Positively the Heartland: Iowans combine joy and fitness through pickleball

Posted at 7:08 AM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 08:08:18-04

GLENWOOD, Iowa (KMTV) - Pickleball is a sport that combines tennis, racquetball, and table tennis. Some pickleball aficionados led the charge for the construction of an outdoor complex in Glenwood.

For the last 50-60 years, two tennis courts stood in Glenwood but became dilapidated. When pickleball got introduced to the city, the mayor offered that venue as the site of new Pickleball courts, ushering in a new era.

"We're concerned about the health of people. Some of the health standards are poor," said Roger Craig, the President of the Southwest Iowa Pickleball Club.

Craig says pickleball is a great way to improve the health and fitness of Mills County.

"People were inactive, and not enjoying outdoor activities so that was a big incentive for us, to create another outdoor venue for the citizens and visitors of Mills County," Craig said.

Craig calls the sport good for young and old alike.

"This was something that would encourage an outdoor activity, strenuous exercise and at the same, it's fun to do, so those were some issues we considered when we requested funding for the facility," Craig said.

Construction on the courts finished in November. The Pickleball Club got organized at the end of March, growing from 28 to 130 members.

Gena Craig is Roger's wife and one of the members at large for the Club. She had a heart attack six years ago and calls the sport her "rehab."

"So much exercise is boring, peddling a bike, stationary bike, working on machines can be very boring," Gena said.

She credits pickleball as a saving grace not only for herself but also for the fellow players she calls "friends."

"We met friends instantly and now we have this great big crew that we know and we've gotten involved in the town and we hadn't been before," Gena said.

For more resources on the sport, click here..

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