It’s one of the
fastest growing sports in the country, with more than 3 million
participants, and thanks to the Park Department it’s come to Chesterton:
pickleball (according to Wikipedia, “a paddle sport that combines the
elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis").
Last year, before
his retirement, Park Superintendent Bruce Mathias had the two tennis
courtsÊat Chesterton Park striped for pickleball. He also provided temporary
nets, so that the tennis courts can be quickly converted for pickleball
play, with up to four separate, simultaneous matches possible on a single
Chesterton Park, in
fact, has since become a destination for the pickleball circuit in Northwest
Indiana, as Lorrie Laster told the Park Board at its meeting Tuesday
evening. “The courts are being used four or five times a week,” she said.
“People are coming from all over to play in Chesterton because there are so
In fact, as a sign
on the tennis court fence at Chesterton Park reads: “Pickleball Open Play:
WED-FRI-SAT-SUN 8 to 10 a.m.”
So Laster, along
with her husband, Bill, and about half a dozen other local pickleballers in
attendance on Tuesday, asked the Park Board to express “its commitment to
the fastest growing sport in America” by permanently re-purposing one of the
two tennis courts into three dedicated pickleball courts. To that end Bill
Laster presented to the Park Board what he called “an imagination sketch” of
the final product.
As Chris Huber
noted, “The thing about pickleball is that anyone can play it. As you get
older, tennis gets a little strenuous. Pickleball is much more tolerable for
old people, for any people. It’s an up-and-coming sport and I think it would
be very ahead-of-the-curve if we could get dedicated courts.”
Added Frank Turner,
“I used to drive to St. Joe, Mich., twice a week because there was no place
to play here. You’d be surprised by the popularity of this sport.”
Member Paul Shinn
did ask the pickleballers whether there was much in the way of conflict with
tennis players. Bill Laster said that the tennis courts are actually rarely
used for tennis.
Dickinson, for his part, suggested that the Park Board take some time to
learn about the sport before it made any decision. “I’d like to take some
time to digest what the sport’s all about,” he said. “Just give us a chance
to educate ourselves. I’m curious.”
that the Lasters meet with Park Superintendent Shane Griffin and discuss
their idea in more detail, but he did say that he likes the idea of
Chesterton’s becomingÊa regional pickleball destination.
Folks interested in
pickleball can visit the Chesterton Pickleball Fanatics Facebook page.
In other business,
Griffin reported that the splash pad season at Chesterton Park is winding
down. It will remain open through Monday, Sept. 7, Labor Day, then re-open
the next two weekends.
The splash pad’s
last day of the season will be Sunday, Sept. 20.