Pickleball is a sport played in Rexburg, by people of all ages and skill levels. It’s a combination of tennis, badminton, volleyball, and ping pong.
56-year old Tracey Wilcox plays several times a week. She says it helps her in her life and adds excitement to her day.
“I keep telling people that pickleball saved my life, or is saving my life, because if I did what I felt like doing, I wouldn’t do anything," she said "Because no matter what I do it’s kind of laborious. I’m stiff I ache.”
Right as Wilcox started getting into pickleball some health issues arose and left her to suffer with inflammatory arthritis. Because of her involvement in pickleball it helps her to get the exercise she needs and gives her some relief from her symptoms.
Kevin Kimball, is an accounting professor at BYU-Idaho and is a member of the USA Pickleball Association. He encourages others to get involved and play Pickleball.
“Rexburg is called America's Family Community, this is absolutely a sport that is made for families," he said. It’s definitely a sport that we as a family all play together. That’s why we play it a lot.”
Teresa Kimball, also a member of the USA Pickleball Association, explained why playing Pickleball is so beneficial.
“I am a proponent of anything that unifies and fortifies so, pickleball not only is healthy for our bodies… We strengthen each other mentally, emotionally, socially, and it’s not a sport that is so intense that you can’t carry on a conversation, have a good laugh even if you miss," she said.
Just like tennis, the game is played with singles or doubles and if you have more people ready to play you can have them rotate in. It is set up similar to tennis and the object of the game is to score on the other player by having them miss the ball or hit the ball out of bounds.
Michael Ballard and Kali Mathison often play pickleball in the Auxiliary Gym at BYU-Idaho.
“Back home I had a tennis pro friend who showed me the sport, and then I kind of got hooked, and totally switched from tennis over to pickleball, pretty much," Mathison said. "I just like how close you are, I feel like in tennis you’re so far away from each other that it’s hard to interact with each other, whereas pickleball you're close and it’s more fun and interactive.”
Ballard got introduced to the sport while taking a trip to Utah.
“I went to a park in American Fork and found some people to play and they invited me to play on Thursday in Orem, and I went Thursday to Orem, then they invited me to play Friday morning in Provo, so I played Friday morning in Provo," he said. "And then came home here to Rexburg and played Saturday evening in the park. And I played 12 hours that week.”
BYU-Idaho has nets set up in the Hart Building, Auxiliary Gym, room 208 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. If the courts are open you can also request a net be set up for you. You can rent pickleball equipment from the equipment room 202 right next to the Auxiliary Gym. It is free for students and non-students can pay a small fee with uniforms included.
There are several places to play in Rexburg including the Nature Park, Porter Park or designated LDS church buildings.
You can find a location to play and more information on their Facebook page under Rexburg Pickleball or on the USAPA website at usapa.org.