Pickleball drives Sunday family fun

Joseph Smith (left) winds up to serve the Pickleball during a family game Sunday evening, July 31, 2022, at Washington Park in Jefferson City. His nephew, Josiah Waterman, was his match partner. (Ryan Pivoney/News Tribune photo)

Billie Barfield is part of the booming population having fun with Pickleball, one of the fastest-growing games in America.

Barfield, 54, of Jefferson City, heard about the paddle sport from a coworker about a month and half ago. She's been hooked ever since, playing almost nightly.

She spent Sunday evening playing a series of matches with family members in Washington Park.

"It's just family fun," she said. "We're not really doing tournaments, but we just like to get out here and have fun together."

Jefferson City has pickleball courts and a Pickleball Club, which plays on the courts near Lincoln University. Some members had picked up a game on Sunday evening as well.

Barfield said she uses the tennis courts at Washington Park to play Pickleball because the nets are always up, whereas on the courts at Lincoln you have to have access to the nets.

She would like to see Jefferson City Parks and Recreation add more Pickleball courts, she said, so she doesn't have to chalk in the correct lines over the tennis courts.

"Apparently, it is getting really big, from what I understand," Barfield said.

And she wants more to join.

"People should get out and play," she said. "Get out from in front of the TVs, off of the video games and get active."

  photo  Billie Barfield (right) returns a serve back over the net as Alexis Smith (left) prepares for the next back-and-forth Sunday, July 31, 2022, during a friendly family Pickleball game at Washington Park. Barfield and her family are part of the rapidly growing population taking up Pickleball. (Photo by Ryan Pivoney/News Tribune)
  photo  Alexis Smith (foreground) cuts a return over the net Sunday, July 31, 2022, during a family Pickleball game at Washington Park in Jefferson City. (Photo by Ryan Pivoney/News Tribune)