Pickleball has spread like wildfire across Fairfield County and Blythewood, South Carolina, in the last couple of years. However, Mitford folks had to drive halfway across the county to the Fairfield County Recreation Center in Winnsboro to find the nearest courts – a journey of about 15 miles.
The Wheels Of Change
Traveling all that way was a hindrance to the Mitford pickleballing community and a constant topic of conversation among the players.
Eventually, Lori Digh and her friend Lori Boyt, both Mitford residents, started the wheels of change in motion after a Facebook conversation discussing the need for a pickleball court that was more accessible.
Lori’s persistence in the subject eventually led her husband Jerry to organize a pickleball program at the Mitford Community Center, sitting at the intersection of Wateree Road and Camp Welfare Road in northeastern Fairfield County.
The indoor court at Mitford initially attracted a modest gathering of six to eight people. However, that figure has already nearly doubled.
“It Brings People Together”
Jerry emphasizes that pickleball transcends being just a game. He told Mike Simmons at blythewoodonline.com, “It brings people in the community together but offers a physical activity that the people in Mitford didn’t have easy access to.
“Pickleball is a cross between tennis, ping-pong, badminton, and a little volleyball thrown in. Like the volleyball game of old, you have to serve to score,” Jerry explained.
The Dighs are also contemplating expanding the pickleball facilities in their community.
Jerry adds, “I’ve made a lot of new friends thanks to pickleball,” Jerry expressed. “It’s spreading.”
All the necessary equipment for play is supplied at the Mitford Center, and there is no participation fee.
The pickleball hours at the Mitford Recreational Center are:
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4 to 8 p.m.
Fridays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Pickleball is also gaining traction 25 miles south in Blythewood.
The Jeep Rogers YMCA celebrated the inauguration of its new pickleball courts on September 23, with over a hundred players attending.
“The beauty of pickleball is that it’s a game for all ages and genders,” remarked Scott Baulkcum, Executive Director of the Jeep Rogers Y, situated at 900 Lake Carolina Drive, just adjacent to the Lake Carolina community.
The Y received a grant from The United States Pickleball Association for equipment, which included paddles, balls, and instruction, to kickstart the program.
“Pickleball has given us the blessing of adding another amenity to our community,” Baulkcum added.
The Likelihood Of Future Tournaments
Looking ahead, Baulkcum envisions introducing pickleball tournaments at the Y in addition to the regular play currently offered.
The Y provides indoor and outdoor courts.
Indoor courts are available for play on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; outdoor courts are accessible Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 8:45 p.m., Fridays from 8 a.m. to 7:45 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Y members can enjoy the courts at no cost, while non-members are subject to a $5 fee.
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