about how pickleball has completely turned their lives around.”
“Ping Pong On Steroids”
She went on to say, “But there are just not enough courts here for the amount of people playing with the numbers growing almost daily as evidenced by the increased interest on our Facebook page.”
She had also been quoted rather amusingly as having said, “Some of our players have called it ping pong on steroids. It is an easy game to play. Four people usually play to 11 points. The most difficult part is keeping scores,” she said.
“It is difficult to decide the best part,” she commented. Is it the social experience, loss of weight, lab test results, increased agility, and stamina, laughing and yelling like a child, forgetting all your worries, or just enjoying the sound of that plastic wiffle ball exploding off the paddle.”
Currently, pickleball is being played indoors at approximately five churches and outdoors wherever courts are available. Hays also noted the increasing interest on their Facebook page as evidence of the growing popularity.
After the meeting, Hays expressed gratitude towards council member Gary Savage for his support in advocating for the addition of courts to Culbertson Park.
Savage endorsed the city’s backing of the group’s efforts to incorporate courts at the athletic complex and expressed a desire to be involved in a staff meeting regarding the project.
Hays concluded, “We really appreciate him and the impact he has had in helping us get some support from the city.”
Paris Texas Pickleball plays at Paris Junior College, 2400 Clarksville St, Paris, TX 75460.
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