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La Cañada pickleball devotees can soon take advantage of home court

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A group of La Cañada pickleball players, including Bill Koury and Kathy Trumbo, recently asked the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission to consider building a court for the burgeoning sport, a combination of tennis and ping-pong. A temporary court will open at Cornishon Avenue Sept. 28.
(Courtesy of Bill Koury)

A new temporary pickleball court at Cornishon Avenue, set up by the city at the request of resident players, will open Sept. 28 and include expert demonstrations.

For the past few months, La Cañada resident and business owner Bill Koury has led a small but passionate phalanx of seniors who’ve lobbied the city on a very important issue — bringing pickleball to La Cañada Flintridge.

The 79-year-old said he became a fairly fervent player after a friend introduced him to the quickly burgeoning pastime in November.

“After five minutes of playing I fell in love with the sport,” he recalled.

Koury and other pickleball enthusiasts have since relayed their fondness for the recreational endeavor — an amalgam of tennis and ping-pong in which two pairs of players serve and hit a whiffle ball with wooden paddles over a low-hanging net — in pitches to the LCF Parks and Recreation Commission and City Council for a hometown venue.

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Commissioners asked the city to investigate where such a court would work, given that one tennis court accommodates four pickleball courts. In the meantime, citizens asked for a temporary means of playing and got one.

A new temporary pickleball court has been striped on a basketball court of the former Foothill Intermediate School grounds off Cornishon Avenue. It will open to the public in a Sept. 28 grand opening event behind the city’s skate park.

From 8 to 11 a.m., instructors from Burbank will teach pickleball to the uninitiated. Balls and paddles will be provided for those without their own equipment and later kept in a secured cabinet for anyone wishing to play Saturdays, from 8 to 11 a.m., or from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

City staffer Arabo Parseghian said the temporary court will act as sort of a pilot program that will allow the city to gauge public interest in the sport while it considers a permanent court.

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“The thought was it would be beneficial to the community to get the word out and let people try it out … while the city continued the location assessment,” Parseghian said.

La Cañada resident Kathy Trumbo, 63, discovered pickleball last summer, after playing on a court her brother had built at his Sun Valley home. The longtime tennis player liked how quickly new players could join round robins.

“People don’t have to wait on the sideline for a long time to be rotated in,” she said of pickleball’s comparatively quick 11-point games. “And people can come alone and get in the game, and so meet more people — it’s such a great community sport.”

Legend has it pickleball was first conceived in the 1960s by dads improvising to keep bored kids entertained. Today it’s being popularized by seniors looking for a way to stay physically and socially active.

“You don’t have to move as far or as fast, and you don’t have to be powerful like you would be in tennis, but it gives you more physical activity than ping-pong,” Koury said. “It’s a sport people can easily pick up if they’re looking for exercise or if they want to be social.”

For more information, visit the La Cañada Pickleball Facebook page or email lcpickeball@gmail.com.

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