The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Rise of Pickleball in Erie

How the sport has taken Erie and the entire country by storm

Having quickly become America’s fastest-growing sport, pickleball is taking the entire country by storm.  

Not only is the sport gaining popularity and credibility on a national level, but with Westwood Racquet Club having seven dedicated courts for pickleball, and Baldwin Park having five, the effects of the rapid growth of this sport are being felt in the local Erie community as well. 

Brandon Mackie, co-founder of Pickleheads, believes that the growth in popularity can be attributed in part to the same reason he fell in love with the sport— how easy the game is to pick up, “…that just wasn’t true with tennis. If you didn’t have the technical background, it wouldn’t be fun to play against me. But with pickleball, it was more universal, and it just became a big part of my social life.”  

Pickleheads is an online database that people can use to find pickleball courts across the country. It keeps track of the different places where pickleball courts are located, and how many courts are located at those locations, and allows users to create groups of people to play together.  

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Mackie says the inspiration behind Pickleheads came from the lack of resources to find reliable places to play and people to play with. “A few years ago, there was no online place to go to find information. Everything was word of mouth, you kind of had to be in the know to find out where the courts were or when the different games were happening, and it was just really hard. I just wanted there to be a place where you could go to find other players and find other games to join.” 

Mackie also says that in their research, they’ve seen as many as 36.5 million people playing the sport in America—making it one of the largest sports in the country. Erie has also seen the impacts of the growth of the sport as well, with there being a 242% increase in court searches on Pickleheads since May.  

Even on Gannon’s campus, the rise in popularity of the sport has been felt. Students and staff alike have all gotten in on the fun of the sport. At any given time, there can be multiple games being played on the basketball courts at the Recreation and Wellness Center. 

With the introduction of professional leagues in the sport, along with the upcoming introduction of the Pickleheads mobile app, Mackie believes that the sport will continue to increase in popularity both nationally and in the Erie community, “We can see no signs of slowing down.” 

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Jonathan Williams, Sports Editor
This semester’s Sports Editor for the Gannon Knight is Jonathan Williams. He is a graduate student from Bamberg, South Carolina pursuing his master's in strategic communications. He graduated with a Bachelor's in English from LaGrange College in 2021, before grad transferring to Gannon last fall. This will be his first time writing for a newspaper; however, he is very excited about this opportunity. Upon graduating in December, he plans to pursue a career in sports journalism. In addition to the paper, Jonathan is a member of Gannon's football team, and was named a PSAC Scholar Athlete for the 22-23 school year. He is also a part of Gannon's radio station: 90.5 WERG. In my downtime, he loves to play the piano, play soccer, and spend time with friends and teammates. Thank you for all of your support with The Gannon Knight!

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