Sedgefield residents counting minutes to pickleball court completion

Sedgefield subdivision residents are thrilled that a 4-foot-high, 50-foot-long chain link fence is going up in the middle of a tennis court in their recreation area. Work began on the renovation in April and the grand opening for these pickleball courts is scheduled for June. The other tennis court and basketball goal will stay in place.

Home owner’s association president Patrick Fox said the current courts are about 30 years old, so cracks are being filled and courts are being resurfaced and repainted specifically for pickleball.

The grand opening will be a big deal complete with instructions, a ball machine, expositions in singles, doubles and mixed doubles, refreshments and maybe even a deejay, Fox said.

Fox is a ranked pickleball player who competes all over the East Tennessee area.

He said the fence will be the perfect addition, since it will create four designated pickleball courts out of one tennis court and give the residents there an optional sport to enjoy.

Pickleball is similar to tennis and is usually played in doubles with short paddles instead of racquets and a heavy duty whiffle ball instead of a tennis ball. The court is smaller, but the action is fast.

“It will build camaraderie in the neighborhood and competitiveness,” Fox said. “People are already asking if we’re going to have a league or a guy’s night and these people are getting excited about it and have yet to pick up a paddle.

“We already have people from Fairfield Glade wanting to come down with eight to 10 people to challenge our neighborhood, and the same thing in Tellico Village, Chattanooga and Nashville,” he added. “Once you pick up a paddle, you’ll realize it’s a sport for everyone.”

It’s not all heated competition.

“Pickleball can be played leisurely,” he added, “but when you’re a tournament player, it becomes technical and tactical.

“Player ratings go from 2.5, which is a beginner, to a ranked player, 4.0, and up to 5.0, a nationally-ranked player.”

Fox joked that the game should be called “smashball.”

“When you tell someone ‘pickleball,’ it doesn’t sound like a very athletic game,” he said. ‘Smashball’ would automatically get your attention.”