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Pickleball Craze Comes to Campus!

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On a brisk fall day, Bay Path welcomed pickleball to our campus with the christening of our own community court. Tucked into the corner next to the Bashevkin Academic Center, the pickleball court is a quarter of the size of a tennis court and uses a portable net. The game is played with flat racquets and plastic balls with 26 to 40 holes, like a wiffle ball.

Don’t be fooled by its simplicity. This sport—a cross between ping pong, badminton, and tennis—is one of the fastest growing sports in America. According to a 2022 Sports and Fitness Industry Association report, pickleball participation has increased by more than 158% in the past three years, with nearly 36 million players, and 9 million people having played in 2022.

From L to R, Lilly Kibbe '25 and Victoria Burkovskiy '25.

With the pickleball court, we now have a Pickleball Club started by two Bay Path undergraduates: Lilly Kibbe '25 and Victoria Burkovskiy '25. Lilly is a biology major from Ware, MA, and Victoria is a medical science major from Southwick, MA. Both are members of Bay Path’s winning volleyball team. They share their thoughts on pickleball and why it is the must activity to do on campus.

Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in America. How did you get
involved in playing this sport?

Lilly: “I played in high school in gym class. It was very popular! All the students were very caught up with the sport and soon everyone was involved. We started to set up brackets and even had a tournament of sorts with little trophies. As a special recognition, we were able to write our names on the paddles.”

Victoria: “I first noticed the sport at the Longmeadow Adult Center (LAC). Our volleyball team plays at the LAC and I noticed how popular it was in town. This past summer I started playing at the public courts in Westfield and I became addicted to the game.”

Why do you think pickleball is so popular?

Lilly: “Pickleball is an easy sport to pick up. And all ages can play it—either singles or doubles. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate it a 9!”

Victoria: “I would give it a 10. It is now my summer sport. If a person doesn’t necessarily play sports or think they don’t have a lot of skills, they are going to find it is an easy game to play. Plus, it is very open and welcoming. Players are generous and supportive whether you are a beginner or someone who has played for a time.”

You and others have made history by starting the first pickleball club on
campus. Why did you want to bring pickleball to Bay Path?

Victoria: “Pickleball is a very social and community-based sport. You can meet other people easily.”

Lilly: “Many of our clubs are not activity based. Pickleball is a great club sport. Players are not committed to a team, rather it is the fun of playing. It really is a relaxed way to be moving and be active.”

How can people find out more information about the club?

Lilly and Victoria: “We’ve had a lot of people sign up on our interest sheet. We just started fundraising and last semester we sold crock widgets—it was very popular. With the funds we are planning more to buy racquets and balls and people can borrow them to play. We are hoping the rest of the BPU community is involved and plays—faculty and staff. Stay tuned for more things to happen…”

How can we contact you?

We have an email:

Finally, can you play pickleball in the winter?

Only if you dress for it!