Over the course of a lifelong battle to keep the weight off, I’ve learned that the last two weeks in January are the ones that get me in the most trouble. I think it’s because I stay watchful through the goodies-rich holidays, but then let my guard down to start the new year.
If, as they say, the body is a temple, this is the two week period the commissary stocks up on the matzah balls.
I’ve decided this year will be different. I’m going to break the cycle . . . I hope.
I’ve been on the hunt for something to do that is fun, and keeps the heart beating well enough to erase the effects of french fries. The way I work out, now, I could use a lot more cardiovascular work for long-term success.
Someone recently suggested that I try Pickleball. Of course, I immediately started laughing, which I thought was their intention. I’ve long been a believer in burning calories through humor. However, Kelly Price, Director of Recreation and Fitness at the Crawfordsville Parks and Recreation Community Center confirmed Pickleball is no joke.
“The game is popular with our seniors,“ said Price. “What’s great is that you don’t have to be terribly athletic to be competitive, and enjoy the game.”
Pickleball is a court game like tennis or badminton. I’ve seen some references compare it also with ping-pong, but, unless it is customary for your family to stand on the ping-pong table when you play, I’d stick with the badminton comparison.
The court is 20 ‘ x 44’, which is the same size as a doubles badminton court. The net stands 36” high, and if it looks like it is sagging in the middle, it is supposed to. You can play doubles or singles on the same court.
Instead of a pickle — which was my secret hope — players knock back-and-forth a hard, hollow, lightweight plastic ball with holes drilled in it. Each player needs a Pickleball paddle. Originally made of wood, the paddles create distinctive “thwock, thwock, thwock” sounds when the ball is volleyed back and forth.
“You can have some long rallies, too,” points out Kelly’s husband Greg, who used to play frequently. “A lot of action happens right at the net. I liked the game. Age doesn’t matter, but I do think it is important to keep the skill levels about the same. A really athletic person could dominate the play.”
Pickleball was invented, much to my surprise, way back in 1965. Three neighboring families at vacation homes on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle, developed the game. It was named after the family dog . . . or a pickle boat. I’m not sure.
Today, The Journal on Active Aging claims Pickleball is North America’s fastest growing sport, with over 2.46 million players in the US and Canada.
That’s a big number. Pickleball might indeed be what I’m looking for. But you go ahead without me. I’m still trying to get the lid off the can of balls.
John O. Marlowe spent most of his career as a “pine-time” player, and was football's first DH (dummy holder) for Wabash College in the late 1970's. New to the art of the sports beat writer, Marlowe has spent forty years – and nearly $11,000 – following Indiana high school sports.