• 77°

Pickleball to raise funds for Dementia Alliance

By SABRINA BERNDT

Washington Daily News

BATH — Despite the unusual name and its relatively new sport status, pickleball is the country’s fastest-growing sport.

On June 29, Dementia Alliance of North Carolina will be hosting a pickleball game from 9 a.m. to noon. Taking place in the Bath Elementary School gymnasium at 110 King St., the pickleball game will be an opportunity for newcomers to learn the ropes from seasoned players.

“I first played pickleball for health reasons but realized it was actually fun. I couldn’t think of a better way to create a fun event that would be beneficial to the Alliance,” said Pamela Rice, a member of the Dementia Alliance board.

Dementia Alliance is a North Carolina organization that raises funds for family services and educational programs. One hundred percent of funds raised stay in North Carolina, and all of the funds from the pickleball event will go straight to the Alliance.

Former Washington state Rep. Joel Pritchard and his family, who wanted to invent a game that was suitable for all ages, created the game at their home. The game is a mix of badminton, tennis and table tennis, and one basketball court fits three pickleball courts.

The Beaufort County players often meet at the Bobby Andrews Recreation Center in Washington, but there are also smaller clubs that play at local senior centers. The county club, however, includes players up to 92 years old.

“The game equalizes the players,” Rice said. “Age isn’t a deciding factor on who’s going to win. If I can do it, anyone can.”

Due to scheduling conflicts, the pickleball event will take place at the elementary school as opposed to the rec center, but according to Rice, it was a win-win situation.

“The school was so enthusiastic,” Rice said. “They were looking for a way to introduce the sport to students, and this way they (students) can meet and learn from actual players.”

The pickleball event is open to everyone 18 to 98 years old and is $15 per person until June 15. All equipment will be provided except for gym shoes. Please visit

www.dementianc.org/pickleball2019 for registration.