How Did Pickleball Get Its Name?

Pickleball Paddles And Balls On The Court
Pickleball Paddles And Balls On The Court

Do you know that pickleball has a whole interesting story behind it? So how did pickleball get its name? What is the truth behind that story?

Pickleball games are considered an amalgam of various racket sports. It starts from a small game for kids and has now gained a reputation all over the world. However, most people have no idea about the history of the game. So how did Pickleball get its name?

Pickleball Paddles And Balls On The Court
Pickleball Paddles And Balls On The Court

How Did Pickleball Get Its Name

There are two stories relating to the pickleball name:

  • Pickles the dog

The story was about the three families: Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum, who created a game for their kids on a summer afternoon. 

The Pritchard family got a dog called Pickles, and she had the habit of picking up the ball and ran off with it. Thus, the McCallum family, the first players of Pickleball, decided that they would name the game after the Pritchard family’s dog. 

Besides, the game has had no official name for years. The first inventors of pickleball had no idea that the game would continue to exist and become widely accepted.

Maybe you don’t know that there is another very famous dog also named Pickles, who found known the stolen Jules Rimet Trophy in March 1966.

  • The pickle boat

The second story came from the wife of Joel Pritchard – Joan Pritchard, . According to Joan: ‘The combination of various sports make me recognize the pickle boat in crew in which oarsmen were picked from other boats’ the leftovers.

The term ‘pickle boat’ means the last boat finishing the race. Joan remembered how the boat filled up with leftover rowers on the race, resulting in inventors starting to call the game “pickleball”.

Other people declared that both stories were all true. However, the game’s inventors understood that the second version, ‘the pickle boat’, is not a good story to tell. 

If you introduce the game to the newcomers, one of the first questions they will often ask is: “Where does that name come from?”. Explaining that Pickleball was named after a family dog is much shorter and easier to tell than spending hours talking about the “pickle boat”. 

The name “Pickleball” has become familiar over the past five decades. So no matter whether you like the version ‘Pickles the dog’, or the story of ‘the pickle boat’, we all have to thank Pritchard for the name. These inventors had come up with one of the most exciting sports that fascinates thousands of players worldwide.

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