Its name conjures up thoughts of pastrami on rye, but the sport is really fun. It’s also extremely exciting when the stakes are high.

The NYC Parks Department will host the Citywide Pickleball Tournament in Flushing and Rego Park on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There is no entrance fee, and everyone is invited to compete either as a doubles team or individually in the singles flight. For aspiring doubles players without partners, pairings will be determined at 9 a.m.

There will be two age categories — 25 to 54 and 55 and over — and the men’s and women’s division games will take place at the Al Oerter Recreation Center, while the mixed division is set for the Lost Battalion Hall.

Register here.

Located at 131-40 Fowler Ave., Al Oerter is just north of Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s Field 8 and just west of College Point Boulevard. The Home Depot is to the north. Lost Battalion is at 93-29 Queens Blvd.

Invented in a residential backyard in the Seattle area in 1965, pickleball is a racket sport with elements of tennis and badminton. It’s played with a solid paddle and a light, polymer ball with holes. The court is 20-by-40 feet and it’s the same for singles and doubles. The net is 36 inches high at the sides, and 34 inches at the center.

Service must be underhanded, and the first team to 11 reach points wins, although victory must be by two points. Thus, the game goes into overtime if the score is tied at 10 each.

The origins of the sport’s name are unclear. Some historians say it derives from “pickle boat,” a colloquial term for the last fishing boat to return to shore at the end of a day. Others argue that one of the inventors had a dog named “Pickles” that used to chase after the balls and run away with them during early matches. The pooch got the honors.

Pickleball has about 3 million players around the United States, and Rochester in upstate New York is actually a hotbed. In Queens, the Roy Wilkins Recreation Center in Jamaica and the Rockaway YMCA at Arverne by the Sea are great places for a game, in addition to Al Oerter and Lost Battalion.

Images: Pickleball Forum

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