It’s Pickleball Mania! Play Your Best Wearing the Right Eye Protection

Pickleball DoublesWhat?! You’ve never heard of pickleball? Then clearly you fall somewhere between too young (under 55) and too old (over 15). If that’s you, you’re missing out! Because although pickleball has been around for nearly 50 years, it’s finally enjoying its moment in the sun as the popular and exciting sport topping the recreational charts at opposite ends of the age spectrum: kids and active seniors.

Pickleball can best be described as a fun, fast, and quirky combo of tennis, ping pong, and badminton. It’s played inside or out on any hard surface at least the size of a badminton court (20′×44′). A net, similar to tennis, is mounted 36” high on the ends and 34” in the middle; and a large wooden paddle, resembling something Paul Bunyan might need for a ping pong match, is used to volley a special polymer wiffle ball back and forth over the net.


A History Almost as Fun as the Game Itself

Pickleball was invented during the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island by Joel Pritchard, then Washington State congressman, and his two friends, William Bell and Barney McCallum. The three returned from golf to a yard full of bored kids. Unable to find any birdies for badminton, the men scrounged up a wiffle ball, lowered the net, and cut out over-sized paddles from discarded plywood.

Watching the men improvise a game made from leftover scraps, Joel’s wife, Joan Pritchard, said it reminded her of the sport of crew’s “pickle boat”, the boat in which the team of oarsmen are made up from the leftovers of the other boats. Unfortunately instead, an erroneous — but ever-popular — story is told today, which claims the game was named after the family dog. In this misconstrued version, the wiffle ball belonged to Pickles the dog, who would chase after errant shots and then run off with it. It’s said that “Pickles’ Ball” morphed into “pickleball”. It’s a good story, but the truth is that the Pritchard family didn’t even own a dog until 1967 and actually named the dog after their personally-invented favorite family sport. Joan Pritchard attempted to correct the inaccurate story in later interviews, but this version persists nonetheless.


The Popularity of Pickleball

Pickleball For The Whole FamilyChildren and seniors are particularly attracted to pickleball because of it’s accessibility. First, the speed of the ball typically moves at about one-third the speed of a tennis ball; and second, the size of the court is about one-third of the area of a tennis court. These two factors make pickleball much easier to play.

The game’s popularity in retirement communities is due in part to its lack of stress on the body. The smaller court requires far less lateral movement than tennis, and when playing doubles, players have only one small area to protect, rather than running back and forth to defend a large space. The game is also easy on the wrists. The lightweight wiffle ball pops off the hard wooden paddle, so even the lightest tap sends the ball over the net, negating any strain on the joints. According to Ted Robbins of National Public Radio, pickleball has inspired many players to petition that it become part of the Senior Olympics.


Pickleball Equipment

A paddle ($10 to $80), a dozen balls ($12 to $25), and a net (if needed: $60 to $200) are the three basic pieces of equipment essential to the game, but they are no more important than proper eye protection, especially considering the game’s popularity as an outdoor sport for children and seniors:


How to Play Pickleball

As seen in this YouTube video, a physical education teacher introduces the game of pickleball played with either 2 or 4 players. The ball is served underhand, diagonally, starting from the right-hand side of the court to the opponent’s serve zone. Points may only be scored by the serving side and occur when the opponent fails to return ball, hits it out of bounds, etc.. The server continues, alternating serving zones, until they flub. The first side to eleven points, ahead by at least two, wins.

When your pickleball game is good enough to try some advanced moves, this funny YouTube video featuring Dirty Dick and Halo Herb will demonstrate a few trick shots you’ll definitely want to work into your game!


Give Pickleball a Go!

So get out there with your friends and grandchildren and try something new this spring and summer! Take the fastest-growing sport in the country for a spin, and remember to wear your eye protection for sun and safety while enjoying the fun of camaraderie, fresh air, and exercise.

Oakley M Frames Pass More than Lab Tests — They Pass Pavement Tests


Oakley M-Frame Saves Eye

Erik's injuries while serious could have been worse. Oakley M-Frames saved his right eye. (Image from

Safety Glasses USA has always been a huge fan of Oakley eyewear, and we do our best to spread the word about the amazing quality and protection offered by Oakley. However, unlike cyclist Eric Koff, we stop sort of sacrificing our own bodies to make the point of just how fantastic Oakley products really are. So Erik, we owe you our most sincere thanks and gratitude for putting your personal pair of Oakley M Frames to the ultimate, real-world test, and sacrificing your pretty face in the process.

Here’s what poor Erik endured for the educational benefit of the rest of us a few weeks ago on his bike ride through Southern California: “We were going about twenty to twenty-five miles an hour when multiple spokes broke on my front wheel, locking the wheel,” he says. “When that happened I went head-first over the handlebars, literally driving the right side of my face into the ground.” Read the full story here.

After being diagnosed with a concussion, a broken nose, sinus fractures, a shattered cheekbone, and major damage to the orbital bone of his right eye, what Eric didn’t suffer was a fractured skull or severe corneal or retinal lacerations — in fact, he sustained no eye damage at all. “I am truly thankful for two pieces of equipment: my helmet and my Oakley M Frames,” Eric says. “Lesser lenses could have broken, possibly injuring my eye. But these lenses took the full force of the pavement and stayed intact, protecting my eye. Prior to my accident I was well aware that Oakley had impact protection, but I had no idea that they would have held up to a 25 mph impact.”

We salute you Eric, and wish you fast healing for the part you played in proving that the time and engineering Oakley invests in the impact protection of every pair of lenses is justified and more than worthwhile. Oakley’s commitment to high-mass, high-speed impact testing ensures their lenses hold up exactly as designed in precisely the kind of real-world scenario Eric Koff experienced.

Oakley M Frame Sunglasses: The Choice of Pros

Oakley M-Frame Lens Scratches From Pavement

Oakley M-Frame lenses scratched from impact with pavement. (Image from

While some may continue to believe that you’re really only paying for the name, the rest of us let the facts speak for themselves: Oakley is unmatched within the industry for their research, technology, and quality. While only the Industrial M-Frame and SI M-Frame boast the Z87.1 stamp for safety compliance, all Oakley models are tested to exceed the most stringent high velocity impact tests of the American National Standards Institute. In addition, all Oakley lenses block 100% of harmful UVA,UVB, and UVC rays. Professional athletes and sports enthusiasts of all stripes know that these design details — including Oakley’s precision aligned, pure Plutonite® lenses and their perfectly balanced 3-point frames — provide the best optical clarity and protection money can buy.

And in the highly competitive world of athletics, where visual distortion can dramatically impact performance, the pros don’t take chances. Oakley M Frames deliver their unsurpassed clarity using High Definition Optics (HDO) and precision lens geometry in all five interchangeable shapes. The hinged frame offers the comfort of their perfect three-point fit, and their selection of accessories are  vital in the competitive arena.

If your favorite sport is of the let’s-get-down-and-dirty variety that requires streak-free vision, certain Oakley lenses offer special Hydrophobic™ and oleophobic coatings designed to repel dust, mud, water, oils, fingerprints, and lotions. Many lenses are also polarized for the ultimate comfort and protection in bright sunlight.

Customized Oakleys: Build Your Perfect Pair!

Don’t see the combination of features you need in the style you’re looking for? Tell us! We’ll get them for you! We can help you build a pair of custom Oakley sunglasses from a wide variety of styles, with the features you want, in your favorite colors, and even engrave your lenses for the perfect personalized touch. Our friendly, expert staff is here to help Monday-Friday, 8AM-7PM EST at 800-870-6189.

So lastly, again, from all of us here at Safety Glasses USA, happy healing Eric Koff! Hope to see you back out on your bike wearing a new pair of Oakley M Frames real soon!

The Best of Safety Glasses USA 2011! Part II

2011 Safety Glasses USA Blog Posts

2011 provided many informative articles about products, safety tips, new announcements and more.

If you missed last week’s post, The Best of of Safety Glasses USA 2011 Part I recapped January through August’s insightful and helpful safety advise and product reviews.  This week, we’ll remember the best posts of the fall and winter months. 

September: This was one of the most exciting months of the year for Safety Glasses USA!  We were honored with the 2011 Bizrate® Circle of Excellence Platinum Award for exceptional customer service and our user-friendly website!  And if this weren’t enough, we couldn’t have been more proud to share the story and pictures from the Danville, PA, Montour Area Fire Department’s 2nd Annual Fire Safety Day Camp for kids, where we supplied fifty pairs of children’s safety glasses.

Add in eight more fantastic posts, and September was a spectacular month!  Warnings about how eye injuries can occur any time, any place were followed by a tutorial on how to handle eye emergencies when they do occur.  Then we were taught how it’s possible to actually maintain and improve eye health — especially important when extra-bright fall commutes into the morning and evening sun make driving a challenge.  Advice about Airsoft survival tactics and fall yard safety were also served up, along with outstanding reviews of the new Bolle Safety Glasses and Goggles and the amazing Pyramex I-Force Convertible Safety Goggles/Safety Glasses.

October: The perfect month for 13 amazing posts! Maybe you missed one?  Here’s your chance to check them out:

November: The spirit and the fun of the holidays were definitely on the minds of our writers this month!  Want to know how to safely deep fry a turkey while wearing your ANSI Z87.1-2010 Certified Safety Glasses?  Or which lens tints in your skiing sunglasses will serve you best on the slopes this season?  What about if you want to work off a few of those Christmas cookies with some mixed martial arts?  Then you definitely want to look the part in a pair of TAPOUT® Sunglasses — rather than cheap sunglasses that end up costing you more in the long run.  But no matter what activities you participate in outdoors this winter, don’t skip wearing sunglasses all together.  Brands like Oakley offer superior UV protection from wintertime glare, as well as eye protection, especially when decorating and working with lights and electricity this holiday season.  Then there’s the perpetual question of what to put under the tree each year?  Thankfully, here are five great suggestions for safe and healthy gifts!  And finally, November offered you not one, but two posts on the safe wear of contact lenses in the workplace or industrial environment.

December: Yes, it’s dark out there.  And getting darker every day.  So we want you to stay safe and visible in the fading light of winter whether you’re working outside or trying to get your exercise in.  Or, perhaps snowmobiling is higher on your list of priorities than outside running.  If so, don’t underestimate how much more fun sledding is while wearing a great pair of snowmobile goggles.  But no matter what kind of glasses or goggles you’re wearing this winter, it’s important to take good care of them.  “10 Good Habits for Safety Glasses Maintenance” will show you how.

And remembering that it’s always better to give than to receive, Safety Glasses USA Gift Certificates are now available!  Give the gift of safety to everyone you love this holiday season.

With a few blogs still left to post this year, the great tips and information aren’t quite over for 2011, but we certainly hope we’ve whet your appetite for all the valuable safety information to come in 2012!

Happy Holidays from Safety Glasses USA!