The rapidly growing sport of pickleball has found a home in Warwick.
A group of pickleball players meets every Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. or later at the Mickey Stevens Tennis Courts, located at 975 Sandy Lane. For those interested in playing and meeting new people, the group is slowly expanding. On Monday morning, 16 players showed up. All are welcome to play and learn more about the widely popular new sport. Instructions can be given. There is no fee.
Originally, a group of six friends were in search of a local site to play one of their favorite pastimes. With the cooperation of Mickey Rooney of the Warwick Parks and Recreation department and publicity, the group has morphed into “Rhody Pickleballers.” Rooney has provided four painted courts at Mickey Stevens for the group to play on.
People are also encouraged to play pickleball on their own. Since the Mickey Stevens Tennis Courts’ lines are now painted, they are available for play seven days a week from sunrise to sunset for any interested players. The pickleball court is smaller than a tennis court.
The paddles, balls, and other equipment may be purchased from several sporting vendors online, at Dick’s Sporting Goods on Route 2, or at Sports Authority’s website and possibly at the Narragansett store due to popular interest down there.
Pickleball is a mix between badminton, tennis, and ping-pong. It is played on a badminton-sized court with paddles made of wood or high-tech materials. The ball being used is similar to a wiffle ball, but slightly smaller. The lower net and wiffle ball allow the game to be accessible to people of all ages and abilities, while still allowing for more competitive players to test their skills. The game was invented in the 1960s as a backyard game and has evolved into a sport played at a high skill level.
Art Sulmasy, one of the organizers, said Rhody Pickleballers would like to thank Mickey Rooney and the Warwick Beacon for helping to get the sport in play in Warwick.
Rhody Pickleballers has an email list of about 40 players. Those who are interested in receiving email updates can contact Bob Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Nancy and Art Sulmasy at 739-4376. Mickey Rooney can also provide information and can be reached at 738-2000.