Pickleball Association to initiate new courts in city

OBSERVER Photo by Mary Heyl The Northern Chautauqua Pickleball Association will be initiating the new pickleball courts at Dunkirk’s Wright Park on Saturday. Interested players can enjoy non-competitive play at the park on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6 p.m.

The fastest growing sport in the country is definitely catching on in Dunkirk. The Northern Chautauqua Pickleball Association is pleased to welcome pickleball players and potential players to the new courts at Wright Park this Saturday during Beach Bash weekend. From 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, the non-profit group will be engaged in all levels of play, which will be followed by lunch at the Beach House Grill behind the courts. Players are invited to stay to watch the trials of the boat races, which will be taking place from noon to 4 p.m.

NCPA member Rita Mrowka has been playing pickleball for approximately three years, and recommends the fun sport to everyone. “It’s very easy to learn. It’s like senior tennis,” she explained. “It’s played on a court that’s about one third the size of a tennis court with paddles that are a cross between ping pong paddles and tennis rackets. The ball we use is like a whiffle ball.”

Although the sport is often associated with retirees, Mrowka pointed out that now the game is being taught to middle school students in Dunkirk. People of all ages are invited to take part in Saturday’s festivities at no charge. Anyone who is new to the game is welcome to use the extra equipment, and no pre-registration is necessary.

The new courts at Wright Park, which opened last month, are designated for pickleball only, and are the ideal outdoor location for the game. “I like the new courts very much,” Mrowka said. “Unlike other outdoor courts that have lines for both tennis and pickleball, these courts only have one set of lines, which is much easier.” The pickleball courts at Wright Park are open to the public at no charge.

Mrowka also invites new and seasoned players to take part in non-competitive play at the new courts during the week on Mondays and Wednesdays beginning at 6 p.m. “It can be a very competitive game,” she explained. “But I’m not competitive. I just like to play for fun and for the exercise.”

Mrowka encourages potential players to bring a chair and a water bottle to enjoy the beautiful park. “It’s so pretty down by the lake. It really is a beautiful place to play. There’s also a lot more going on at the lake, and you just really feel part of Dunkirk.”

The NCPA thanks Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas, the city development department and the city recreation department for the new courts. For more information about Saturday’s festivities or non-competitive play during the week, contact Mrowka at 366-0964.