Pickleball in Ajijic
Updated: Apr 17
One of the greatest things about living in Ajijic is the fact that there are so many things to do here. No matter your passion, it can be found in the Lake Chapala area. And if not, you can start a club of your own!
In May 2016 we were fortunate enough to have the Raquet Club in San Juan Cosala introduce Pickleball to the area. The Raquet Club's pickleball division started out with 4 courts with lines painted over top of the existing tennis court lines. This was great at the beginning but they soon saw that the demand was going to grow so they painted permanent pickleball courts and expanded the facilities to 6 courts. Now, almost 4 years later, we regularly have 20 to 30 people come out during the winter months 10-20 during the summer.
With it's growing popularity, a second facility was added at the Monte Carlo Hotel in Chapala. This location is even better for many Ajijic residents and regularly attracts 20-40 most days of the week and holds all of our tournaments. Monte Carlo also has the added advantage of being bus friendly as the bus drops you off right at the hotel. Great for snowbirds and visitors without cars.
Both facilities offer lessons and paddle/ball rental and are open to the public 7 days a week.
Here is a bit of history about the game of Pickleball from the USA Pickleball Assocciation:
2020 marks the 55th Anniversary of pickleball, as it was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, a short ferry ride from Seattle, by three enterprising dads – Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum. Their children were bored with their usual summertime activities. It evolved from the original handmade equipment and simple rules into a popular sport throughout North America and is now taking off in other parts of the world.
The origin of the game’s name is very interesting, especially since no pickles are used. Accounts of how the name originated differ. According to Joel Pritchard’s wife (Joan), she started calling the game pickleball because “the combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats”. However, according to Barney McCallum, the game was officially named after the Pritchards’ dog Pickles who would chase the ball and run off with it. According to McCallum, “The Pritchards had a dog named Pickles, and you’re having fun at a party, right? So anyways, what the hell, let’s just call it pickleball.”
Others claim both accounts may be true. In the early years, no official name was assigned to the game. However, a year or two after the game was invented, the Pritchard’s purchased a cocker spaniel and named it Pickles. As the game progressed, an official name was needed and “pickleball” was it.
More information about local pickleball activities can be found at https://www.lakechapalapickleball.com/
and on their Facebook Page
Pickleball can be played by players of any age, even into your 90's!, It is a fun, fast, and exciting game to play and has attracted an estimated 3.3 million players in the U.S. alone so come on out and join in the fun in Lake Chapala, Mexico!
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