Fielder's Choice

Pickleball and taking a fall

I found myself falling backward toward the pavement, and there was nothing I could do about it.

I tried to brace myself with my arm, and my elbow was the first thing to hit. It took the brunt of any damage, which was minor, thank goodness.

A few months from age 60, I've picked up a new pastime ­ pickleball.

A couple of Saturdays ago, my son Andy was planning a visit to go to some basketball games with me. He asked about getting some folks together for pickleball that morning.

Andy plays regularly in Tupelo. He's 26 and the youngest player ­ most being over the 60year-old mark.

He's the one who got me started.

Last August, for my birthday, I received paddles, some of the perforated polymer balls and a portable set-up for a pickleball court.

Shortly thereafter, some of us guys met with Andy on our church property and set up a pickleball court on the asphalt driveway/parking lot.

We used Gorilla Duct Tape to outline the court, and six months later, it's still there. When we get ready to play, we just put the net in place and start.

We started learning the game in August, September and October of last year, before the weather changed. We hadn't played since, until Saturday, Feb. 5.

The weather forecast called for cloudy with temperatures climbing toward 40. I was the only one who showed up in shorts ­ and three layers of shirts.

Andy, myself, Kerry Reid and Jerry Moore played for a couple of hours.

The three of us learned more from Andy about strategy, like moving toward the net once the serving process is over, but not in "the kitchen." Basically, you cannot be touching the kitchen zone or kitchen line while volleying a ball.

USA Pickleball has its own website. It's a paddleball sport that combines the elements of badminton, tennis and pingpong. Two or four players can participate. It can be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels.

Pickleball was invited in 1965 in Bainbridge Island, a short ferry ride from Seattle, Washington. Three dads, whose kids were bored with their usual summertime activities, are credited for creating the game. It has evolved from original handmade equipment and simple rules into a popular sport through the U.S. and Canada. The game is growing internationally as well, with many European and Asian countries adding courts.

Our recent game on that Saturday morning got somewhat competitive, and I actually started feeling like I was learning the game and playing it better.

Then I had that fall. I was just glad I was able to get my "old" body up and keep playing.

Then Saturday night came, and I was hurting. Pam told me to take some Ibuprofen.

Sunday morning, I felt OK, but certainly not 100 percent.

This pickleball hobby has certainly given me a good avenue for exercise. Occasionally, I work in some walking, but the pickleball is much more fun.

Hopefully, we can get a more regular schedule soon and start playing more. Let me know if you'd like to join us.

Holly Springs South Reporter

P.O. Box 278
Holly Springs, MS 38635
PH: (662) 252-4261
FAX: (662) 252-3388

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