Musings defined: ponderings, reflections, meditations, contemplations.
I aim to share experiences, past and present, with the goal of learning and appreciating what life presents.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Pickleball -- A New Passion

Pickleball – A New Passion

            Ken was the first person I told at church about my latest activity.
            “Pickleball?  What do you do, bat a pickle around?”
            “No, Pickles was the name of the dog that chased the ball when the game was being created in 1967 in California.”
            “So what is it?”
            “It’s the fastest growing sport, in the whole world, I think. (I’d spent over two hours researching this on the internet but facts quickly disappear from my mind these days.)  The game is played on a badminton court, but a little smaller, with a net at the height of a tennis net, with a hard paddle just a little larger than a table tennis paddle, a whiffle ball, and with scoring most similar to badminton.”
            “Who plays?  What makes this game so special?”
            “In the Okanagan Valley most players are 55 plus.  It appeals to people like us because the game isn’t quite as fast as the games it was derived from and it doesn’t cost much.  Paddles are provided at the Peachland Community Center where I play with between ten and eighteen others.  It’s lots of fun.”
            “Give me a phone call because I forget, but I’ll go with you.”

            I’m happy.  I have been looking for something fun to get me off the couch.  Table tennis has been my favourite sport ever since my parents bought a table when I was twelve years old.  Some of those skills are transferring over to this new sport.  The women even congratulate me on a few shots. 
            Every activity has a down side.  This is no exception.  Two weeks ago after my first two hour session of playing pickleball I thought I would never be able to walk down the stairs again – not even to my beloved man-cave where I enjoy my wood burning stove, computer and TV.  I would stop at the top of the stairs to ponder if going down was worth the agony of antagonising my aching muscles.  Thankfully, after two more sessions, the stairs are no more painful than hobbling on the level.  A $70 paddle is on the shopping list.  I’ll play even better.  Do I dare dream of playing with the better players?
            I have no illusions that this new sport will ever be my claim to fame, but it is getting me out of the house having fun instead of getting depressed watching too much TV while  eating chocolate covered peanuts.  I wonder, is pickleball included in the B.C. Games?
            What am I learning from this new burst of activity?  In spite of sore muscles, I feel better emotionally.  Just as I taught people in the Life Skills Program, physical activity is necessary to overcome depression.  Instead of depressing thoughts, I went to bed thinking of the helpful tips I was given by experienced players: don’t stand in the kitchen (the area by the net) or you lose a point, in the dead zone in the middle of the court the ball is difficult to handle it when it lands at your feet so stand forward or back, concentrate on returning the ball instead of any fancy placements or spins, stay back when your partner serves because the ball must bounce when it is returned to your side before you return it the first time, and best of all, “You are playing so well.  Is this really your first time?”
            Amelia, my fitness daughter in Vancouver, will be relieved to know about my activity.  During her Christmas visit she said, “Just as you give us advice for our spiritual well-being, I’m concerned about your physical well-being.”  My wife Carroll is concerned too.  I have to listen to her because she goes to Curves and yoga several times a week.  As soon as my muscles stop protesting we will all be happy. 

The $3 drop in fee at the Peachland Community Center is an average cost.  Takes me 14 minutes to drive there.

The yellow lines mark off four courts.

We play doubles so 16 play at one time.
Those waiting to play rotate in at the end of a game.  First side to win 11 points, with a two point lead, wins.  

I like how everyone rotates their play and partner so we end up playing almost everyone after we've played for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  I usually went three times a week.  

Olive, in yellow, had a hip replacement two years ago.  She has a deceptively strong serve.

The rules of the game and the hollow  plastic ball with holes called a whiffle ball, make for a slower game, suitable for all ages.  I still like to slam the ball though.  In this photo I'm just concentrating on returning the ball.
At the end of the game we all touch paddles as a way of saying, "good game; good fun."


  1. this post has more of a personal side to it; i like it best, in spite of the small print at the end. even the supposed dialogue at the beginning is interesting and let a newb know more about the "sport"

  2. Becca, I appreciate your feedback. Makes me think you like the printed word more than the photos, though one enhances the other. I'm working on remembering dialog and making it more real. On my large computer monitor the small print is not a problem. What did you use to view these postings? I wonder if Ammon looks at this on his smart phone.