Pickleball is a game that can’t be stopped, at least at the moment. Not too long ago there was word about setting up a pickleball spot at the Meriden Mall, another sign that malls are looking to alternative ways of shaping their future. Now comes word that new pickleball courts are sprouting in park locations across the Silver City, in part pushing aside courts intended for tennis, a sport that by comparison is on the wane.
Why has pickleball become such a big deal? The answer, in part, is because it’s an attractive game for people of all ages. It helps people get together and enjoy company, always a good thing when it comes to strengthening a community. And David Grodzicki says it’s helped him shed some weight.
“I’m addited to pickleball,” Grodzicki recently told the Record-Journal. “I’m definitely addicted to it. It’s a great benefit for me.”
Grodzicki was described by the R-J as one of the chief organizers of local play. He’s also helping when it comes to keeping the courts in prime condition. He and others were at a recent City Council meeting, advocating for building more courts. “And we know the budgets they are starting to work on,” he said, “so we want to make sure that they’re going to take us into consideration and keep us in mind when it comes to pickleball, because two, four, six courts spread out throughout the whole town, we’re probably going to need more, because it’s just a growing sport here. It’s tremendous.”
Meriden, which received a sizable allocation of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, put forth $2 million for fixing up tennis courts, which turned into repurposing the courts for pickleball. A sign of why that was a good move is the pickleball activity at the courts in Washington Park, where play goes on from the morning until the lights go off at night.
Pickleball has helped renew park vitality. “It’s a really neat community,” said Chris Bourdon, Meriden’s director of Parks and Recreation. “They set up schedules and really kind of oversee the area. So we have done things with providing lessons, but they’ve been tremendous in terms of utilizing it.”
Pickleball is clearly a game on the rise, and Meriden has been able to serve the demand thanks to the assistance of federal money. The game makes people happy and helps with fitness — it’s easy to support a game like that.