Several months ago we posted how Pickleball was started….but we never confirmed how the name came about.
So, let’s get to the bottom of the origin of the name.
Well, first of all, the confusing thing is that there are two (very different) official stories that have been repeated over the years by the founders of Pickleball. Let’s call the two: the dog and the boat story. These two versions have each been documented in interviews and written records with each side claiming their version is the accurate one.
Story #1: Pickles the dog:
Joel Prichard’s daughter and a neighbor (Jim Brown) both picked out a Cockapoo puppy from a neighbor who was giving the puppies away for free. The Prichards named the dog “Pickles”.The story has it that once they started playing the new racquet game, Pickles the dog, got in the habit of picking up the plastic wiffle ball in its mouth and running off the court with it. According to the McCallum family the new sport was definitely named after the dog. They say they remember the exact night they named it after “Pickles” the dog while sitting in the living room of the Prichard cabin, they even remember cheering with excitement at the revelation of this funny name for their new game.
Story #2: The Pickle Boat:
The second take on the Pickleball name origin is the “pickle boat” story. According to the Prichard family, Joel’s wife Joan who in the past had been a competitive rower came up with the name Pickleball because it reminded her of a pickle boat.
The hole in the “dog story” is that both Joan Prichard and her daughter Peggy Pritchard-Olson have been quoted as saying that “Pickles” was not around until a few years after the game was invented…so the timeline really doesn’t match. Some people think that the “pickle boat” story just doesn’t sell like the cute puppy story and that a decision was made early on to make the dog the center of the sport’s history story rather than an obscure rowing term that very few people would identify with. If nothing else, the contradicting stories make for interesting conversation regarding the early history of the sport. Many people we talk to say that in the end it really doesn’t matter to them whether it was the dog or the boat they just love the sport and are happy with the somewhat goofy name. Other Pickleballers are not so keen on the name and I do feel their pain. It’s sometimes hard to be taken seriously when you say you are going to play in a Pickleball tournament.
So, whether you believe (or just prefer) the story of Pickles the dog or can appreciate the image of a hodgepodge of rowers in a crew boat that Joan Prichard eluded to, either way we have the Prichards to thank for the name. We Tara Woods Pickleball players are thankful to them that had the creative idea to come up with a new sport that we’ve come to know as Pickleball and we love to play.
New to the game or interested in how it is played?
Go to www.usapa.org
for the best info about the Nations fastest growing sport for all ages.
They are located on Shiloh Street between the Putting Green and the Butterfly Garden. Activity abounds complete with a resident fan base. The local alligators make it a point to keep an eye on the courts by lurking near the shore whenever the pop of the ball can be heard. So, BEWARE and BE CAREFUL should your ball land in the lake.
The court schedule is effective April through December and times are as follows:
8:00 - 9:30 AM - 7 days a week
6:00 - 7:30 PM - 7 days a week
Please note that a sign-up sheet is posted on the fence to reserve a court at any time other than general playtime. Just post your name and the court is yours for that time slot.
The courts are appropriately named court 1 and court 2 (court 1 located closest to the Putting Green). The courts are regulation size with an 8’ fence. Several benches are located just outside the courts for waiting players and enthusiastic onlookers.
It truly is an exciting time for Tara Woods Pickleball.