TPHS Pickleball Club hits the court

Anyone who has frequented a San Diego tennis club in the last year is familiar with a newly-established cycle: the smell of a fresh coat of paint, weeks upon weeks of court renovations, all rounded out by the incessant “thwack” of pickleballs ricocheting off paddles. Pickleball has arrived in the hearts of young and old, athletes and not, and it is here to stay.

In the past three years since the COVID-19 pandemic, tennis court after tennis court has been redrawn and reconstructed to form pickleball courts. According to the Association of Pickleball Players Tour’s Pickleball Participation Report, there are currently 36.5 million pickleball players in the U.S., and the number continues to rise. Of these millions, TPHS boasts 150 avid pickleballers of our own — members of the new TPHS Pickleball Club.

The idea for TPPB sprouted from the minds of four TPHS seniors and devout pickleball fans of many years. Their enamoration with the sport — or “art form,” as they call it — was born when they first began playing with older family members and friends.

“My dad played with a bunch of older guys and then one day he invited me to come along,” TPPB Public Affairs Officer Preston Wilson (12) said. “I was really bad at it, but I started playing a lot with them and I got better.”

The founders’ respective pickleball journeys converged on the idea of bringing the game to TPHS.

“Pickleball is a rapidly growing community, with more and more young people playing, so we thought, why not bring it to Torrey Pines?” TPPB Co- president Matt Schreiber (12) said.

But they never imagined it would gain such immense traction, almost instantaneously becoming one of the most frequented clubs on campus. Its popularity could be attributed to one of pickleball’s greatest appeals — its accessibility to people of all ages and overall simplicity.

“There’s less movement in pickleball than tennis, so it’s more focused on technique and less about athleticism,” TPPB Co-president Daniel Taich (12) said. “You have a better shot at being better than you would if you were playing tennis.”

Because athleticism is not the totality of pickleball, there is room for greater socialization and enjoyment — something the TPPB leaders are big proponents of.

“I love the friendly banter in the middle of a pickleball game, and the best is playing with friends for hours out there,” TPPB Secretary Grayson Wyandt (12) said.

TPPB emphasizes a culture of connectivity and an uplifting atmosphere over skill.

“I think the pickleball community is very, very strong and tight-knit. It feels like home,” Taich said.

Bringing that kind of positive energy to campus is a major aspiration of the TPPB, as they view pickleball as an ever-present outlet for escaping the stress of daily life.

“On the pickleball court I can really just clear my thoughts and focus on the game,” Schreiber said.

TPPB held its first pickleball tournament on Oct. 15 at the Fairbanks Ranch Association tennis courts. Though TPPB has to overcome obstacles like finding places to play, due to the current TPHS tennis court construction (story on A22), as well as accommodating the sheer volume of interested members, they are eager to see what the future holds.

“We just want to share our passion and love for this sport,” Taich said.

Photos by Anna Opalsky/Falconer

Previous post 1 in 3000: Leo Polidori
Next post Students are justified when they pass on the pass