By Ellyn Laub
These days my self improvement goals have nothing to do with weight loss (although that’s always on my agenda) or needing to work out more. Not getting enough exercise isn’t the problem. Just the opposite. What I need this year is to find a cure for what ails me … my addiction to Pickleball that insidiously crept up on me. All it took was just one “hit” and I was hooked. Powerless over its seduction. Actually, it captured my husband Jeff a while before I’d lost all control. Whether you’d call it Pickle-itis, Pickle Pox or Picklemania, it seems we’ve both been bitten by the bug. He doesn’t care, but I’m truly worried.
What on earth is Pickleball, you might ask? Well it’s this totally fun game that’s sweeping the nation. You can play indoors or outside on kind of miniature tennis courts (four can fit on a tennis court). It’s played with paddles made from composite material like graphite that are used to hit wiffle balls. Usually played in doubles, you might say it’s a cross between tennis and ping pong.
For us, it began a few years back with silver sneakers … the Silver Sneakers program that accompanied our Medicare Advantage plan. It entitled us to free membership at our community center, which was beginning to offer lessons in this new activity at the time. I’d heard of the game before and had seen people play it outdoors at my community of Wynmoor, in Coconut Creek where we have a vibrant Pickleball club. Taking a walk one day, I heard a strange click, click, click sound coming from the racquet center. And like an Eloi summoned by Morlocks in HG Wells’ “Time Machine”, I experienced an instant attraction to the sport. During the hot summer months we started playing indoors but then Jeff began to play outdoors too. And each morning like a little boy, he’ll stick his head out the window to see if it’s raining. “Oh, goody, I can go out to play.” I finally went down to our outdoor courts myself and the seduction was instantaneous. It grabbed on to me like a vise (and a vice). I can’t stop thinking about it, even as I try to fall asleep each night, replaying shots in my head. I’m beginning to wonder if I might need to go to Pickleball rehab in order to detox. But no such place exists. Especially during these times when we’re sheltered at home. In my condo, with its indoor patio. All I can think to do is hit back and forth in the foyer on the tile floor with Jeff or hit against my indoor patio wall. Do you think my downstairs neighbors would mind?
But one day I know we’ll be able to play again. And there are more places to play every day, indoors and out. Not only in private communities but at numerous public facilities in cities throughout the country. To find one near you and learn more about this great pastime, just go to http://www.usapa.org/places-to-play-pickleball/. Let’s all play Pickleball every day! One day soon, please.