Photo by Erika Kar
A small army of volunteers pitched in to build a new pickleball court adjacent to the Mazama Community Club.

By Erika Kar

Let’s take a break from thinking about fire and smoke, at least for a few minutes. Instead, let’s think about something very opposite of fire and smoke. What is it? Pickleball! Now, you may be thinking that the opposite of our current existence would be something more along the lines of snow, tradewinds or even happy unicorns. But, hear me out on this pickleball deal.

Just the name alone is funny and a little happy sounding. Who the heck named this game pickleball and why? According to United States Pickleball Association, the game’s name originated from one of two places, or perhaps a combination of both. One was from the term “pickleboat” in crew, where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats. Pickleball is sort of a hodgepodge of a game, borrowing from other games. The other possible origin of the name comes from the name of one of the game’s creator’s dog, a cocker spaniel named, you guessed it, Pickles.

Pickleball is fun, unlike smoke. And not necessarily super serious, unlike fire.

So, now that we are all thinking about the happy game of pickleball, here is the exciting news that you can use: Mazama has its very own pickleball court right next to the Mazama Community Club! It is true. The excellent people at The Mazama Community Club decided that pickleball would be a very welcome addition to Mazama and then they put their vision into reality with the help of a lot of volunteers:

Contractors — Big Valley Builders, Tim Smith, provided expertise, equipment and donated his concrete crew; Jerry Laverty Construction, Jerry Laverty, provided tools and inspection services; former contractor Rick LeDuc provided excavation equipment and operation; former contractor Dave Ford was the project coordinator with Midge Cross making things happen.

Hand excavators/ rebar placers/ form builders — Gale Baer, Dave Caldwell, Jerry Bell, Dave Crosby, Alan Fahnestock, Dave Ford.

Catering services — Nancy Leland

Concrete equipment, tools and installation — Tim Smith, Josh Palm, Matt Cannon, Arron Codwell, Steve Dodge and Randy Picklesimer were the concrete specialists with support from Gale Baer, Dave Crosby and Dave Ford.

My apologies if I missed anyone. It was truly a collaboration of efforts by many generous people.

Midge Cross tells me that the Mazama Community Club (MCC) will have paddles to use. Membership to MCC is, as always, encouraged. Your $30 annual fee helps to pay for benefits to our community, like these. I am envisioning a lot of fun tournaments in our futures, once the smoke is gone.

If you need any more reasons to jump on the pickleball bandwagon, here’s a good bit of trivia: Pickleball was created in 1965 on Bainbridge Island by three dads looking to lively up their bored children during summer vacation. This was obviously before the days of smart phones, tablets or video games.

See you on the court!