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The History of Platform Tennis

How can tennis be played in the winter? Outside? In the cold? As it snows?

So asked a group of men in 1928 during the long, cold winter in Scarsdale, NY. Need led to ingenuity and  a wooden court,  platformed above ground was developed.  The size of the court was approximately one-quarter the size of a tennis court and was fitted with a tennis-like net.

All was good until the ball kept bouncing out of play and inevitably was buried in the deep snow. Thus was fashioned a taut, wire fence that enclosed the court.  With the wire enclosure, an essential part of the game was born: playing off the wires.

A paddle racquet was designed; it looks like a large ping pong paddle with holes in it. A squishy ball (a bit bigger than squash balls) that grows hard in the cold was made.  Rules similar to tennis were developed and -- VOILA --- Platform Tennis was born.

Paddle has grown from that game played in the backyard to hundreds of courts found in country clubs, municipalities and townships.  Although originally enjoyed only by men, it has grown into a sport with leagues and competitions that include women's teams, mixed teams and children's teams.

With the addition of lighted courts, it is played day and night by over 16,000 people in the US.  Today, there is a governing association, American Platform Tennis Association (APTA) and national competitions.

 CAUTION:  During recreational play, many participants have found that Paddle is best played with a beer.

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