Wausau becomes mecca for pickleball enthusiasts

Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 4:11 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - With nine courts and more than 200 members Wausau is becoming a destination for pickleball players.

“Stevens Point, Rhinelander, Tomahawk, we’re hoping to draw people in from other areas, other communities, and expose more people to the sport,” Wausau Pickleball board member Mark Strehlow said.

The courts at Marathon Park opened last summer. Since they are outside, they were able to stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic, which boosted attendance.

“It’s exploded, and I think it’ll continue to gain in popularity,” Wausau Area Pickleball President Andrea Ingvalson said.

Pickleball is a tennis-like game played on a badminton-sized court. Players use a paddle resembling a giant pingpong paddle and a plastic ball similar to a whiffle ball.

“It’s easier on the joints, it’s a smaller court to cover, that’s where we see the explosion right now,” Ingvalson said.

“You don’t have to be fast, you don’t have to be in perfect condition. It’s just a lot of fun and I met a lot of great people playing this, a lot of good friends,” new pickleball player Ellen Chittum said.

As the name suggests, pickleball is a quirky sport. But once you understand the rules and strategy, fun is almost guaranteed.

“An hour to learn and then a lifetime to enjoy,” Ingvalson said.

For a link to the Wausau Area Pickleball website, click here.

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