Bill would declare pickleball the official state sport of Washington

Copyright 2021

OLYMPIA, Wash – Two Washington senators want the legislature to declare pickleball as the official state sport.

A Washington congressman named Joel McFee Pritchard and his friends invented pickleball on Bainbridge Island in 1965, according to USA Pickleball.

“These men created the game at Pritchard’s summer cabin after they ‘persuaded’ their abnormally hyper children to go outside to play a few games of badminton, but there was no pickleball equipment to be found,” reads Senate Bill 5615. “Instead, these fathers did some brainstorming and created a new game using ping-pong paddles, a net, and a neighbor’s plastic Wiffle ball.”

The bill says the rules they created are still in use today by the USA Pickleball Association.

Senators John Lovick of Mill Creek and Sam Hunt from Olympia pre-filed the bill for the legislative session, which gets underway in early January.

The bill says that the game has “expanded beyond Washington to become a nationally and internationally beloved game” with more than four million people playing in the United States and 67 member countries in the International Federation of Pickleball.

The Economist declared pickleball “the fastest-growing sport in America.”

“The legislature intends to honor and recognize the Washingtonians who created, popularized and continue to enjoy this sport by designating pickleball the official sports of the state of Washington.”

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