Guest submission by Zoe Wiley, former Front reporter.
Since its grand opening last October, Armory Pickleball has become a hub for players of all ages. The membership-only establishment is now offering a drop-in court opportunity for college students.
At the first College Night, which was held on Friday, Jan. 20, students paid $15 for three hours of court time.
Tristan Trudell, a third-year at Western, recently became a member at Armory Pickleball and is now the College Night student liaison.
He started playing pickleball when he was around ten years old.
“One of my dad's friends would invite us to his barn to play pickleball on Tuesday nights,” Trudell said. “I immediately fell in love with it.”
Pickleball is easy to learn, Trudell said, and it’s possible to become skilled in a short amount of time. He said he wants to help students connect to the sport, whether they’re looking for tips, competition or just to have fun.
Lucy Caples, Intramural & Youth Sport Camps coordinator at Western, said if a student doesn’t normally enjoy sports, pickleball could be worth trying.
“Pickleball is a really great way to meet new people and get up and move,” she said in an email.
A pickleball team consists of a minimum of two players, with a maximum of four players on their roster. Drop-in players have the opportunity to get to know new teammates every time – this is one aspect of pickleball that makes it a popular social sport.
Caples said she is reaching a new group of students through Western’s pickleball tournaments. The Fall 2022 intramural tournament was filled completely with 16 teams, and the current league has 12 teams.
Armory Pickleball co-owner Courtney Jenkins said College Nights will likely be a bi-monthly event with lessons available depending on court availability and student interest.
“Bring a paddle if you have it because we only have a few,” Jenkins said, adding that they will eventually have college-budget paddles for sale. She also asks that students bring clean court shoes to play in.