PADDLE RACK Pickleball paddles stored on the fence at the city’s newest four pickleball courts, at the Healdsburg High School campus. (Photo by Pierre Ratte)

Folks are lining up to play pickleball in Healdsburg. There’s a paddle rack and new courts at Healdsburg High School. The bright green and blue colors perk up the tennis facility, now the Pickleball/Tennis facility.

Scheduled play and available courts in Healdsburg, both public and private, are listed on Playtime Scheduler—Healdsburg, with additional information available through Can players hit an ‘Erne’?

There will be an on-court celebration honoring those who helped bring official pickleball courts to town on Wednesday, Aug. 23, at 5:30pm, with an after-gathering at Elephant in the Room. “Celebrating Healdsburg Pickleball” will honor the City Council, Parks and Rec, Healdsburg School District, and many in the community whose organization and efforts pressed on through a pandemic to realize official and publicly available pickleball courts in Healdsburg.

Fun facts: Pickleball is 58 years old. It was invented on Bainbridge Island when a badminton net, ping pong paddles and a wiffle ball were cobbled together to distract bored children. This quickly became an adult pastime. 

The pickleball name comes from “pickle boat” races—after a crew regatta competition, when leftover boats and teams field impromptu races. A couple of years later, one of the inventors of the game named their puppy Pickles, and naming stories were conflated.

Losers in pickleball don’t lose; they get pickled. An Erne is hitting the ball around the net post below the level of the net—a legal shot, as long as one doesn’t step in the “kitchen.” What’s the kitchen? A story for another day.

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