Recreational pickleball at school

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All are welcome to play indoor pickleball each Monday and Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. in the Clayton Ridge gymnasium. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker

Pickleball is a fun sport that combines many of the same elements as tennis, badminton and ping-pong, and is gaining popularity in the United States. The Association of Pickleball Professionals reported from August 2021 to August 2022 more than 36.5 million people played pickleball. 

Pickleball enthusiast Brian Rodenberg of Guttenberg, and several others who enjoy playing the game, gather each Monday and Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. in the Clayton Ridge gymnasium to play indoor pickelball. 

"Pickleball is a fun game that is based on the concept of badminton, tennis and table tennis," explained Rodenberg. "The rules are straightforward and easy to learn. Pickleball can be played as a singles or doubles format. Doubles allows more people to play at one time and seems to be the most popular form of play."

Rodenberg described the activity as a recreational opportunity, and commented, "We do not have set teams or a strict schedule like in a league situation. We get together to play the game, have fun and socialize. It is an extension of the summer group that would play two days a week, that was organized by Dr. Jim and Sue Osterhaus." 

Clayton Ridge High School gymnasium seemed like a logical place for the group to play pickleball indoors. "The school was willing to let us use their temporary nets so that we could continue to play," he told The Press. "The school has been great to work with and it has been greatly appreciated."

The number of players attending the Monday - Wednesday recreational activity ranges in number from six to twelve players. "We have the capacity to create three courts and would love to have more people join us for a fun couple of hours," added Rodenberg. 

The only equipment needed to participate is a pickleball paddle and pickleballs, which can be purchased locally, or at any sporting goods store. The group has a number of extra paddles and plenty of pickleballs available for anyone who wishes to try the game. 

Rodenberg was introduced to pickleball a few years ago while substitute teaching at Clayton Ridge for Kyle Sperfslage, Middle/High School social studies teacher and varsity boy's basketball head coach. "Kyle was having foot surgery and was out for a couple of weeks," he recalled. "He had just started a unit on pickleball. He gave me a brief review of the rules and I was able to play against/with the students. I found the game to be very fun and it also provided a good workout."

Terry Moser of Guttenberg initiated a fund drive a couple of years ago to create pickleball courts for the community. Moser's successful campaign paved the way for the outdoor pickleball courts, located at 1018 South 2nd Street, as part of the Guttenberg Vet's Ball Field and Soccer Field complex. "My wife, Vicki and I were very supportive of the project and have enjoyed the game a great deal," he shared. "The outdoor courts are a great asset to our community and area!" 

Rodenberg continued, "At this time, indoor pickleball is scheduled through the end of March. There is no sign up. All you have to do is show up."

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