The fun game with the funny nameWith six courts now available, pickleball is catching on in Rosemount
By: Emily Zimmer, Rosemount Town Pages
When Terry Taylor appointed himself Rosemount’s pickleball ambassador two years ago, he had visions of large groups gathering in the city’s parks to play the game. Now, he’s starting to see it happen.
The game, a paddle sport that plays like a combination of tennis, badminton and ping pong, is catching on in Rosemount just as it has in cities around Minnesota and around the country. There are courts popping up in several metro-area cities, and earlier this spring the city of Rosemount added markings for six pickleball courts on the tennis courts at Claret Park. There are portable nets and other equipment in locked storage lockers there. Once people start playing, they can get the combination so they can get in.
Taylor, who discovered pickleball while wintering in Florida, is doing everything he can to make sure people show up to play. He’s at the park, located behind Cub Foods on Claret Avenue, six days most weeks to play with anyone who wants to show up. On Monday, he wore a Rosemount Pickleball polo shirt as he played with the handful of other players who were at the court.
“I’m going to be out there every day until we get a bigger crowd,” Taylor said. “To get this going, that’s what I have to do.”
The city of Rosemount paid for the court markings and the equipment. It’s up to Taylor to make sure it all gets used.
“It’s still a lot of work,” Taylor said. “I’ve got to get it out there so people know it’s available. I also have to get other people involved to get this to grow even more.”
Taylor loves the game, and he’s convinced other people will too if they give it a chance. He said a lot of people have trouble with the funny name, but get hooked when they try it. It’s great for people who used to play tennis but don’t have the mobility they once did. It’s particularly popular among seniors, but Taylor said younger players enjoy it as well. Several area high schools play pickleball in gym class.
“It’s just so funny, when they come over and play it’s all smiles and they are sweating,” Taylor said.
Taylor has been happy with the way pickleball is taking off in Rosemount. There are regular sessions from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. During one recent session all six courts were in use — a pickleball court takes up about half of a tennis court — and there were people waiting to play.
When the courts are in use, people notice.
“The one nice thing about Rosemount here is the location where people can see this,” Taylor said. “You ought to see the cars coming from the shopping center across the street. They’ll stop at the stop light and they’ll watch, or they’ll drive by real slow.”
Kris Jensen came out to play Monday with her husband, Tom. They have been playing pickleball for about two years after picking it up in Sun City, Ariz. She doesn’t have a background playing tennis or any other racket sport, but she loves pickleball.
“It’s really fun,” she said. “It’s good camaraderie, too, because everybody is here to have fun.”
That’s exactly the message Taylor is trying to get out. The city of Rosemount planned to have a grand opening for its six new courts next weekend, but that has been rescheduled because of Leprechaun Days. A new date has not been set.