New pickleball courts officially open in Athens

Brand new pickleball courts have officially opened in Athens. (Audrey Johnson / Hville Blast)

Six new pickleball courts have opened at Big Spring Memorial Park in Athens. The sound of “popping” pickleballs filled the air as Jennifer Bridges, vice president of the Athens Alabama Pickleball Association (AAPA), cut the ribbon to officially open the courts.

Although the AAPA has 300 members of all ages, Bridges said pickleball enthusiasts from Decatur, Madison, Huntsville, Moulton, Hartselle and Florence all come to play in Athens.

“We play like an hour or two, three hours at a time. Then we have to pull ourselves away. We talk about how this is the latest addiction.”

Jennifer Bridges, AAPA vice president

The new courts started as tennis courts, but the city resurfaced and transformed them into pickleball courts this September due to demand. They left one tennis court with pickleball lines.

Why is everyone obsessed with pickleball?

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America. (Audrey Johnson / Hville Blast)

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America, and the AAPA started two years ago when pickleball started to surge in popularity. Now, Athens hosts tournaments like Picklefest, which took place this September at the Athens SportsPlex.

Bridges estimated that around 600 Athens residents play pickleball. She said the community spans all ages, from people in their 20s to people in their 80s.

Where can you play pickleball in Madison County?

The newest pickleball courts in Athens, Alabama. (Audrey Johnson / Hville Blast)

For pickleball enthusiasts in Madison County, there are several places to play. Town Madison opened 12 re-surfaced pickleball courts this month. Huntsville has several places where you can play pickleball, and courts are coming to a new community center being built at John Hunt Park.

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Audrey Johnson
Audrey Johnson
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