We are pickle ball obsessed. But that’s nothing new to write about really…isn’t everyone? The buzz is all around with BA50s clamoring for court time.  Just last week this New Yorker piece was forwarded to me 6 times by my fellow picklers ….Can Pickle Ball Save America? 

What’s crazy is maybe it is a bit farfetched to think Pickle Ball  Can Save America, but nonetheless,  it has made alot of isolated, sad people who were searching for connection, community and something to feel good about much happier.  It’s a sport that is an anchor for community and connection. And we BA50s –the 55 plus age group, are the fastest growing group of picklers representing 75 Percent of Core Players (those who play more than 8 times a year.) 

For those of you who say I can’t start something new, I’m too old…forget about that. You can!

I have never started a sport that I learned so quickly and was able to see improvement on as well so who doesn’t love that?  Oh and what about that I get to play it with my husband. It’s something we can play together and even play with other couples even though we are at different levels.

I remember the first time we tried pickle ball, we were in Florida at a winter rental and our fantastic neighbors taught us how to play. Every other day we would meet them on the court and smack the ball around and by our 4th session we were in some wildly competitive matches. Every Sunday, there were at least 8 players ready to jump in and it became a great way to connect with out new neighbors.

I have to say, it was bit alarming when Covid hit, March 2020, and to my mind,  my husband chose to risk his life for pickle ball. Remember when we washed our grocery bags? Well we were also told we could get Covid from the pickle ball and I believed it. Our neighbors wore gloves in the 80 degree heat so as not to get Covid from the balls. I wasn’t convinced the gloves would help, so, I stopped playing but not my pickle obsessed husband and not our 75 year old neighbors who were not giving up a season of pickle ball for Covid. It was clearly worth the risk for all of them but not me.

Ok so I was wrong. I missed out on that month of pickle ball. None of them got Covid from playing and I was marooned in my apartment washing grape bags and pasta boxes. Oy Vey!

Fast forward, but not so fast and it’s now Summer 2022. Last year we cleared out some hideous shrubs on the side of our property that were being strangled by vines and thorns and other invasives and suddenly there appeared something we hadn’t seen in forever on the side of our house…OPEN SPACE.

So we did what all pickle obsessed people do, we measured it. Yup, we could fit a court on that spot. And so we did.  We questioned our own sanity, I mean we could go down the street and play on some hard tennis courts but we were giddy with our new project.  And so we built it and it’s been the best home improvement we have ever done.

This summer we are in full swing (pardon the metaphor), and loving having our friends over for games. Frankly, it  truly is way better than planting another failed vegetable garden or a money sucking lawn that is bad for the environment.

And even when our kids visit, unlike tennis where our differing levels make it hard for all to play — pickle is all inclusive. Beginners on up are smashing and dinking and laughing and drinking with music humming in the background.

If you think we are nuts — you gotta read the piece I mentioned above,  Can Pickle Ball Save America in the July New Yorker. It says it all.  And, if you haven’t picked up a racket, what are you waiting for?

Here’s what you need to get started.

Pickleball set

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