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Bill would name pickleball official Washington state sport

The growing sport was invented on Bainbridge Island in 1965.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Alaska has dog-mushing. California has surfing. Washington state could soon have pickleball as its official sport.

State senators heard public testimony on 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's thought to be the fastest-growing sport in the world, Pritchard also served the state as a former U.S. Congressman, a state senator, and Washington’s Lt. Governor.

Ten people testified in an online hearing before senators Wednesday, all of the testimony was in favor of the move.

”It is time our state gave pickleball founders credit for creating a global sport impacting so many people,” said Kate Van Gent, Mill Creek, who contacted her district’s senator, John Lovick, about the idea.

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

”Sometimes we need to do things that are just fun,” said Lovick.

If the bill passes out of the Senate, it moves to the House. If Representatives pass it, it would head to Governor Jay Inslee’s desk for his potential signature and ratification.

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