After all the Christmas dinners were finished, I met up with some high school friends for some local Connecticut bar wind-down drinks. My friend Jared and I decided that we ought to stop by and play some paddle afterwards. About 2:45AM and about 21 degrees out.
For those unfamiliar with paddle, officially known as “platform tennis”, is specifically designed to be played in cold weather — the snow and ice.
More from from the APTA (American Platform Tennis Association):
The Court: The game is played on an elevated aluminum deck 1/4 the size of a regulation tennis court The court is surrounded by a 12′ high superstructure with taut, 16-gauge “chicken wire” fencing which allows playoff the walls, as in racquetball and squash. The base of a platform tennis court is usually enclosed, allowing for a heating system beneath the deck (propane, natural gas or kerosene.) The heating system melts ice off the aggregate deck surface, allowing athletes to play outdoors in all weather conditions. Most courts have lighting systems for nighttime play.
The Rules: Rules of the game are identical to tennis with a few exceptions: only one serve, serves that touch the net are played, and what many consider the best thing about platform tennis – the ball can be played off the screened walls.
The Name of the Game: Players often refer to platform tennis as “paddle,” as in “Are you playing paddle tonight?” With the re-emergence of paddle tennis on the West Coast (basically, a down-sized game of tennis,) this has many people confused. To further the problem, there is paddle ball (an urban sport played against a single wall) and paddle (much like paddle tennis).