By: John Brody
Ambivalence is a very unexciting way to go through life. It means you can’t find anything to get excited about. In that case, you just aren’t trying…to your own detriment. Like many people, I will try anything that seems to flip someone switch. At our ages, however, one must become a little more selective about what is appropriate. I’m not getting on a ten-foot ladder let alone jumping out of an airplane at 8,000 feet. Skateboarding and bungee jumping are also out, but that still leaves a lot on the table. You are never to old to become passionate about something and that is the key. You have to put in the effort to discover things that might thrill your soul. Quite often that involves trial and error. You want a love or hate it moment. A ‘just okay’ experience is not going to cut it. There is no middle ground in Pickleball (except for the kitchen*) and after watching people playing for a few minutes, it becomes obvious that they are having the time of their lives. They can play for hours (body willing). You are lucky if there are several activities in life that can instill a heightened sense of being truly alive. OPC member Fred Merrill is lucky. He is a bike fanatic as well as lover of the game. He rides his bike for a couple of hours in the morning ending up at the courts, plays for a two-hours and then rides home. At nine o’clock in the evening he goes out for a night ride. He spends more time on a bike than that kid in the movie ET. You might call him obsessive which is why we hope he never discovers cake. He is not only in great shape but a genuinely happy guy. Any spectator will quickly see that there is joy on the court. People are excited by the challenge of learning something new and they are doing it as a group. There are no strangers in pickleball and unlike golf it has a social element that emerges right away. There is a lot of chatter and bonding happening on the court. Breaks are filled with conversation and friendships form quickly. The role it plays in our daily lives has been amplified by the pandemic. We have come to dearly appreciate the many ways in which the little yellow ball with the holes provides a couple of hours respite from whatever life has thrown our way. It’s a sanity saver, a therapy session, the fountain of youth with some endorphins thrown in. It’s the best use of plastic since the Frisbee. Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the world and that means there are clubs and courts everywhere filled with even more friends waiting to meet you. But you can start small, just stop by and see us sometime.
*Kitchen- the neutral zone on either side of the net.
New Player Orientation: Arrangements can be made by contacting Nancy Lande at 978-2998 to schedule a session. Demo loaner paddles are available by contacting Doc Savarese at 349-9065.

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