The Central Virginian

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Pickleball gaining in popularity in Louisa County

Posted on Monday, January 29, 2018 at 9:50 am

Susie Rayburn returns a serve during a recent pickleball session at Trevilians Elementary School.

Somewhere between ping-pong and tennis there lies a popular sport you may not even know about. And it’s been in Louisa for nearly five years.

Dubbed “the game with the funny name,” enthusiasm for pickleball has been spreading across the country since it was first conceived in Seattle in 1965.

“People come from all over,” Susie Rayburn, one of the participants in the Louisa County Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department’s pickleball program, said. “It’s a great reason to get out of the house and a great way to meet people.”

The sport arrived in Louisa thanks to Annette Hayes, who has been a key figure in the program since its 2013 inception – as well as one of its primary recruiters and ambassadors.

“Annette told me to come out, and I enjoyed it, and have been going back ever since.” Phil Kramer, who has been playing for the past six months, said.

The 58-year-old used to play handball, raquetball and tennis but has found all three to be “too fast paced” for him in recent years.

“I can play pickleball without risk of injuring myself,” he said.

The game is played with a whiffle ball, but that doesn’t stop the players from taking it seriously.

“Some of the older players, older than me, will just slam it past me when we’re playing,” Kramer said. “It can get pretty intense.”

The competitive nature of the game is one of the aspects of the game that Rayburn says she enjoys most.

“A little bit of competition gets me going,” she said with a smile. (Read entire story in The Central Virginian’s Jan. 25, 2018 issue)