The Commercial Appeal from Memphis, Tennessee on October 31, 2021 · A19
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The Commercial Appeal from Memphis, Tennessee · A19

Memphis, Tennessee
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 31, 2021
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COMMERCIALAPPEAL.COM | SUNDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2021 | 19A ASSIGNMENT: MEMPHIS SUNDAY EXTRA During the pandemic, Taylor said her nonprofit painted 30 pickleball courts in homeowners’ driveways “to help sup- port our nonprofit” and allow people to get out- side and play with family and friends. “We are now getting calls for people who want (permanent) courts in their backyards,” Taylor said. “In 10 years, I’m guessing people won’t have swimming pools in their backyards. They’ll have pickleball courts.” Taylor is involved in the construction of pick- leball courts in associa- tion with BladeRunner Turf & Sports Courts, a Memphis-based compa- ny. A pickleball court costs roughly $30,000, according to Taylor. Still, the greatest growth appears to be at public parks and public indoor facilities in the Memphis suburbs and in various clubs inside the city limits. Taylor said her group recently painted pickleball lines on the tennis courts at The Arte- sian, a 16-story condo on Riverside Drive. Her group has also been in- volved with pickleball work at the Memphis Hunt and Polo Club, Memphis Country Club and the MJCC. “Everything we do goes back into our non- profit,” Taylor said. “Ev- ery lesson I teach, every paddle I sell or every court we paint we put the money back in to help support building courts and putting pickleball in the under-resourced communities. We want a court in every communi- ty. That’s our goal.” Taylor said she’d love to see pickleball courts at Liberty Park, the $200 million development pro- ject at the old Memphis Fairgrounds. “They may be figuring out how to make it hap- pen there,” Taylor said. Pickleball delivers competition and camaraderie Gary Grear, owner of String ‘n Swing tennis shop near Ridgeway and Primacy Parkway, said the growth of the sport has forced him to provide more space in his store to pickleball equipment. A wall in the store that dis- played tennis racquets now shares space with pickleball paddles and cartons of wiffle balls. “We’re ordering stuff as fast as we can get it in,” Grear said. “Before the pandemic hit, it was a very small percentage of our business. It’s been growing every month since.” Kenneth Jennings, 56, of Memphis, has been playing for three years. He’s played tournaments in the region, winning an event in Tupelo, but says he enjoys the competition as much as the camara- derie. “I’ve met some of the nicest people you can meet,” he said. Baum said pickleball was a godsend during the pandemic. With most athletic clubs closed dur- ing the early stages, most people were exercising in front of their televisions or iPads. “I was doing Pure Barre, but I was stuck in my room with my mat,” she said. “It was lone- some and isolating. This has been great. We played all winter. We played with our puff coats and wore gloves with the fingers cut out.” Wayne Landry, 66, and recently retired from Fe- dEx, is a regular at the Cameron Brown courts as is Dee Dee Wolbrecht, 56, of Memphis. She said she was introduced to the sport 20 years by a pro- fessor at the University of Memphis. “He told me: `Mark my words; this sport is going to takeoff,’ ” she said. “I just love it. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.” While the game skews to an older audience, the courts at Cameron Brown on a Saturday morning represented a cross-sec- tion of ages, from the 30s to the 70s. Taylor’s assis- tant at the clinic was an 18-year-old. What was apparent from the friendly atmos- phere surrounding the gathering — and the crowds steadily stream- ing to the courts — is pickleball’s popularity in the area remains strong. “I could talk about pickleball all day, I could play pickleball all day,” Taylor said. “I tell people the only thing that’s sore when I finish playing pickleball is my face ... from smiling so much.” Freelancer Phil Stu- kenborg is a former staff writer and deputy sports editor for The Commer- cial Appeal. You can email him at philstuken- Continued from previous page How to play pickleball USA Pickleball Association Scoring Points are scored only by the serving team. Games are normally played to 11 points, win by 2. Tournament games may be to 15 or 21, win by 2. Two-Bounce Rule When the ball is served, the receiving team must let it bounce before returning, and then the serving team must let it bounce before returning, thus two bounces. After the ball has bounced once in each team’s court, both teams may either volley the ball (hit the ball before it bounces) or play it off a bounce (ground stroke). The two-bounce rule eliminates the serve and volley advantage and extends rallies. Where to play pickleball in the Memphis area? Among the most popular places to play in the Memphis area are Cameron Brown Park in Germantown, Shadowlawn Park in Bartlett and the members-only Willow Grove Farms in Cordova. Go to and click Places to Play for more options in the Memphis area. Memphis Pickleball on Facebook is also informative.

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