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The Linfield Review

The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

McMinnville Pickleball Club welcomes Linfield students

Riley Omonaka


Yes. The sport often associated with the likes of retirees and those who are not good enough to play tennis, has claimed me as its latest devout follower.  

For those of you that do not know what pickleball is, essentially it is a version of tennis played on a smaller court, with a hard-plastic wiffle ball and a paddle instead of a racket and a traditional tennis-ball. 

After being introduced to pickleball sometime last spring, the game has found its way into my life, and made a home in my weekly routine.  

Most mornings, before the sun even peaks above the eastern horizon line, I wake up and get ready to head to the pickleball courts, just a four-minute drive from the Linfield campus. With me in the car every morning is my girlfriend, who has also been bitten by the pickleball bug.  

In a neighborhood just north of Linfield lies six pickleball-designated courts, hiding at the base of looming fir trees. Most mornings when we arrive, there is not a soul on the courts, we can still see our breath in cold fall morning air, and the echoes of our voices bounce off of the tall trees surrounding us. After roughly 45 minutes of playing, we pack up our paddles and balls and head back to campus for classes.  

But this is not a story simply about our experience playing the game. This is a story about the community we have joined through picking up the game.  

Founded in 2019, The McMinnville Pickleball Club has created an atmosphere where there is a “door is always open” vibe for prospective pickleball players in Yamhill County. As Annie and I arrive around 7 a.m. each morning, there is always a group of members who start to play just behind us at 7:30 a.m.  

Their mission statement says it all:  

“It all starts with a dream: a dream to be healthy, a dream to be strong, a dream to be fast, a dream to be at our best. At Mac Pickleball Club, we’ve been making dreams come true since our beginning. Our club provides an outstanding environment for athletes of all levels and abilities. Whether you’re a novice or an aspiring pro, reach your potential with Mac Pickleball Club.” 

As ironic as it is, words cannot explain how much Annie and I have been welcomed into the McMinnville pickleball community with open arms. We have befriended the players who are the “leaders” of the club, been invited to club events, to club dinners and even into some of their homes.  

As two relative beginners to the game, having the amazing experience that we have had, only strengthens the love and desire to continue playing the game.  

McMinnville is not the only town where someone could experience this type of environment.  

Back home, I played a few times at our local Eugene Family YMCA, where I experienced the same thing with the regular pickleball players there. I was instantly welcomed onto the court and embraced into their own little pickleball family. Like McMinnville, the same can be said for Eugene.  

Whether it is pickleball, or any other activity that students participate in outside of campus, there is always a group of people out there, waiting to embrace newcomers as one of their own.  

Yes. Even if it is pickleball.  

If you are interested in more information about pickleball, click here for more: 



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About the Contributors
JJ Anderson
JJ Anderson, Photographer
JJ comes to Linfield from Marist Catholic High School in Eugene, Oregon, where he was involved in journalism for three years. During his senior year, he was the Sports Editor and received Top in Merit for Journalism in his graduating class. He intends to major in sports management down the road. In his free time, JJ enjoys being outside, playing sports and hanging out with friends.
Riley Omonaka
Riley Omonaka, Editor-In-Chief
Riley is a senior from Renton, Wash. She is double majoring in biology and journalism and media studies. In addition to working for The Linfield Review, Riley is a member of the Linfield women’s soccer team and participates in research through the Biology Department.
Riley’s favorite part of working for The Linfield Review is meeting and writing about different people.

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