Friday, January 7, 2011

Pickleball - Florida's Great Pasttime

Retirement was something I've never really thought about before. The idea of hanging around in my bathrobe, reading the newspaper, and sorting out all of my prescriptions sounds pleasant for about a week.  I'm one who needs to stay constantly active.

Now that I have experienced my first day in The Villages, Florida, I'm ready to retire by the end of the month. The Villages is an active retirement community of 80,000 residents over 55 years old, including my parents for the next eight weeks. The planned city 50 miles north of Orlando has eight recreation centers, 28 executive & 7 championship golf courses, nightly entertainment, two 12-screen movie theaters, it's own daily newspaper and television station, 30 restaurants, plus six additional country clubs.

More importantly, it has about a hundred courts for Pickleball, a sport that has captured the minds and hearts of senior citizens throughtout the Sunshine State. It was invented by someone who  did not want to move around a lot. To the virgin eye, Pickleball looks like a miniture version of tennis. However, I've now been around the Pickleball block a time or two.

Pickleball is played two on two on a concrete surface the size of half a tennis court. Paddles replace rackets and whiffle balls are used instead of tennis balls. My partner and coach today was a 63 year old British woman named Anna. My dad's partner was 72 year old Crown Point, Indiana native named Bill.

They were good . . . real good. Patient, yet firm, Bill and Anna showed us the finer points on how to serve underhand, when the ball should bounce, how not to spike it, and where to stand so you rarely have to move. However, we'll be sore tomorrow.

So next time you're in the southern panhandle, skip Disney, Cape Canaveral, South Beach, the Florida Keys, or the Everglades. Instead, find a paddle and kick some geriatric Pickleball tail.

1 comment:

  1. Jody introduced our team to pickle ball and now we have laid down lines and play most friday mornings! It's awesome!


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