by Laurie Beth Jones
I recently picked up a different kind of racquet—smaller, shorter, Ping Pong on steroids kind of looking, and headed over to the local YMCA.
A Pickleball match, or should I say matches, were in full swing.
My “next up” partner happened to be wearing a pink floral kind of harem pant arrangement. Her silver hair was newly quaffed and her lipstick was bright red. Her eyes were sparkling blue. She was wearing dangling earrings and a necklace. I thought “Well, just my luck of the draw. I am going to be on the losing side again.”
My partner, named Mary Anne, looked as if she could barely stand.
I smiled and introduced myself and the game began. Our opponents happened to have Jill, one of the best players in the group. I thought “She is going to eat us for lunch.” The other opponent, Linda, motioned me forward and smiled “Watch out for Mary Anne. She’s deadly! And she’s only 85.”
We won the first point. And the second. Mary Ann aced her serve again and again. I walked back and asked “Did you put a slice on that?”
“Definitely!” she grinned.
Jill (I noticed) got madder and madder as we kept getting our shots, and they kept missing theirs. At last, it was over. In a tiebreaker. 14-12.
Now, I am not going to regale or bore you with details of all my pickle ball matches. (I will save that for my family and friends, until they nod off, one by one.) What was great about this match was that Mary Ann, perhaps a tennis pro from years ago, was out there on that court, kicking booty and taking names. I happened to go along for the ride.
My nephew in law has gotten very serious about PickleBall. He will travel cross country to tournaments. I think he is even nationally ranked. I don’t intend to be that competitive, having had enough of that with tennis and racquetball.
But at night I find myself watching championship pickle ball matches on line. Learning new terms and strategies. (One thing I love about this game is that EVERYBODY has to stay out of “the kitchen”, which has been my life philosophy for a very long time.)
The founders of the game named it after their dog, who kept stealing the ball. Pickles was her name.
I used to wish that their dog had been named Rex, or Victoria, or something a little more power invoking or elegant. But I think the silly sounding name keeps people from taking themselves too seriously, and perhaps that is what it is all about after all. Having fun.
Just think. If I study up and practice, I could be playing this game for the next twenty five years—just like Mary Anne. Now I just have to learn to slice my serve.
See ya. Next game starts in five.
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