How did I get into this pickle anyway?

Curiosity killed the cat…or in this case, the septuagenarian.

Just a few of months ago, after finishing one of my rip-snorting workouts (OK, maybe more like rip-snoring workouts), I was walking past the gym on my way out. Hearing the unmistakable sound of ball meeting paddle, plus loud exhortations from what must have been participants, I popped my head in to observe the commotion. Little did I know that what I was about to witness would become my next obsession.

PB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PickleBall. Yes, I said PickleBall. Rather than trying to explain the vagaries of this unusually named, but exciting sport, I will leave it to the more knowledgeable among us, at this site http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2KNhIgOkXM.

Anyway, no sooner did I duck my head in the door than a very friendly lady walked over (we’ll call her Chris, mainly because that’s her name), smiled and said, “here’s a paddle, follow me.” Thus began a delightful relationship with some of the nicest (and most competitive) folks I have ever met. I was quickly inserted into a game (feeling much like Daniel in the lion’s den) and from there the deal was sealed. Though I had been out of tennis for years due to bad knees, I thought this would be child’s play in comparison.

I soon found I was in the wrong playpen. After my aging body was quickly reintroduced to what a hard floor and wall feel like, I realized the recipe for success in this sport is large portions of finesse with only a pinch of machismo. Those envisioned moments of Nadal-like crowd-pleasing overhead slams morphed quickly into embarrassing whiffs in front of my new-found companions. While they offered words of encouragement like “good try” or “you’ll get the hang of it”,  I could swear I heard muffled chortling in the background.

And believe me, gender makes no difference in the outcome. There are usually more women than men on any given day and as often as not, women will prevail over men (much like life in general, except, of course, that in real life women always prevail). I suspect they are using sports psychology and imagining the ball is their husband, but that is pure conjecture at this point.

I’m somewhat past the embarrassment stage now and even occasionally look like I know what I’m doing. But the upshot of this is that a dream was answered. I have played almost every ball sport imaginable since my youth, but sadly, as my inexorable march toward decrepitness plays out, I have had to give up nearly all of them. Suddenly, along comes PickleBall to reawaken the sleeping inner child. Only this time, it’s no classrooms and all recess!

PickleBall. Try it. It’s a “dilly.”

Your serve.

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28 thoughts on “How did I get into this pickle anyway?

  1. Pingback: From obsession to addiction ….it’s a short trip. | The Cvillean

  2. Here in Snowbird Land, Pickleball is very popular. They say it is a sport that grandchildren can play with their grandparents. It is true, though my grandchildren have suggested I work on my skills for a year or two before they even bother to step on the court with me again…

  3. This is brilliant. I think I might enjoy it myself. I have recently been introduced to the select world of ‘dodgy knees’ and have had to decline invitations to become involved in kick boxing and other viperous sports, but this might be the chance to display my underarm spin shot, which I has been in the attic for an embarrassing number of years

    1. Since kick boxing fame is out of the question, get the rust out of that devastating spin shot and we’ll team up and tour the pickleball world as the “Bash Brothers.”

  4. Steve Foster

    I have seen the oldsters at our club wacking it as well. Not quite ready to try it yet but who knows what the future may hold? Decrepitude leads to ineptitude maybe. I did play some volleyball until a few years ago noting that my vertical jump on spikes had gone from say 24″ to 2.4″ — hardly enough time for an arm swing. But I was still a purist and couldn’t get comfortable with the jungle ball, company picnic style of play

    1. Hi Steve. Agree with you on the purity of sport. If I can’t be a “player” in the real sense, I’d just as soon not participate. As for my vertical jump, I’m the poster boy for “white men can’t jump.” People always used to see my height and say “You can dunk, right?” One look at my face and they immediately knew the answer.

      You should really try the pickle ball. It’s an absolute hoot.

  5. I wondered where you were. Now I know…you have a new obsession. I was trying to discern if you were one of the fellows in the photo. Certainly not the guy with the red paddle.

    David is longing to get back on the tennis court and destroy his other knee. Meanwhile I fell over his tennis shoes which he left in the foyer, and twisted my knee. We had a row, which ended with his shoes in the trash can (he did it, not me). So much for the inner and outer child at our house. Dianne

    PS At the moment he is cleaning his room.

  6. Cindy B

    Isn’t it comical? I’ve seen it played at both senior centers, as well as outdoors on tennis courts (with different lines taped on or something). The instructor at one place said it began at The Villages in Florida, a couple of years ago. That figures. Have fun, Al…!

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