On an overcast and chilly Monday, July 18, before 9 a.m., pedestrians could hear that familiar “ping, ping,” as they passed the Old Grammar School on Main Street.
The source of the sound was quickly identified: five of the six pickleball courts were in use.
Inside the court complex, gaiety, smiles and high-fives with two paddles connecting were the order of the day. It is clear to anyone watching that these players truly love their pickleball.
Mary Middleton and playing partner Barbara Forgey were having fun playing doubles against worthy opponents on Court 1, eventually pulling out an 11-7 victory.
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“This game is a blast,” Middleton said after the victory. Watching pickleball brings into focus why this game challenges players, but not at the level they would be tested in tennis.
With smaller courts than tennis, and underhanded serves being the norm — plus the ball, similar to a Wiffle ball, has to bounce before it can be returned — pickleball provides a gentle workout while putting far less stress on knees, shoulders and hips.
Those spanking new courts are a huge upgrade from the makeshift courts jury-rigged out of Coast Union’s back tennis courts for four years. And there has been an upsurge in memberships since the new courts were made available.
Newly appointed vice president Trish Davega said the club has 138 members, up from about 80 at the time the new courts went in.
Players from Bakersfield, Fresno, Atascadero, San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay and Paso Robles use the Cambria courts regularly, and Davega said they come because “people feel so welcome here in this community.”
The courts are open every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and there is a “drop-in” fee (for nonmembers) of $3 per person until noon. Details: Davega at 805-927-1755.