Atlantic City appears to be the latest coastal municipality to join the pickleball craze. The city is creating its first and only pickleball courts, which will open this summer at Bader Field.
Residents of the resort are known for their love of basketball, with numerous leagues, strong school teams, and a long history of hosting major tournaments. The pickleball courts happen to be located next to beautiful basketball courts in Bader, with pressure tile surfaces that are healthier for the players and fiberglass panels.
Some residents have caught the pickleball bug without having their own court. Councilman Jesse Kurtz recently said many of his constituents play in other communities.
Pickleball is played with strong plastic paddles and a hard plastic ball, with rules and courts conducive to less running and aggressive play than tennis. That and a pace suitable for socializing appeal to seniors, but the appeal of the game is limitless. Kurtz said he had a paddle to play with his kids.
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Atlantic City Council municipal Council prepared for expanded play in Bader last year with approval of paving for recreation area.
City officials are considering adding a game that many residents and visitors would find exotic and mysterious – cricket, which dates back to at least the 17th century in England.
Many in South Jersey have probably never seen a cricket match or even a cricket ground. In various Atlantic City, however, the game is becoming increasingly popular, especially in Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi communities whose home countries abroad consider it a major sport.
We’ve long been intrigued by the game of cricket, which feels like a weird kind of baseball. If city officials created a cricket ground, maybe our sportswriters would turn us into fans. For now, local cricketers must be content to use baseball or soccer fields.
These beautiful additions to the city’s recreation will remain if the $2.7 billion motorsports-centric development proposal for Bader Field comes to fruition, city officials said. Future development should include recreation in its plans or get approval to move it, Kurtz said. In addition to the basketball and pickleball courts, this will include the ice rink that the city took over this year.
Kurtz said recreational uses will not interfere with the use of Bader Field for festivals, such as the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival which is scheduled to return this month. Major performers at Bader’s music festivals have included the Dave Matthews Band, Phish, and Metallica.
Since recreation facilities have been funded in part by government grants, Kurtz said, access to them must be guaranteed to the general public.
However, with many pickleball players currently in Atlantic City, the resort had another good reason to create its first courts – the Atlantic City Indoor Open Pickleball Championship to be held in September at the city’s convention center. .
The championship will be sanctioned by the USA Pickleball Association and hosted by Pickleball Entertainment Consultants, which has run the US Open Pickleball Championships since 2016. It is expected to attract approximately 6,000 players and 4,000 spectators. The prize money will be at least $50,000.
With their own courts, residents and city officials can have fun pickleball and better understand its growing popularity before September – and avoid the irony of hosting a championship, but not the ordinary public game so common along the shore.