Where do Old Tennis Players Go? To PickleBall of course!


Pickleball Court
Pickleball Court

Have you ever heard of PickleBall?

Years ago, before I became a Senior myself, I encountered this interesting sport, for the first time, in a Campground in Palm Desert California.

We had pulled into our campsite the afternoon before after a long trek there from Mesa Arizona. After setting up our RV and site, we had a quiet dinner and hit the sack, hoping to sleep late and get some much needed rest from our long drive.

Well, it was early morning when I heard a strange sound coming from outside. It sounded like Plock!

It was a strange sound but I laid back down, counting on another hour or so of sleep when: Plock! Plock!Plock!

The strange noise had my attention now and I looked over at the clock and saw that it was 7:05AM. I shook my head because I knew that whatever the strange noise was, it was allowed by most campgrounds.

You see, almost all campgrounds have a quiet time from 11:00PM and 7:00AM every night for the convenience of their campers. But, after 7:00AM, anything is allowed; games, walking barking dogs, loud conversations, motor noises, whatever.

Accepting the fact that I wasn’t going to get any more sleep, I rolled out of bed and walked to the front of my RV. After I opened my front curtains I saw what the strange noises were coming from. There was a Pickleball court directly across the street from my campsite.

And, I saw that there were a number of other campers lined up around the court watching two senior couples playing this interesting sport.

We ended up camped in that site for three weeks before we moved on to other campgrounds and I eventually realized that this Pickleball game was an organized sport that many seniors were playing around the country, and not just in campgrounds.

As I became more familiar with Picklenall and the players, I realized that someone had come up with a game that was ideal for seniors, especially for those of us who were once active tennis players. And, even with no tennis experience, those of us who had some physical limitations that did not allow us to do the things that we once could are usually able to be competitive in this Pickleball game.

First of all, the standard Pickleball court is smaller than a Tennis court, being only 20×44 feet in overall size. It even uses a tennis court net that is hung a couple of inches lower than on a tennis court.

The ball is served underhand only which reduces those old tennis players who took joy in their “power serves”. The Paddles used are hard and flat and the ball used is a small version of a wiffle ball.  These requirements also dramatically reduce the speed of the ball and allow people to play at a less stressful pace.

Official equipment for Pickleball players can usually be purchased at your local sports outlets, and there are a number of sites on the web such as Pickleball.com, who sell equipment at reasonable pricing.

This game is very popular and has state, national and even international organizations who regulate the rules and official tournaments that held around the world.

Looking down at my growing beer belly, I guess I need to pick up a couple of paddles and a few balls myself.

by Don Bobbitt, 2013

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