Ken Adler used to own the rental shop that is now Ace Hardware. He owns the storage facility in Rollinsville. He is Nederland Police Chief Jake Adler’s father. His latest claim to fame is bringing Pickle-Ball to Nederland.
Adler and his wife, Patti, spend the winter months in their home in Arizona, and this year, a group of their friends talked Ken into playing Pickle-Ball with them. Although some of his Nederland pals scoffed, saying the game was for old folks, Ken invited them to try it and see what they had to say then.
The sport was created in 1965 in Bainbridge Island off the coast of Seattle, Washington. Three co-inventors wanted to come up with a sport for the entire family, and they built a court in their backyard, or played on driveways or streets. The family dog, Pickles, was particularly fond of the sport because he got to fetch the balls, which are whiffle-type balls. Thus the name, Pickles’ Game, was born.
In the 1970s, the game took root and grew into a net court sport with formalized rules and is being played in thousands of educational institutions, parks and recreation centers, health clubs and corporate fitness centers. It is a smaller court than tennis and has different rules and scoring systems, but it has the basic intent of tennis — that of hitting the ball with a paddle trying to get it over the net.
The paddle is hard, like a ping pong paddle, but bigger. The whiffle ball doesn’t bounce high so tennis players have to adjust their positioning. It is designed to be played in a smaller court and that means moving fast and developing your hand and eye coordination.
Ken explained that we have long winters in the mountains and this is a good sport of play indoors. Usually there are two to a team, but it can be played with one to a team. When Ken first tried it, he said it was like any new sport; he was embarrassed and he floundered for a while. He said it is a ‘gentlemen’s game,’ with the goal of having fun and being able to laugh at one’s self.
“This is now a nation-wide game that is growing by leaps and bounds,” he said. “They can’t build the courts fast enough. It is a sport for any age.”
On Monday, Ken set up a court in the Nederland Community Center gymnasium and invited the seniors to take a few swings. They quickly learned that it was not easy, but it was less strenuous than tennis and it doesn’t hurt the joints to play it.
Ken’s purpose was to introduce the sport to Nederland and maybe set up a court at the tennis courts. He hopes people will be interested in joining him for a game. For more information call Ken at 258-7905.