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Kelly Price: The Woman Who Brought Pickleball to Chattanooga

Woman Who Brought Pickleball to Chattanooga: Pickleball is an engaging and social game that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. As the fastest-growing sport in America, it has attracted players of all ages. One of the key reasons for its popularity is its low-impact nature, making it easy on the joints. Whether you’re playing singles or doubles, pickleball offers a fun, friendly experience for everyone.

The game is incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors. Courts can be set up on a variety of existing sports surfaces, including basketball courts, volleyball courts, badminton courts, or tennis courts.

Many people have either played it, watched it, or at least heard of it. In this Pay It Forward segment, sponsored by the McMahan Law Firm, a special gesture for the woman credited with introducing pickleball to Chattanooga. Last year, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association recognized pickleball as the fastest-growing sport in America for the third consecutive year. Approximately 36.5 million people played the game at least once in the past year, underscoring its meteoric rise.

A Grassroots Movement at Wyatt Community Center

Pickleball, a sport that merges elements of different racket and paddle sports, found its roots at the Wyatt Community Center in Chattanooga. Peggy Douglas, a dedicated player, and Tennessee Senior Olympics participant, highlights the sport’s dual benefits of exercise and enjoyment.

I’m 72 years old, so I need to work out, but this is like working out and having a blast. Not only is it a lot of fun, but we’re such a tight community, and it’s all because of Kelly, I’m tellin’ ya.”-(peggy)

The Catalyst: Kelly Price

Kelly Price, an ex employee of Chattanooga’s Parks and Recreation Department for 34 years, played a crucial role in the sport’s local growth. She also served with the Tennessee Senior Olympics (TSO) for an equal duration. In 2008, the TSO asked her to hold a pickleball workshop in Chattanooga. Despite not knowing how to play at the time, Price quickly learned and embraced the sport. Boo Mullinax, a player who learned pickleball from Price over a decade ago, credits her with his introduction to the game.

Kelly taught me this game, and I think it’s been about 13 years,” – (Boo Mullinax)


Woman Who Brought Pickleball to Chattanooga

Expanding the Reach

Bart Brannon, another Tennessee Senior Olympics participant, speaks to Price’s significant impact.

Pickleball became such a large part of the Senior Olympics that it was being conducted in Franklin, Tennessee, at three separate locations. Kelly volunteered the city of Chattanooga to host it for the entire group.“-(bart)

This move solidified Chattanooga’s place in the pickleball community, further demonstrating Price’s dedication and influence.

More Than Just a Game

Kelly Price’s connection to pickleball extends beyond the sport itself. “It makes you kind of feel like a kid again. You get to hit something, laugh with your friends, and play at your own level while getting exercise. Everybody here I’ve met through pickleball has been friends for many, many years.” Price’s emotional response when asked about her pickleball family reflects the deep bonds formed through the sport. “My dad had dementia, and they all just kept me underneath their wings. That’s part of what I love about the sport—how it brings so many people together.

Through Price’s efforts, pickleball has become more than a recreational activity in Chattanooga; it’s a community that supports and uplifts its members, expanding the great impact one person can have on a city’s sporting culture.

Pickleball in Chattanooga

Pickleball has found a growing community in Chattanooga, boasting a total of 8 locations equipped with 26 courts dedicated to the sport. Of these, 5 venues offer 14 indoor courts, while 4 locations provide 12 outdoor courts.

Locations for Pickleball Play in Chattanooga

  1. Signal Mountain Town Gymnasium
  2. Downtown Family YMCA
  3. North Chattanooga Community Center
  4. Frances B. Wyatt Community Center
  5. Brainerd Crossroads-BX
  6. Standifer Gap Park
  7. Lookout Valley High School
  8. Batter’s Place Pickleball

News in Brief: Woman Who Brought Pickleball to Chattanooga

Kelly Price played a pivotal role in introducing and growing pickleball in Chattanooga. Her dedication to the sport through her work with Chattanooga’s Parks and Recreation Department and the Tennessee Senior Olympics has left a lasting impact. Starting with a workshop in 2008, she quickly embraced and taught the game, contributing significantly to its popularity. Her efforts helped establish Chattanooga as a key location for pickleball, creating a tight-knit community. Price’s story demonstrates how one person’s passion and commitment can transform a sport into a beloved community activity, providing fun, exercise, and social connections for all ages.

Also Read: The Sport of Pickleball Explodes in North Bay



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