Grand opening play on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
SANDPOINT — Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the country, and right now scores of people are playing it in Clark Fork, Hope, Sandpoint and Blanchard.
Thanks to the persistent work of Jim Hagler, who spent close to three years working with the city of Sandpoint to get permission to stripe pickleball courts at Lakeview Park, there are three new courts to play on in Sandpoint.
“Jim is the spearhead. We finally got permission,” said Kristina Wedemeyer, who wished to thank the City of Sandpoint and hopes the courts get lots of use. “It’s going to grow, it can’t help but grow. It’s an easy game for all ages to learn.”
Hagler was on hand Friday to help with the striping, eager to see the courts being created. Right now people will have to bring their own nets, as most pickleball nets and posts are portable anyway, until something more permanent goes in.
Come Sunday, July 29 starting at 1:30 p.m., anyone is welcome to come play on the freshly painted courts. One of those players will be Wedemeyer, who enjoys the rapidly growing sport, played with a wooden racket and plastic whiffle balls on a smaller court.
“It’s gaining in popularity with Baby Boomers,” said Wedemeyer. “As we enter the 60s and 70s, tennis is hard on the body. It’s the fastest growing sport in the world, and China.”
Wedemeyer was one of a host of volunteers from the area on hand to help in the striping of the courts Friday, as the City was there to re-stripe the basketball court lines as well. Nearly two decades ago the basketball court was fenced in by a group of locals who played roller hockey, but that eventually died off and the courts have been largely unused in recent years.
With the smacking of pickleballs on Sunday, that’s about to change.