Mark Guion is bringing a new sport to Mint Hill: paddle tennis.

Mark Guion explains paddle ten- nis at the demonstra- tion at the park on Wilgrove, October 14. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

Paddle tennis is a variation of its classic namesake, played with wooden paddles, a deadened ball, a smaller court, and a shorter net.

Guion, a resident of Mint Hill, discovered the game while on vacation in Venice Beach, California, started playing, and “absolutely loved it.”

Upon returning to Mint Hill, Guion couldn’t find any courts in the area, but started to play at the Park on Wilgrove, marking off

the smaller courts from the regular tennis courts.

Today, Guion is working to replace the old, unused basketball court at the park with two paddle tennis courts, circulating a petition, which has more than 300 signatures.

The goals were removed from the court years ago, the asphalt is weathered and cracked, and the dimensions are ideal for two paddle tennis courts.

Guion has been in contact with town commissioners and lions club and will be presenting the proposal to the parks and recreation committee at its November 13 meeting.

According to Guion, there are no paddle tennis courts in the area, and the United States Paddle Tennis Association has shown interest in coming to the Charlotte area to host clinics and promote the game.

“I’d love for Mint Hill to be the place where people would have to come to play,” Guion said. “If anybody knows of or wants to try it out, they would have to come here, because there is nowhere else available.”

Guion is optimistic about the success of the proposal, based on the interest and feedback from the community.

Mark Guion hopes Mint Hill will become a new paddle tennis location for enthusiasts of the sport.

“The amount of people I’ve talked to, the number of signatures I’m getting, the level of interest from those folks, I think there’s a pretty good shot,” Guion said.

Guion hosted a demonstration of the sport at the park on Wilgrove Sunday, October 14, explaining the game and showing attendees how to play.

Tom Campbell, a resident of Matthews, attended the demonstration, and while he has never played paddle tennis before Sunday, he supports replacing the basketball court with paddle tennis courts.

“I think it’s pretty cool. I’ve never played it before and don’t know much about it,” Campbell said. “Today I’ve learned about it and it seems like a really cool sport and it would be something neat to have here at this park.”

Guion lists the benefits that paddle tennis courts could bring to the Mint Hill area on the proposal, including drawing visitors to the area, offering a new game that is easy to play for all ages, revitalizing the park on Wilgrove, and bringing national exposure to Mint Hill.

A petition is going around for those interested in bringing a court to Mint Hill. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

“There are probably two things that I want out of this: I want Mint Hill to be the place to offer paddle tennis-I want people to have to come to Mint Hill if they want to play paddle tennis,” Guion said, “The other thing is that I want a place to play paddle tennis.”

For more information, visit minthillpaddletennis .com.