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Pickleball popularity soars in the Northwoods and moves outside for summerSubmitted: 05/22/2018

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RHINELANDER - If you pop into the YMCA during the winter or walk past a tennis court in the spring or summer, you're bound to see a group playing pickleball. 

A paddle, a ball, a court, and some friends are all you need to play. 

The game first came onto Marilyn Duschl's radar about four years ago. 

"A lady came to me and said you should play pickle ball at the YMCA and I said 'what is pickle ball?'" said Duschl, the Active Older Adult Coordinator at the YMCA of the Northwoods. 

In fact, the game was a mystery to many people who have become dedicated players.


"I had never heard of it before," said Joe Smogor.

But after going to a learn to play pickleball activity, Smogor now plays four or five times a week. 

"Its great exercise, it's both and indoor and an outdoor game, it's good way to meet new people," said Smogor.
Pickleball is a paddle sport, similar to tennis and table tennis. 

The game has increased in popularity in the Northwoods in recent years, partly because of the social environment it creates, and also the health benefits it can bring. 

"It really does stimulate very good hand eye coordination, movement, balance," said Duschl. 

In the winter, the group plays indoors at the YMCA of the Northwoods. In the summer, they play at the courts near Rhinelander High School. But this year, they were inside a little bit longer than expected. 

"We were out shoveling the court. Everyone was anxious to get outside," said Smogor. 

But now with weather in the 70s and 80s, it looks like the Rhinelander Pickleball Club will be outside for the foreseeable future, bringing in other elements they didn't have indoors. 

"With the outdoor variables of sun and wind it makes it a different game," said Smogor. 

The Rhinelander Paddle Club plays nearly every day from 9 a.m. to noon at the tennis courts near Rhinelander High School. It costs $20 for the season. For more information, you can contact Marilyn Duschl at (715)362-9622.


Story By: Rose McBride

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