Pickleball is on the rise in Merritt, much like many other cities across the country and the world, with the sport even having its own home on Merritt Avenue since last year. Merritt Pickleball is a collection of local players looking to play the beloved sport, connect with their community, and encourage others to join in on the fun tennis/ping pong mix. 

Last Saturday, members of Merritt Pickleball gathered to prepare their outdoor digs, formerly the lawn bowling centre, for another season of fun in the sun. While Merritt Pickleball players gather indoors three days per week at the former Coquihalla Middle School during the winter season, they play Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, usually from 9-11, in the warmer months. 

“From October until April, we’re indoors, and now we’re getting set to be able to start to play outdoors in May,” said Sharon Courtepatte, a director with Merritt Pickleball. 

“It’s a lot better for us, because there’s four courts on the outside courts, whereas, when we play indoors, we only have three, and our membership is really growing. There’s a lot of people that haven’t played for a couple of years because of COVID, and they’re coming back now.”

While they’re currently only playing three days per week, more days and times could be added, depending on interest. Courtepatte noted that while fees of around $130 per year apply to players with Merritt Pickleball, including insurance and admin fees, a player’s first time is free, including the use of a paddle. She added that a decent paddle can be purchased for around $100. 

Merritt Pickleball rents their space on Merritt Avenue from the city, which includes the courts and clubhouse facilities, both of which the club maintains. Landscaping is done by the city, but club members gather often to clean the courts, raise the nets, and prepare the clubhouse for plenty of competition, socialization, and fun. 

“There’s all sorts of ages, and that’s why we try and encourage young people to come out too, but we understand that if you’re not retired, you’re going to be working through the day,” noted Courtepatte. 

“There’s all different levels of play, and there’s a lot of new people there as well. You don’t have to be athletic, it’s sort of a cross between ping pong and tennis, I guess. You play with a paddle, and the court would be about the same size as a badminton court.”

For more information on Merritt Pickleball, including current playing times and membership, contact Gary Derksen at 250-280-0105.