The East Rocky View Pickleball Club is hosting a “come learn pickleball” event at the Langdon School on Jan. 18, offering hamlet residents the opportunity to learn about the burgeoning sport.
According to Terry Hillestad, the president of the East Rocky View Pickleball Club, the clinic is open to anyone in Langdon who wishes to try out the activity and learn the basics of how the sport is played.
“I think it’s popular because it is so easy to learn and you can play it at so many different levels,” she said.
The East Rocky View Pickleball Club was formed in 2015. Hillestad said the club has about 45 members, who play three times a week at the Indus Recreation Centre. While the club encompasses the entire geographic region between Calgary and Strathmore, she said the majority of members live near Indus.
She said for most club members, their favourite part of pickleball is the social aspect, though some enjoy the competitive nature.
“The game has gotten a lot more fun as people’s skill has improved,” she said. “That’s been a big thing about keeping it going and keeping the interest – seeing improvement.”
Though the club usually plays in Indus, Hillestad said there are many reasons she wanted the upcoming clinic to be held in Langdon.
First, she said she hopes to gauge the local interest among Langdonites in reviving a group that used to play pickleball weekly in the hamlet, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought the games to an end.
“There was a group playing in Langdon before COVID, but they were shut down during the school closures because they played out of the gym in one of the schools in Langdon,” she explained. “We picked up another time to have three times a week in Indus, but people in Langdon found it difficult to come out. It was a later evening time and went until 10 p.m., so it didn’t really catch on, for the Langdon people to come to Indus to play.
“I didn’t want to see Langdon lose their group. They just seem to [need] more people playing to make it financially viable, keeping a slot open at the school.”
Secondly, Hillestad brought up the Langdon Community Association’s ongoing project to install outdoor multi-courts in the hamlet this spring. With the courts set to be constructed in the coming months, Hillestad said it would be great to jump-start interest in pickleball before the new amenities arrive.
“The Langdon multi-courts are going to be a real asset to the town,” she said. “I just think now is a good time for people in Langdon to learn [pickleball] this winter so that come spring, when the courts are expected to be ready…they’ll really know what they can do with an outdoor court for pickleball.”
Anyone who wishes to participate in the clinic is asked to email Hillestad ahead of time at [email protected]
Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 is required to participate, as the clinic is being held in a Rocky View Schools facility.
Hillestad said the East Rocky View Pickleball Club will provide the nets and balls, meaning the only equipment needed is a paddle and a pair of running shoes.
“The investment is minimal,” she said. “You can pay a lot for a paddle, but to start, it doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s usually $5 or $6 a night to play for a couple of hours.”