Lebanon gets taste of pickleball during local demonstration

Kaynor Heineck started organizing Lebanon’s inaugural pickleball event before she’d played the game, but she knew she would love it.

“I play racquetball and ping-pong too; I love net sports,” Heineck said.

About a dozen people showed up Tuesday, Nov. 15, to learn about the game and try their hand at the paddle.

Pickleball is a court game that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, according to the USA Pickleball Association website. It originated in 1965 when three fathers were looking for a way to entertain their kids, and is said to be named after one of the kids’ dogs, Pickles.

Heineck offered to help get a team started after she met Roger Wambach, a resident new to Lebanon. A business acquaintance had introduced pickleball to him more than a year ago, and Wambach noticed Lebanon seemed like the only town in Oregon that didn’t participate in the sport.

“It’s very addictive,” Wambach said. “I love it because you get exercise and it’s fun.”

Heineck believes Pickleball will grow rapidly in Lebanon. The ball is bigger than she’s used to playing with in racquetball and ping-pong, but she said it hasn’t come flying at her face yet.

“The really funny thing I’ve noticed in racquetball is when that ball’s hurdling at you, the same exact thing happens when a ping-pong ball comes at you: your brain doesn’t have time to process; it just says ‘projectile coming in,’” she said.

If enough players show up regularly, Heineck and Wambach would like to form an official club and gather funds to acquire the necessary equipment.

Regular play will begin Nov. 29 and will continue every Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Boys and Girls Club.

For more information, call (541) 401-9780 or (541) 258-7105, or visit lebanonpickleballclub.weebly.com.