History​


  
History of pickleball in Metrowest MA
Dave Brower, USAPA Ambassador, Metrowest MA

2011
Early in this decade, Alex Fleischman and Tom Hays approached the Northborough Senior Center about finding a venue to play pickleball, a sport they had learned in Florida. (For several summers they had been playing the game outdoors on school tennis courts with Janet and Dick Boutilier where people always seemed fascinated by the game.)  They were offered space at the Town Offices Building’s gym.  Two courts were taped and play began using portable nets, balls, and paddles purchased by the Senior Center, along with a grant from the USAPA.
Soon after that, Nelson Ball, a Westborough resident, got the game started at the Boroughs YMCA branch in that town.  Dennis Pollard and Kevin Neary had also been playing outdoors, and they connected with the group as well.
Play continued at both locations, as well as outdoors in Marlborough and West Boylston.
  
  
2012
In order to help grow our group and help spread the word about pickleball, I become an Ambassador for the USAPA, the governing body of the sport.  Ambassadors are volunteers who want to grow the game, and there are hundreds of them across the US and Internationally.   They share their experiences so that other groups can take advantage of the good ideas
  
2013
The Northborough Recreation department allowed players to paint three courts onto a large parking lot at a park, and closed the lot three afternoons a week to allow pickleball games.  Another indoor location was set up in Southborough as well, in addition to groups playing outdoors in Leominster and Sterling.  Also, Karl Bjork, the USAPA Ambassador for Central MA, set up play at a church in Worcester.
In November 2013 the group began playing three afternoons a week at the Shrewsbury Health and Racquet Club.  Players came from as much as an hour away to play at SHARC, and everyone enjoyed the three court venue.
  
 2014
We continued play at the Northborough Town Offices gym, as well as outside in Northborough and in Marlborough at the Assabet Valley High tennis courts.
I petitioned the Marlborough Recreation Department for court space in the spring of 2014, and they agreed to put pickleball in the planned redevelopment of Ward Park, adjacent to the new Senior Center under construction
  
 2015
We played at the established venues and began playing at Ward Park in October.  The city gave us five shared courts (two on the tennis court, two on the basketball court, and one on the volleyball court).  We played at the park through most of December until we went back inside for the winter.  In the fall, we began play at the Marlborough location of the Metrowest Boys & Girls Club with two courts four days a week, unless there was no school.
  

2016
We played at the town hall gym, at the Boys & Girls Club, at the Greendale and Boroughs YMCA facilities throughout the indoor season, then started at Ward Park six mornings (and one or two evenings!) a week.
  
  
We love the great courts at the park, and we will be even happier when the adjacent restroom facility is completed!
We will soon begin play at Fore Kicks, an indoor sports facility in Marlborough, where we will have three courts set up five mornings a week.  Our group of a dozen or so players has expanded to close to two hundred, with many still coming from as much as an hour away to play with us, and with additional groups starting up in surrounding towns such as Lancaster, Westford, and Acton.
In addition to recreational play, many of our group have entered Senior Games tournaments around New England.  We have won medals in Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and we have hosted the MA Senior Games for the last three years.  In 2016 we sent 34 players to the MA games, and they were,
awarded 55 medals!
  
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