I went decades knowing vaguely that pickleball existed but never hearing much about it beyond that. That changed in 2020, when pickleball began to gain traction as the “perfect pandemic past time.”

According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, pickleball is among the fastest-growing sports in the nation. Anecdotally, this holds true: people I thought I knew well were casually revealing that they played one, two, three times a week. Suddenly, it didn’t seem to be the sport of retirees; it seemed The Sport of Everyone. 

Enthusiasts of the sport can rejoice, now, with the advent of a dedicated pickleball facility that is being installed at Piney Wood Park. Located at 400 E. Woodcroft Parkway, the facility will contain 14 courts. In a press release, Durham Parks and Recreation said that it planned to host “sanctioned tournaments, clinics, lessons, [and] ladder play” as well as provide plenty of open playtime. 

“We are thrilled to provide this much-needed facility for a sport that has become increasingly popular in Durham and the surrounding areas,” DPR Director Wade Walcutt said in the press release. 

In partnership with the Durham Area Pickleball Players and the Durham Parks Foundation, Durham Parks and Recreation is hosting a Bull City Open Pickleball Tournament this weekend. The event, which will be held at Bethesda Park on Friday, July 30, and Sunday, August 1, between 8 a.m. and 9:30 p.m., will raise funds for the lighting at the facility. Registration is already full—which, with a roster of 232 players, is surprising but speaks to the local popularity of the sport—but spectators are “welcome” and food trucks will be on-site, according to the parks department. 

The Piney Wood Park courts are scheduled to be completed in mid-2022.

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