The Addiction of Pickleball

Contributed by Stan Piesla

June 23rd

It’s 9 o’clock on a Saturday – to borrow that lyrical line from Billy Joel – the difference is that it’s 9 AM, not PM, as the song suggests.

Friday night was rainy. Waking up early Saturday morning, the first thing I did was to listen for the sound of rain hitting our bedroom windows. No sounds! Next, I checked the hourly forecast on my weather app a couple of times and then turned on the Weather Channel for a few ‘Local on the 8’s’. Both sources reported the possibility of rain not reentering the picture until noon, and that was only a 40% chance. So far so good! From my office window I checked on the progress of the sidewalk drying. Looking good! Then I sent out a text to a few of my pickleball pals to see if they were going over to a neighboring community to play this morning.

These are the actions of an addicted Pickleballer. I admit that I cannot get enough of this challenging game and also know that I am not alone! You, the reader are probably one too!

I first heard about Pickleball two years ago, prior to the closing on our new home in Delaware. One early September morning, at a local bank, I struck up a conversation with another couple in the waiting area. Then the woman asked of me: “Do you play pickleball?”  In the two minutes before we were called into the bank reps office, I received a quick introduction to the sport, including those comparisons to tennis, ping-pong, badminton, etc. Interesting, I thought, since I had dabbled in playing all those things, at one time or another.

This pickleball Missionary had successfully planted the seed, but it was going to take some time to germinate. Interesting, but quickly forgotten, as we immersed ourselves in the tasks of moving our belongings from the old house, a thousand miles away, to the new and then deal with a sea of boxes, etc., etc. We accomplished less than we wanted to because we were thrilled to be back living near the ocean and took every opportunity that Mother Nature provided for those beautiful Fall bonus beach days.

Then Fall became winter – the holidays passed and January arrived. We figured we now had these next few months before Spring to get it in gear and paint all the rooms and get to all those boxes.

One Friday morning in February, I was catching up on all things local (but mostly looking at the restaurants and weekly specials) in the Coastal Point when I happened upon an article about that sport with the strange name – Pickleball. The article talked about Vaughn Baker and his background and gave some basic information about the sport that was reported to be “taking off” in popularity around the Delmarva and elsewhere. It also extended an invitation to an Introduction to Pickleball session to be held in Sea Colony the following week. My wife, Kate, and I attended and we received some excellent instruction at the session and, the very next day, we went over to the Ocean City Recreation & Parks Indoor Center on 125th Street to test our wings.

The seed germinated that day and its been going and growing ever since!

It was there in Ocean City, that I first met neighbors who, as it turned out, lived very close to me, in my Delaware community. Those friendships and so many more have grown and have gone beyond the pickleball court! We enjoy our games together and all the other times in each others’ company, whether it be at the beach,  a Happy Hour,  a trivia night, a walk on the boardwalk, out fishing or at a Shorebirds game. There are always laughs and smiles, the encouragement and the frequent good natured prodding and heckling, among friends.

You Pickleballers are a very special breed and I am grateful to be among you! See you on the courts.

Oh, by the way, the inside painting is almost done and there are still boxes to unpack. Oh, well, I’ll think about those things on the next rainy day!

Have a fantastic Summer

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