The Jasper Pickleball Craze and the People Behind It

Words by Jenny Lynn Davis | Images by Justin Hunter

The booming popularity of pickleball in the United States is no secret, and the city of Jasper has caught a bad case of the bug.

Recently, the City of Jasper Parks & Recreation Department celebrated the one-year anniversary of Pickleball’s institution in Jasper, an effort that may not have been possible without the work of folks like Ken Farris, Deb Deason, and Jasper Park & Rec Director Peter Cosmiano.

“We had tried once before to introduce it, and that didn’t go to plan, but the second time was the charm,” says Farris, who serves as the Facility Coordinator at Swann Gym and the City of Jasper Parks & Rec Department.

When community members such as Deason expressed interest in introducing pickleball to the city, the department stepped up and made it happen.

“I knew that if we got more people involved, once they started playing, they’d be hooked, and that was true,” said Farris.

A reception to celebrate Farris’s birthday, which happened to fall on Jasper Pickleball’s one-year anniversary, was held last Friday at Swann Gym.

While hundreds of individuals have taken advantage of the sport’s presence in Jasper, a dedicated group of over 40 players have met every Monday and Friday at Swann Gym to play this fast-paced and exciting game. Among them is Tom Hamman. Like many others, Tom took up the sport after retiring as a way to stay active and engaged. However, what started as a hobby quickly turned into a passion.

“I took up pickleball when I retired to give me something to do. Little did I know how addictive it would be. I’m part of that crowd that plans their Mondays and Fridays around pickleball,” Hamman says.

Recently, The Jasper City Council approved a request for permission to send bids for the installation of nine pickleball courts at Memorial Park/Swann Gym, as well as permission to repair and install tennis courts and pickleball courts at A.P. Howell Park.

Pickleball is a game for everyone – all ages, athletic abilities, and backgrounds, and it creates a fun environment for both exercise and socialization. No experience is necessary, and equipment is provided.

Jasper Pickleball has become a beloved part of the community. If you haven’t tried it yet, now is the perfect time to join in on the fun! WL

Learn more by visiting Jasper Parks and Recreation on Facebook, or by calling 205-385-7979.