Three Dads Created One Of The Fastest Growing And Most Inclusive Sports In America

The game, a mix of ping pong and tennis, has greatly evolved.

Photo courtesy of the USA Pickleball Association.

Three enterprising fathers created a new sport in 1965. Today that game — pickleball — is considered one of the fastest growing and most inclusive sports in America. The USA Pickleball Associaton’s 2018 report on pickleball indicated pickleball has over 2.8 million players in the United States, which shows a more than a 12% increase over 2017. That number is only expected to grow in the next few years.

“With pickleball, you can play literally almost all day, day in and day out,” says Drew Wathey, director of media relations for the USA Pickleball Association, the sport’s governing body. “It's attractive to all demographics, which has enhanced its growth. And it’s not just catering to men or women — it’s for both — and all levels can play.”

One of the reasons pickleball has gained momentum as the sport for athletes of all ages is because it tends to be low-impact and easy to learn. It’s a cross between ping-pong and tennis played on a badminton-size court (indoors or outdoors) with the net set to a height of 34 inches at the center. It’s played with a perforated plastic ball similar to a Wiffle ball and composite or wooden paddles about twice the size of ping-pong paddles.

Photo courtesy of the USA Pickleball Association.

Pickleball’s humble beginnings have been well chronicled. Because their kids were bored with their usual summertime activities, three enterprising fathers — Joel Pritchard, William Bell, and Barney McCallum — developed the game in 1965, on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Since then, it has evolved from the original handmade equipment and simple rules into the popular sport it is today. Its quirky name is thought to be derived from Pritchard’s family cocker spaniel, Pickles, who loved to chase stray balls and hide them in the bushes.

Pickleball can be played as singles or doubles, and new players can learn the basic rules quickly in a single session. No special apparel is needed — just something comfortable and appropriate for a court sport — and equipment is inexpensive and easily portable.

While it’s been touted for its benefits for seniors for years, pickleball isn’t your grandfather’s sport anymore. As the game evolves, so too has the equipment and facilities, Wathey says. The game has earned a devoted following because of its friendly, social nature, but it can develop into a fast-paced, competitive game for more experienced players.

Photo courtesy of the USA Pickleball Association.

Wathey says one of the most exciting shifts in the game has been in seeing former professional tennis players getting in on pickleball, recognizing the benefits of it after years of competitive play.

Kaitlyn Christian — a former pro tennis player who portrayed Emma Stone’s body double as the real-life Billie Jean King and Kerry Melville Reid in the film “ Battle of the Sexes” — has turned to pickleball as has Wimbledon champion JoAnne Russell.

As the game grows, it’s also reaching younger players who might not have otherwise had access to the game, Wathey says. There are currently almost 5,900 places to play pickleball in the United States, and he says that number is growing by another 90 every month.

We're making great inroads with the youth,” he says. “We're introducing pickleball as part of the sports curriculum in schools and in YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs, so the accessibility of the sport is reaching younger and younger people in new areas.”


"Seventy percent of the Earth is covered with water, now you camp on it!" proudly declares Smithfly on the website for its new camping boat — the Shoal Tent.

Why have we waited so long for camping equipment that actually lets us sleep on the water? Because it's an awful idea, that's why.

"The world is your waterbed," Smithfly says on its site. But the big difference is that no one has ever had to worry about falling asleep and then drowning on their waterbed.

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While it is possible that one could wade into the water, unzip the tent, have a pleasant slumber, and wake up in the morning feeling safe and refreshed, there are countless things that could go terribly wrong.

The tent could float down the river and you wake up in the middle of nowhere.

You could have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

This guy.

It could spring a leak and you could drown while wrapped up in eight feet of heavy nylon.

A strong current could tip the tent-boat over.

There isn't any way to steer the darn thing.

This guy.

Mashable shared a charming video of the tent on Twitter and it was greeted with a chorus of people sharing the many ways one could die while staying the night in the Shoal Tent.

Oh yeah, it's expensive, too.

Even though the general public seems to think the Shoal Tent is a terrible idea, according to the Smithfly's website, it's currently sold out due to "popular demand" and it will be "available in 6-8 weeks." Oh, and did we mention it costs $1,999?

via zoezimmm / Imgur

There are few more perniciously dangerous conspiracy theories being shared online than the idea that vaccines cause autism.

This has led to a decline in Americans vaccinating their children, resulting in a massive increase in measles. This year has already seen over 1,200 cases of measles, a disease that was eradicated in the U.S. nearly 20 years ago.

A 2015 Pew Research study found that 83% of Americans think the measles vaccine is safe, while 9% think it's not. Another 7% are not sure. But when you look at the polls that include parents of minors, the numbers get worse, 13% believe that the measles vaccine is unsafe.

There is zero truth to the idea that vaccines cause autism. In fact, a recent study of over 650,000 children found there was no link whatsoever.

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A great example of the lack of critical thinking shown by anti-vaxxers was a recent exchange on Facebook shared to Imgur by zoezimmm.

A parent named Kenleigh at a school in New Mexico shared a photo of a sign at reads: "Children will not be enrolled unless an immunization record is presented and immunizations are up-to-date."

This angered a Facebook user who went on a senseless tirade against vaccinations.

"That's fine, I'll just homeschool my kids," she wrote. At least they won't have to worry about getting shot up in school or being bullied, or being beat up / raped by the teachers!"

To defend her anti-vaccination argument, she used a factually incorrect claim that Amish people don't vaccinate their children. She also incorrectly claimed that the MMR vaccine is ineffective and used anecdotal evidence from her and her father to claim that vaccinations are unnecessary.

She also argued that "every human in the world is entitled to their own opinion." Which is true, but doesn't mean that wildly incorrect assumptions about health should be tolerated.

She concluded her argument with a point that proves she doesn't care about facts: "It doesn't matter what you say is not going to change my mind."

RELATED: 12 medical professionals shared their most memorable anti-vaxxer stories and you won't stop face-palming

While the anti-vaxxer was incorrect in her points, it must also be pointed out that some of the people who argued with her on Facebook were rude. That should never be tolerated in this type of discourse, but unfortunately, that's the world of social media.

Here's the entire exchange:

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via zoezimmm / imgur

The post received a ton of responses on imgur. Here are just a few:

"'In my opinion...' 'I believe...' That's not how facts work."

"You're entitled to your opinion. And everyone else is entitled to call you a dumbass."

"'What I do with my children is no concern to you at all.' Most of the time, true. When your kid might give mine polio, not true."

"If my child can't bring peanut butter, your child shouldn't bring preventable diseases."

It's important to call out people who spread dangerous views, especially how they pertain to health, on social media. But people should do so with respect and civility.


He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

He risked his life to leave a "historical record of our martyrdom."

via Yad Vashem and Archive of Modern Conflict, 2007

In September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. By April 1940, the gates closed on the Lodz Ghetto, the second largest in the country after Warsaw.

Throughout the war, over 210,000 people would be imprisoned in Lodz.

Among those held captive was Henryk Ross. He was a Jewish sports photographer before the Nazi invasion and worked for the the ghetto's Department of Statistics during the war. As part of his official job, he took identification photos of the prisoners and propaganda shots of Lodz' textile and leather factories.

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via Imgur

Every few years there's something that goes mega viral because people can't decide what it is.

There was the famous "is it blue and black, or white and gold" dress?

There was the audio recording that said either "yanny" or "Laurel."

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Rochester NY Airport Security passing insulting notes to travelers caught on tape

Neil Strassner was just passing through airport security, something he does on a weekly basis as part of his job. That's when a contract airport security employee handed him a small piece of folded cardboard. Strassner, 40, took the paper and continued on his way. He only paused when he heard the security employee shouting back at him, "You going to open the note?"

When he unfolded the small piece of paper, Strassner was greeted with an unprompted insult. "You ugly!!!"

According to Strassner, and in newly released CCTV of the incident, the woman who handed him the note began laughing loudly.

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