Relishing Pickleball


David Zapatka

The inaugural Pickleball Hall of Fame inductees were honored at the USAPA National Pickleball Championships this past November in Casa Grande. This was an exciting event for everyone attending, with the audience honoring and showing great appreciation for those who have laid the foundation of our great sport.

Joel Pritchard – The father of pickleball, Joel was a six-term Republican U.S. Representative from Seattle, WA, and a two-term Washington Lt. Governor. He and Barney McCallum invented pickleball in the Summer of 1965, which he calls his greatest accomplishment. That summer, their kids were bored and looking for an activity. Joel collected ping pong paddles, a wiffle ball and a badminton net and organized the game on a badminton court. Modern-day pickleball is his legacy.

Barney McCallum – Along with Joel, Barney was one of the founders of our sport. He was a partner in Pickleball, Inc., incorporated in 1968, and was the driving force behind the first company in the country to manufacture pickleball equipment. He determined where to buy and cut wood for paddles. He helped create the rules of pickleball and was the proponent in developing the non-volley zone (NVZ) line and double bounce rules. Barney created the first pickleball retail kit, selling for $29.50, which started the explosive growth of pickleball. Barney said, “The greatest thing about pickleball is the balance between offense and defense.” (Pickleball, Inc., now owned by Pickleball Central, is the leader in ball and paddle manufacturing. Their Dura 40 is the official ball of the U.S. Open, the USAPA National Championships and all major tournaments. Top players and clubs prefer this ball for its quality, true and predictable bounce. Their Champion paddles are extremely popular.)

Sid Williams – The founder and President of the USAPA in 1984, was the tournament director for over 90 tournaments in the Seattle/Tacoma area. All proceeds from these tournaments were given to food banks. During his tenure as the USAPA President, he developed a ranking system, expanded the official rules, offered free clinics, published a quarterly newsletter and was the driving force behind taking pickleball from a backyard game to a true sport.

The remaining inductees will be highlighted next issue.

Have a question about pickleball? Want to know more about the sport, the rules, equipment or have some picklilicious news you would like to share with our pickleball community? Email David Zapatka at [email protected]