Updated: Sep 7
By Alan Lirman
Pickleball. The sport your grandpa plays no more. As the sport continues its meteoric rise in popularity, it also has formed a following at Columbus.
The Christopher Columbus Pickleball Club started off the 2023/2024 school year strong. In the club's first meeting of the school year around 70 students showed up. According to senior Julian Garcia, club founder, about 20 students showed up last year.
This substantial change in attendance supported club moderator Mr. Corazon's opening statement at the meeting:
"Pickleball is the fastest-growing recreational sport in the United States!"
The club was initiated by seniors Julian Garcia and Julio Ocon with the desire to play pickleball on a regular basis with classmates while mastering the strategy of the game. Once they had the idea, Julio and Julian asked competitive pickleball player and business teacher Mr. Corazon to moderate the club. He immediately said yes and the club started.
When asked about what is so special about the sport, Mr. Corazon said, "Pickleball can be played by anyone regardless of athletic ability. It is also very social and fun, that is the main draw. Not very expensive in general outside the cost of the paddle."
"Anyone can play. It is also something they can play with their parents, unlike most sports," he added.
For him, Pickleball was a motive to get exercise again. Once an excuse for exercise, pickleball has now become Mr. Corazon's passion and hobby.
He says, " I have now been playing for about two years now and I play on average competitive games 5 days a week mostly at private homes."
The CCHS Pickleball Club will meet and play at Tropical Park until 4 p.m. about twice a month. Games are played up to 11 so that everyone has a chance to play. Mr. Corazon is not responsible for pick up and will leave at 4. Paddles are not provided so if you plan on heading out there, make sure to bring your own equipment.
So what is the future of the club?
According to Mr. Corazon, "The sky is the limit for this club. We had an initial meeting this year, where 70 students showed up. Tropical Park is adding 6 to 8 more courts, on top of the four already there. Palmetto High School has contacted us and is interested in having a Pickleball Day with our school, and who knows, if more courts are built throughout the South Florida area, Pickleball could ultimately be a varsity sport!"