GERMANTOWN, Tenn. — "The most underserved form of recreation in Germantown" happens to be a game called "pickleball," according to some residents of the city.
These residents are voicing their concerns about the availability of courts for this popular sport.
"Due to the immense popularity of our pickle ball, they are always in high demand," Carol A. Neely said. "They are constantly overcrowded."
Neeley, and her colleague Janet Weeks, brought a petition to the Germantown Board of Alderman and the Mayor of Germantown.
"Carol and I went to go get over 200 signatures in a very short period of time," Weeks said. "We were just hoping that this would bring attention to Germantown, that there is certainly a need of conversion of other racquet type courts or maybe dual-purpose courts—you know, something—because eight courts doesn't seem to fit the need."
Neeley said, after taking video of a typical Thursday night at the courts, that she counted over 45 heads in attendance.
"We are talking eight courts—45 people," she said. "That meant people were standing on the sideline waiting."
Randy Stafford manufacturers pickleball paddles.
"It's like World War III out there," Stafford said. "How fast can the clubs be built? How fast can more people be introduced? How fast can you produce paddles? I mean, it's just a war going on."
Stafford said the sport is "growing by leaps and bounds."
Stafford owns Strattera Paddles in Collierville, "right off the Square" with his son, Steven Stafford.
"We manufacture pickleball paddles for Vulcan sporting goods," Steven Stafford said. "We're kind of their engineering and manufacturing here in the states."
Randy Stafford said that what is happening in Germantown is indicative of what's happening "all over the country."
"Whenever I introduce pickleball to somebody I say 'Watch out—there's one problem with it. It's addicting,'" he said.
Steven Stafford agrees.
"It's fun to play, it's fun to watch and people who are very different can play together," he said.
Janet Weeks said that a lot of different organizations and cities alike have recognized popularity in growth of pickleball.
"The sport has just steadily grown, and I think it's just cause it's fun, " she said.