Don’t know how closely you follow what’s going on with the recreation departments in our area, but I can tell you there have been more offerings recently than ever before. So, I called my friend Riverside Department of Parks and Recreation, Director Ron Malchiodi to see what’s going on around here recreation-wise.

After a long conversation, which went from family to his dogs to holiday activities and finally settling around his department, I discovered I have been out of the loop.

Recounting the year’s events from his department, Malchiodi he said this year the department introduced Pickle Ball to Riverside. This sounded like something I might like — just enough activity, but not so much that I would want to have a doctor on my team.

Malchiodi became acquainted with Pickle Ball while taking a course at Northern Illinois University, where he earned his degree in physical education. It didn’t come back to him until a resident said it might be of interest since it was something that didn’t require much in the way of equipment and could be played by all ages.

It was invented in 1965 by Joel Pritchard (a congressman from Washington State) and his friends Bill Bell and Rainer McCallum as a family sport. They named the sport after one the originators’ dog. 

All it takes is a court (combination of tennis and badminton), lightweight paddles and a wiffle ball. Teams of two or four players of all ages can play and enjoyed by all ages. It has been popular at many retirement communities, and there’s even a United States Pickle Ball Association. Now you are in the know.

According to Malchiodi, Riverside’s Pickle Ball court is located at Harrington Park, at Robinson Court and Delaplaine Road, where there are tennis courts. Additional striping was added to the courts to accommodate the game and not interfere with tennis. 

Malchiodi stated there was enough interest that more courts would be on the way in the future. There is no fee to play and the rec department has equipment that would-be players can check out. 

Perhaps this was a strange topic for a column at this time of year with the holidays approaching, the first snow falling (with a threat of more to come) and cold temperatures. 

But I figured there were plenty of us out there who are not sharpening our ice skates or checking the skiing equipment and are looking forward to spring.