Bill would name Washington State’s official sport pickleball

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The burgeoning sport was invented on Bainbridge Island in 1965.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Alaska has sled dogs. California has the surf. Washington State may soon have pickleball as an official sport.

State senators heard public testimony about SB 5615 Wednesday morning.

Three Washington men are credited with inventing the sport on Bainbridge Island in 1965; Bill Bell, Barney McCallum and Joel Pritchard.

While not busy inventing what is believed to be the fastest growing sport in the world, Pritchard has also served the state as a former U.S. Congressman, State Senator and Lieutenant Governor of Washington.

Ten people testified in an online hearing before senators on Wednesday, all testifying in favor of the decision.

“It’s time for our state to give the founders of pickleball credit for creating a global sport that touches so many people,” said Kate Van Gent, Mill Creek, who reached out to her district Sen. John Lovick about of the idea.

Lovick, the lead sponsor of the potential law, defended the bill against those who wonder if lawmakers could make better use of their time.

“Sometimes we have to do just fun things,” Lovick said.

If the bill passes the Senate, it is returned to the House. If Representatives pass it, it would head to Governor Jay Inslee’s office for potential signing and ratification.

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