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Afternoon Pickleball at The Longfellow Club

The game that's been around since the '60s is taking hold in Wayland.

It involves paddles, but it isn't table tennis; it involves a net-divided court, but it isn't tennis; it involves a wiffle ball; but there is no wiffle bat in sight.

It's pickleball, a unique sport in and of itself that has nothing to do with pickles. The sport was named after cocker spaniel of the co-inventors, which chased the stray balls around the court before hiding in the bushes, according to the U.S. Pickleball Association website.

During an introductory meeting Monday morning at Wayland's Council on Aging, Dick Gellis, with the , said pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the U.S., particularly because the senior population has embraced it wholeheartedly.

"We’re excited about it because it is a game that can really be enjoyed by anybody,” Gellis said. The Longfellow Club has begun using its Zip tennis courts to accommodate weekly pickleball sessions for its members. Gellis has become the pickleball ambassador.

At 40 feet, a pickleball court is smaller than a traditional tennis court. The Zip tennis courts at the Longfellow Club, which are used to teach children the basics of tennis before moving up to a full-size tennis court, are a similar size, Gellis explained.

“Pickleball is a cross between badmitton, tennis [and] pingpong,” Gellis told the people interested in learning more at Monday's COA gathering.

On Friday, Gellis joined other pickleball players, a couple veterans and at least one novice, on the Longfellow Club Zip tennis courts for a round or two of doubles pickleball.

While this particular group of players were middle-aged, Gellis said pickleball is gaining momentum among younger individuals and families, all of whom are welcome to play on the courts at Longfellow.

For more informaton about pickleball rules, see the USAPA website or contact Gellis at dick@ziptennis.com.

Note: The original article stated incorrect dimensions for the pickleball court. The text has been corrected to reflect that the court is 40 feet long.

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