Pickleball has been around for decades, said Sandy McGrew, director of the Parks and Recreation of Denham Springs Fitness Center, but it only came to Livingston Parish in the past few years, she said.

The sport, played on a court with a badminton net and oversized pingpong paddles, is popular with seniors nationwide, though McGrew laughed at the idea that it’s an easy, low-impact sport.

Not in Livingston Parish, at least.

“We have several retired firefighters who are — how shall I put this — extremely competitive,” she said with a laugh. Though she and her husband are both in good shape, she said, the regular players beat them soundly and left them exhausted at the end of the night.

The group makes for some lively Monday mornings at the fitness center, she said.

Pickleball games are ongoing every Monday and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to noon, she said, and every Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“On Friday evenings, we have a wide range of ages playing, so it’s a less-competitive family environment. Mondays and Wednesdays are for the serious players,” she said.

Friday evening participation can dip in the summer, McGrew said, because many families are on vacation.

Pickleball open play is offered at no charge for PARDS Fitness and Aquatics Center members, McGrew said, though nonmembers pay a small guest fee to play. Games are held in the basketball gym of the center.

According to the website www.usapa.org, pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, an island located near Seattle, by three fathers, Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum, for their children, who complained that they were bored with their summer activities.

For more information, call the PARDS Fitness and Aquatics Center at (225) 664-8099.