"The game is the game. The game is fun. You can travel anywhere in the country with it and pick up a paddle and show up and people are gonna welcome you in and play," said Bill Kuerz, the president of the Klamath Basin Pickleball Association and volunteer instructor teaching the basics of the sport to a group of EagleRidge High School students. 

At a class on Wednesday inside Mike's Fieldhouse, over a dozen highschoolers played alongside several other local avid pickleballers — including Cec Amuchestegui, the former superintendent of Klamath Falls City Schools — as the students learned serving and other basics of the game. 

"I try to make it as interactive as possible and educational," said Kuerz, an experienced educator who was an instructional pilot in the Air Force and has also taught in high schools and prison. "Not just pickleball. You know what I mean? Life skills."

Kuerz said the goal is to both give the kids an opportunity to be active but also pick up a game that is growing in popularity and in the number of locations where it can be played locally. There are permanent courts at Steen Sports Park and around the county. A list can be found at kbpickleball.com.

Next week, the association is also hosting a tournament at Henley High School to raise money for Klamath Falls families who have children with cancer. According to the association's website, the Paddling for Childhood Cancer Tournament begins September 24 at 8 a.m.