Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 16

The sport with a peculiar name is spreading across Georgia
By Amber Lanier Nagle

The early days of Georgia pickleball
The couple returned home to North Georgia and began
recruiting friends to come over and play the newly discovered
game on two private tennis courts they had modified with chalk
lines. Ann also placed a notice in the Cherokee Tribune: "If you
are interested in learning to play pickleball, call us."
"And lots of people called," she says. "In no time, dozens of
people were coming over to play pickleball, and we launched
the North Georgia Pickleball Club."
The Earleys, whom many refer to as "Georgia's first couple
of pickleball," eventually converted their tennis courts into six
private pickleball courts. Today, hundreds of intermediate,

16

Georgia Magazine

September 2020

PI

X

advanced and professional pickleballers
from across the country flock to their farm
to practice and compete. The couple also
/
M
.CO
hosts pickleball clinics.
CK
O
IST
"Discovering pickleball has been such
a blessing for us," she says. "We've formed so many
wonderful friendships, and we've helped advance the sport
in Georgia and throughout the Southeast, and that's important
to us. It's such a fun, social game and a great form of exercise."
BH

I

n 2004, Canton residents Ann and
Tom Earley loaded their two standard
poodles into their motorhome and
drove west to Casa Grande, Ariz., to vacation.
By Helen Newling Lawson
While playing tennis at Palm Creek Resort, they
heard a strange "click, clack, click, clack," followed by
lots of laughter.
"We followed the sounds and voices and met a small group
of pickleball players on a nearby court," Ann Earley says. "They
handed us two paddles and gave us a two-minute introduction
to the game, and we started playing. That was the day we put
our tennis rackets down and never looked back."
The sport the Earleys embraced combines elements of
tennis, racquetball, badminton and table tennis. Using large
wooden paddles, players serve and volley perforated plastic
balls (like Wiffle balls) over a 34-inch net on a 20-foot-by-44 foot
badminton-size court.

How it all began
Pickleball was invented in the summer of 1965 by three
Washington state fathers (Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney
McCallum) who were looking for a new activity to entertain their children. Legend has it that the sport is named for
Pritchard's cocker spaniel, Pickles, who often hid the game balls
in the bushes.
"It's an easy sport for beginners to learn but can also offer
a fast-moving, competitive game for more experienced players,"
notes Walter Putnam, a USA Pickleball Association (USAPA)
ambassador and president of Duluth-based Georgia Pickleball.
"As the sport has gained momentum, pickleball courts have
popped up at schools, parks and community centers throughout
the state," he says. "But for people who don't live near a court,
creating a makeshift pickleball court in a driveway or modifying
a tennis court is pretty easy, too."

A fast-paced (and fast-growing) sport
Pickleball matches are played as singles or doubles, and
the first player or team to reach 11 points wins. Players or teams

PETER PHELPS

The Spalding County Pickleball Facility at Wyomia Tyus Olympic
Park in Griffin features 18 professional courts, concessions, picnic
areas, restrooms and spectator seating.



Georgia Magazine - September 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - September 2020

Contents
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 4
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 5
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 6
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 7
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 8
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 9
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 10
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 11
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 12
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 13
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 14
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 15
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 16
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 17
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 18
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 19
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 20
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 21
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 22
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 23
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 24
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 25
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 26
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 27
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 28
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 29
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 30
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 31
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 32
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 33
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 34
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 35
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 36
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 37
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 38
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Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 40
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 41
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 42
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - Cover4
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