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A HISTORY OF PICKLEBALL IN LAFAYETTE, LOUISIANA

 


 

A HISTORY OF PICKLEBALL

IN LAFAYETTE , LOUISIANA

 

Once upon a time, not too long ago --- in 1998, before the turn of the century, there was a small group of active senior athletes in Lafayette, Louisiana. They played “Badminton” in a public activity center referred to as Thomas. Thomas had three badminton courts that stayed active with these Senior athletes every Monday and Friday.  Each helped the other to better himself and there was much joy on court 1, on court 2, and on court 3.

Then one day someone said “Pickleball” named after “Pickles” is a game of much worth.  It brings laughter, it brings joy, and much fun…we can play it on court 3… I’m sure it won’t mind.  Indeed, court 3 gave itself --- gave its all, to the game named after “Pickles.”  All of court 1 and all of court 2 couldn’t help but to see that the banging and the jumping and the running and the laughing was a desirable and good place to be, but 

they vowed, one to the other, court 1 to court 2 and court 2 to court 1…never will we turn to “Pickleball” and all of its --- B A N G I N G ---,  never will we stoop to lowering our… nets!

Sometime during 1998 or 1999 Allen and Sadie Guidry of Lafayette, met Maureen “Mo” Armstrong of Victoria, Texas.  Mo introduced “Pickleball” to Allen and Sadie.  They got the ball rolling in a variety of directions.  They talked to a core group of people from Lafayette and New Iberia including --- Becky Lacour, Eddie “Peachie” Landry, Nettie Chauvin, Wilson & Theresa Domingue, Ray & Odell Lovell, Helen Lindsey, Bobby & Cecil Halphin, and others.  This group, who were active badminton players, agreed to play Pickleball part of the evenings after their badminton playing.  Sometime during 1999 Cynthia and P. J. Boudreaux began pursuing badminton and were eventually convinced to try Pickleball.  Our first tournament, in group, was at the Mississippi State Senior Games in 1999. Most of us went to play badminton.  Mo Armstrong was there promoting Pickleball and managing the Pickleball tournament.  We all played to our hearts content and have been playing ever since. In 2005, since that meager beginning, (court 1 and court 2 have had to lower their nets), Pickleball is played at least twice, sometimes three times when facilities are available, a week with three courts banging away for two and a half to three hours.  There is a core group of between twenty and thirty that show up every week with approximately twenty or so, less committed, from surrounding areas that come often.

Becky Lacour teaches Pickleball to Senior groups through an adult education program.

The Guidrys continued their planting of Pickleball seeds, with Mo’s help in various areas --- Baton Rouge is one which has grown very well in committed Pickleball players.  The Baton Rouge group, who has their own story, is about equal to the Lafayette group in numbers.

Until just recently, the Guidrys, Becky Lacour, Eddie Landry, and Nettie Chauvin took turns in managing the Pickleball tournaments and group games.  In 2004 Cynthia and P. J. Boudreaux were coaxed into working the Pickleball tournaments, (with the help of the veterans), --- most of these others are involved in other Senior Olympic Game activities also.

Pickleball is being taught in some schools in South Louisiana to children.  Our hope is to continue spreading…the fun…the joy of comradery…and the competition that Pickleball can bring to its participants.  My experience has been that only less than ten percent of people who are introduced to Pickleball do not return.

 

Pierre J. Boudreaux

10/28/2005

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