New pickleball, shuffleboard courts open in Auburn:
New pickleball and shuffleboard courts lie behind Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center and Frank Brown Recreation Center in Auburn.
Tucked behind Frank Brown Recreation Center and the Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center, extra space for a quickly growing sport is open for play in Auburn.
Two pickleball and two shuffleboard courts opened to the public last week, inviting players young and old to test out and enjoy the sports every day of the week.
Becky Richardson, Auburn parks and recreation director, said the idea for the courts was birthed out of brainstorming ways to get more seniors in the area involved in programs offered through Auburn’s parks and recreation department. With pickleball’s popularity and national growth, Richardson said the courts have been used almost every day since they were opened.
“Our vision when we built the facility and did the fitness center and were on the same site with the arts center, is that, let’s say somebody wants to come and they can play pickleball, then they can go play bridge, then they could take an art class—there’s something that they could do pretty much any time of day. So that’s the idea behind it,” Richardson said.
According to the USA Pickleball Association, the game, which is rumored to have been named after the creator’s dog Pickles, combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.
Played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes, the game appeals to all ages, allowing those with limited movement a fun way to exercise. Paddles and balls are available for checkout inside Frank Brown Recreation center for those without their own equipment.
“What makes it appealing, especially to people that are older or don’t move as much as they used to, (is) the court is smaller and movement is more up and back instead of extreme movements from side to side like tennis,” Richardson said.
Debbie Rusk, a member of the local Pickle Ball Peeps group and avid pickleball player, began playing a couple years ago when looking for something to keep her active. She enrolled in a class through Auburn Parks and Recreation and now plays several times a week with others from the group.
“It’s not too competitive; we’re just out there for fun,” Rusk said, adding that there are usually eight to 16 people that get together to play throughout the week. While many in the group are prior tennis players looking for a sport less wearing on the body, Rusk said the group is comprised of all ages, from college students to retirees.
The group gathers several times a week to play at different courts throughout the community, and have added the new courts to their list. On Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons, you can find the group playing behind Jan Dempsey.
Rusk said the group is always accepting new members of all skill sets, and they are working on organizing play days for those looking to learn how to play the sport.
For those interested in joining up with the Pickle Ball Peeps to play, email Jeanette Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org or find the group on Facebook. Playing times and more information about the sport can be found at www.auburnpickleball.com.
Both the pickleball and shuffleboard courts are open Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to dark, Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. For more information about Auburn’s courts, visit www.auburnalabama.org/parks.