A game with a name: pick­le­ball launches in Digby

Game a low-im­pact, ac­ces­si­ble sport for se­niors, all ages, says ac­tive liv­ing man­ager


You won’t find your­self in a pickle if you try out the lat­est sport to ar­rive in Digby. And no, its name doesn’t come from a crunchy, pre­served cu­cum­ber.

The sport in­volves a ten­nis-like net, two sets of in­di­vid­ual play­ers or teams, one round, plas­tic ball and rack­ets for all play­ing. Us­ing a bad­minton-sized court and a ball with the bounce of its ping-pong rel­a­tive, play­ers vol­ley back and forth.

Cara Sun­der­land, ac­tive liv­ing man­ager with the Digby Area Re­cre­ation Com­mis­sion, de­scribes the game as a “crazy com­bi­na­tion of ping-pong and ten­nis” and says she was in­spired to bring the uniquely-named sport to town af­ter see­ing videos of it online and hear­ing it had taken off in the An­napo­lis Val­ley.

“I fig­ured we could use some of our open-gym time on Satur­days to en­cour­age peo­ple to come out for free and try it – we’ve got the equip­ment for peo­ple to use, and re­ally hope peo­ple come try this,” she says.

The sport orig­i­nated in the United States, where its founders named it for their dog, Pick­les, who loved chas­ing balls. It has grown to ap­peal to young and old play­ers across the U.S. and Canada be­cause it’s con­sid­ered low-im­pact and joint-friendly, as the whis­tle ball move s slower than its ten­nis coun­ter­part.

Sun­der­land cur­rently plays with her 10-year-old sons, Con­nor and Ben, who love the game but can’t seem to pin­point ex­actly why.

“I just think it’s re­ally, re­ally fun,” says Con­nor Sun­der­land.

If the game piques lo­cal in­ter­est, Cara Sun­der­land says DARC would part­ner with pick­le­ball play­ers across the prov­ince to “help start some­thing a little more of­fi­cial with rules.”

She also says a tour­na­ment hap­pen­ing Dec. 15 in Can­ning presents the per­fect op­por­tu­nity for any­one feel­ing cu­ri­ous to watch and learn about the game, and get ex­cited to play.

“It’s a lot of fun, and a great way to bring com­mu­nity mem­bers to­gether, and for older adults to be ac­tive,” she says.

Sun­der­land also says this game is a bar­rier-free, cost-friendly game that peo­ple of all fi­nan­cial means can join.

Re­cre­ation ini­tia­tives of­fered by DARC are funded through the prov­ince’s Com­mu­ni­ties, Cul­ture and Her­itage depart­ment’s Fa­cil­ity Ac­cess Pro­gram, which pro­vides fund­ing for an at­ten­dant to mon­i­tor, open and close the schools

where these sports take place on week­ends.

Sun­der­land says these fi­nan­cially-ac­ces­si­ble ini­tia­tives “could not hap­pen” with­out that help.

“We’re re­ally fo­cused on be­ing able to pro­vide ac­ces­si­ble pro­gram­ming, and re­ally limit the bar­ri­ers to be able to par­tic­i­pate,” she says.


Con­nor Sun­der­land, 10, plays pick­le­ball with Digby Area Re­cre­ation Com­mis­sion di­rec­tor Bob Pow­ell and ac­tive liv­ing man­ager Cara Sun­der­land.

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