FEBRUARY 2017: PICKLEBALL COMES TO LAKE CITY
Chip and Donna Lynch discovered pickleball while vacationing in NY in July 2016. When they returned to Lake City in October 2016, they bought a net and played in their driveway. Since there was no pickleball in Lake City, they drove to Gainesville once a week to play. In Feb 2017 they thought “why not start pickleball in Lake City”? They sent a “Pickleball Anyone?” email to the residents in their community inviting them to play pickleball in their driveway. In two days, twelve people played pickleball, some twice, and all expressed an interest in playing some more. This is a picture of some of the early pioneers on one of those days.
They knew they had something and searched for a facility. The timing was perfect. Pickleball was growing in the US and Columbia County Recreation Department wanted to be a part of the revolution. They welcomed them with open arms buying nets, balls, and paddles and arranged for classes 3 days a week.
A one-day tournament, the “First Ever” Pickleball Tournament, was held in May 2017 and the “1st Winter Blast”, a three day tournament, was held in Jan 2018. The program continues to grow with play expanding to 7 times a week. To date, hundreds of people have played pickleball in Lake City. The annual Winter Blast tournament held every January has become an eagerly-anticipated event for pickleball competitors in the region.