Volleying into its fifth year outdoors, Abington Pickeball returns to the courts behind the Abington Senior Center at 441 Summer Street on Monday.
“The courts will be open, weather permitting, every day from 8:30 a.m. until noon, and then later in the afternoon from 3:30 or 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., or until 9 p.m. under the lights,” said Ann Reilly, President of the Abington Pickleball Association.
What exactly is pickleball? A game growing in popularity worldwide, pickleball combines the elements of tennis, volleyball, badminton, and ping pong while designed to be easy to learn and play at any age. It’s traditionally played on a badminton-sized court with a ball slightly similar than Whiffle ball.
Unlike tennis and other net sports, pickleball games are not based on the power of the server, rather the ball must bounce on each side before volleys are allowed, opening the game to more plays.
The first phase of Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening plan for the state fully kicks off on Monday. Not all recreational facilities and activities are opening Monday; just those that allow participants to maintain a physical distance from others. Most youth sports leagues, such as baseball, lacrosse, and soccer, for example, still aren’t cleared to resume practice and games because participants would be in close contact with each other.
The Abington Parks & Recreation Commission, along with the Board of Health, announced recently that the town’s parks would reopen, provided that members of the public continued to practice social distancing guidelines. The town’s playgrounds remain closed.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Reilly said members will also need to follow a few new guidelines.
“The two middle courts will be closed — only the courts on the end will be used and all gates will remain open,” she said.
“Players must maintain proper social distancing (six feet) from other players. If this is not possible, players should wait in their cars until time to play.
“During doubles play, players should wear face masks, unless partners are house-mates. Players who do not want to play masked should play singles. ‘Skinny’ singles are encouraged.
“Each player will have their own marked ball and it will be the only ball the player will touch by hand and it will be the ball the player serves,” added Reilly. “Players should use a paddle and/or foot to transfer another player’s ball.”
Outdoor Abington Pickleball is going into its 5th year and serving up a strong membership.
“Right now we have approximately 110 members which will increase as the season gets going,” said Reilly.
“Due to the generosity of several businesses in Abington and local organizations, individuals, and families, our present three courts were dedicated on May 21, 2016,” said Reilly. “Those courts were built through the generosity of Abington families, businesses, associations, the Friends of Abington Seniors and Abington Elderly Services. The other three courts were funded through the Abington’s Community Preservation Funds, as were the lights for the three courts.”
During the coming week, a new digital sign purchased through Lane Printing and Daktronics will be installed to replace the current Senior Center sign by the street.
“This was made possible through donations from the four groups who either use the Senior Center itself or the property of the Senior Center: Friends of Abington Seniors, Abington Elderly Services, Friends of Abington Dog Park and Abington Pickleball Association,” said Reilly.
With the current pandemic, planning a five year celebration is not possible. However, Reilly finds reason to celebrate.
“Not sure how we can celebrate yet as we can’t have any tournaments, socials, et cetera, until the restrictions from the state are relaxed and we all feel comfortable to do otherwise,” she said. “I guess we will all celebrate just being safe and healthy and getting some exercise since we are all over 55.
“This year we know it will be different, but we are looking forward to another fun year with some exercise and meeting new friends.”
For more information visit Abington Pickleball Association on Facebook or email: AbingtonPickleball@gmail.com.
Written by Michele Christian