Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, has finally given in to the irresistible rise of our favorite sport!
Surge In Popularity
In recent years, the surge in popularity of pickleball has driven the small town to convert two tennis courts at its Coolidge Elementary School into four dedicated pickleball courts.
While the original tennis nets remain, their purpose now solely entails demarcating the four courts and curbing the momentum of errant pickleball.
These newly established courts are Shrewsbury’s only public pickleball courts, and their inauguration in late May caused eager anticipation among the populace.
“Chomping At The Bit”
Director of Recreation Laurel Rossiter told The Sentinel Tribune that the demand for play was insatiable; “chomping at the bit” was the phrase she used.
“We got a lot of phone calls and emails,” Rossiter acknowledged, and the courts’ popularity has persisted ever since their inauguration.
She said, “People were really excited to get here and start playing. [The courts] have been pretty much used consistently ever since opening.”
Pickleball Induction Program
The conclusion of the Parks and Recreation Month festivities was marked by a pickleball introduction program on July 31.
Despite a gentle drizzle, a large number of newcomers embraced the opportunity to delve into the sport. Spearheading the instructional clinic was Travis Sullivan, a seasoned pickleball instructor and trainer.
Sullivan emphasized how pickleball accommodates individuals of diverse skill levels and ages and noted its unique competition dynamics. These facets allow players of different generations to compete on a level playing field.
He also highlighted the game’s adaptable tempo as the main point of attraction.
“Any skill or age level [can play],” said Sullivan. “You can be in your 20s and in the best shape of your life and playing against others that may be in their 60s or 70s – and you’re still losing against those guys. It’s all about the game speed. You can play the game really fast, or you can slow it down. It just opens the door to endless possibilities.”
Grasping The Fundamental Rules
Pickleball’s allure lies, in part, in its accessibility. Sullivan attested that participants could grasp the fundamental rules in a short session lasting an hour or an hour-and-a-half, allowing them to step onto any court and take part in a game.
“I guarantee you in an hour session, or an hour-and-a-half session, you will have the fundamental rules to feel comfortable enough to walk onto any court and feel comfortable enough to make a pick-up game with whoever is there,” he said.
With eight years of experience in pickleball instruction and training, Sullivan also underlined the sport’s sense of community. The growth of pickleball has led to a close-knit network of players who share camaraderie and connections through their mutual passion.
“Adaptable To Different Skill Levels”
Rossiter echoed this sentiment, emphasizing pickleball’s approachability. “Pickleball is a really accessible sport,” she affirmed. “It’s easy to learn, and there’s not as much running and wear and tear on the body. People find it comfortable to play, and it’s easily adaptable to different skill levels.”
Coolidge Elementary School is located at 1 Florence St., Shrewsbury, MA 01545.
Shrewsbury is located in Worcester County and has a population of around 38,500.
It is most notably the birthplace of white chocolate and the birth-control pill and is approximately 34 miles west of Boston.
Click here for more of our articles about pickleball in Massachusetts.
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