Angus Stewart was on a trip to Mexico when he heard of ‘pickleball’ for the first time.
The retiree had never played the sport in his life – one that used whiffle balls and paddles on a court made for badminton doubles. But within an hour, he was a natural.
“As you get older, you can’t play certain sports anymore,” Stewart said. “That’s where pickleball comes in. It’s a slower game that’s easier on the body and it’s something that brings people together. Victoria is known for having more seniors, so it’s a great fit.”
With growing demand, the Colwood man says View Royal’s Helmcken Centennial Park is the ideal place for a pickleball takeover.
According to the West Shore Pickleball Association, there are not enough indoor and outdoor courts in the West Shore to occupy their growing list of more than 90 members.
The former P.E. teacher admits that the best part about the game is the time on the court spent meeting new people. Most games are determined by the first team or person to win 11 points. At most drop-in sessions, Stewart is able to play with at least 10 new people.
On Jan. 21, View Royal city council was presented with the idea to renovate the tennis court at Helmcken Centennial Park into four pickleball courts. They pointed out that instead of four tennis players on the court at one time, there could be up to 16 pickleball players. Four benches are also being requested for waiting players to sit on.
“We don’t have a place to call home,” Stewart said.
Currently, there are a variety of courts in Saanich, Oak Bay, Esquimalt and North Saanich, but the West Shore chapter is still looking for a single outdoor pickleball court. Two new indoor pickleball courts are expected at the indoor sports complex at West Shore Parks and Recreation by their grand opening at the end of January.