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THIS IS A STORY OF A PICKLEBALL COURT ON A REMOTE ISLAND, built on a World War II barracks foundation surrounded by poison ivy.
If you look closely at the bottom of the above photo you will see a white strip. That is my friend’s (a friend of 43 years) Pickleball court.
If you are interested in Pickleball, if you do nothing else, you HAVE to watch the YouTube video using the link at the bottom of this article.
The remote island is Cuttyhunk in Buzzards Bay. It is the outermost of the Elizabeth Islands, with a land area of 50 acres and a full-time population of less than 50 people.
Before we relocated permanently to Vero Beach, we built a house on Cuttyhunk; remembering well when my friend Wyatt Garfield, Jr. “repurposed” the barracks foundation into a Pickleball court.
Wyatt’s father, as well as his grandfather, had long histories on Cuttyhunk before Wyatt Jr. established his pickle ball court.
Wyatt Garfield, my friend’s father.
Here is my friend Wyatt’s story.
“I was first introduced to Pickle on Bainbridge Island in Washington state by my childhood friend Dr. Joth Davis. We summered together on Cuttyhunk Island.
As it turns out Bainbridge is the birthplace of pickle back in the 70’s .There are reportedly over 2300 courts in greater Seattle. Joth shared a court that bisected his neighbors and his own property. It is such a rare game with it’s almost instant infectious learning curve and laid back ambience .
Made for a backwater of society like Cuttyhunk, the hunt for a location began and ended in minutes with the discovery of a debris and root infested World War II army barracks foundation on Copicut Neck, Cuttyhunk. Complete with footings, the lenght was perfect and the width was 6 inches narrower than regulations.
I received permission from my neighbor to clear the site in April of 2001. Three days of clearing revealed a cracked and pockmarked slab. Over the years we have maintained it with bondo, West systems, hydraulic cement and mortar; all contributing their own unique bounces during action.
Local knowledge is huge.
The court is surrounded by viburnum, bayberry , honeysuckle and poison ivy cteating a natural windscreen for our peppy summer SW breezes.
We play in our bathing suits @ 8:30 AM daily followed by a plunge in Buzzards Bay .
Judicious use of profanity is mandatory. We rotate partners and welcome new blood.
Last year we held a fund raiser and constructed a community court next to the old fishing club in the village.
No sport I know of engages all ages, provides so many laughs, takes five minutes to learn and 10 to be proficient; all the while getting a good work out .
Most communities now have clubs that encourage new faces . CHECK IT OUT?”
Wyatt Garfield, Jr., Cuttyhunk Island, on a special assignment for: www.verocommunique.com
Community Pickleball Court on Cuttyhunk Island with Martha’s Vineyard (Aquinnah) in the background.