Buice column: Pickleball pushing out tennis

Published 12:02 am Thursday, April 7, 2022

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Over the years, I’ve played a lot of tennis at Joanie Moser Park in Lewisville, but those days are going away.

The two tennis courts and the basketball court behind them will soon be going away to make room for one of America’s fastest-growing sports — pickleball.

Forsyth County officials confirmed recently that the county commissioners had indeed approved spending $200,000 toward development of nine pickleball courts at the county-owned park. The Parks & Recreation staff is doing preliminary research on constructing the pickleball-specific courts.

For some time, pickleball has taken over as the sport of choice at Joanie Moser. I remember the last time playing tennis there when a friendly group of pickleballers occupied the court beside us, whacking the perforated plastic ball around with their paddles while others were waiting
their turn to join in the fun with music blaring in the background.

I’ve resisted so far, sticking to my roots of playing singles in tennis until I’m no longer able to cover the court. With my balky knee and other aches and pains associated with my advancing age, I always figured doubles in tennis would be next, but I’ve got to consider this pickleball,

After all, it’s a game for all ages and skill levels, it’s easy to learn, fun and affordable, and it offers an opportunity for exercise and social interaction — all good.

The county moved forward after a “board-directed initiative” that included studying the feasibility of either modifying current facilities or adding facilities at county parks in order to provide recreational opportunities for individuals wishing to play pickleball.

Forsyth County Parks & Recreation doesn’t have any pickleball-specific courts at this time. The county has 10 courts that are dual-lined for both pickleball and tennis, including the four at Joanie Moser.

While voting to fund this project, the county also looked at providing pickleball at Tanglewood Park’s tennis facility. County officials were on record as saying that even though a majority of those responding to a survey preferred replacing the soft courts at Tanglewood with pickleball
hard courts, there was still a significant contingent interested in retaining the existing tennis facilities, even if shared with pickleball.

So the status quo of tennis will be maintained for now.

But don’t count out the growing popularity of pickleball, whether it be at Tanglewood or other locations. I’ve seen it first-hand at Joanie Moser. It isn’t going away.

Pickle on!

• • • • •

When it comes to going to the beach, I’m always in — even if it involves a detour for a history lesson.

Most of our trips to the N.C. Crystal Coast are a straight shot because I can’t wait to get there, but with rain in forecast on the first day for a long weekend at the end of March, it seemed like an opportune time to make a stop in New Bern and finally check out the Tryon Palace.

It was worth the stop at the beautiful riverfront city to check out the state’s first capitol, adjoining buildings and gardens — along with the N.C. History Center and all its exhibits and interactive installations that document the history of the eastern part of the state.

Then there was the downtown district with more history, including the Birthplace of Pepsi Store, where the popular drink was invented in 1890s, and many quaint restaurants and shops.

We navigated the rain and had an entertaining day, and will make a planned visit instead of a detour again.

The next two days were spent relaxing at the beach with sunny skies but lots of wind that still didn’t prevent nice walks on the sand and hanging out by the pool.

We toured the Bogue Banks from Emerald Isle to Fort Macon State Park, where we stumbled upon an unexpected history event — the World War II Living History Weekend — and also explored the Morehead City waterfront.

Of course, we enjoyed plenty of fresh seafood, including the $12.99 lunch special (it was $9.99 a year ago at this time), before filling up with $4 a gallon gas and heading home.

Not cheap, but I’m not complaining about a great beach getaway with a different twist.

• • • • •

As town clerk and personnel officer for Clemmons, Lisa Shortt doesn’t need any more titles. But toward the end of last week’s Village Council meeting, she got another one.

Council member Mary Cameron had just concluded remarks about the Friends of the Clemmons library’s recent sale when Shortt added this comment: “Speaking of the library, we have had several people come here, thinking this was the library. Google Maps sends people here. I have reported it twice. Hopefully, it will be corrected this time, but if anybody asks you all anything about that, tell them it’s been reported to Google Maps.”

Then council member Michelle Barson interjected, “Tell them to talk to Lisa Shortt, head librarian.”