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What Makes Pickleball Different Than Any Other Sport?
And So It Begins…
There is this sport called pickleball that has been around for over 50 years, yet it is just now taking over the sports world. We see it on television, we see Hollywood stars playing, and even news stations covering this phenomenon that has revamped abandoned tennis courts everywhere.
What is it that draws us to this simple sport?
The short answer…it is what the sports world needed. In our over-booked, over-stressed, and over-everything lives, we found something we did not even know we were looking for…
For many, it was a big leap to try a sport at their age, I know it was for me. After all, we had forgotten what it felt like to be an athlete, since the last time we really played a consistent sport, was high school or college. Yet, here we are…practicing, competing, and finding that long-lost love we once had in bettering ourselves through progressive competition.
So, what makes pickleball different than any other sport?
It is a combination of many dynamics, the perfect storm of elements that created something magical. It speaks to players of all ages, all demographics, and all athletic abilities. We share the court with individuals that are 30 years older or younger than us, yet we blend as if we were in the same social circle every day. The more we play, the more we want to play…. we are blissfully addicted to this sport with a silly name.
We get up at the crack of dawn to play, we play all night on lit courts. We plan our weekends around it and even our vacations must have pickleball. We become dedicated whether as recreational players or competitive players. The rest of the world cannot understand this new relationship we have with a paddle and whiffle ball…until they come and play.
Pickleball has an endless list of benefits. You start playing and see your body transform in a way you did not think was possible. You find stress easier to handle…you find a nugget of happiness that you forgot about. You are in a better mood after your play…unless you played poorly, then the sky is falling. Our emotions connect with the game and our performance, which deepens our desire to play.
Pickleball opens social doors for all players…your friendship circle morphs, and you share a bond with people you probably barely know but feel so close to. For me, I have a pickleball family that cannot be accurately valued…they are who I feel the best around, as I am allowed to be myself entirely. I have had a successful career, but in this world that does not matter. It does not matter how much money I make, what country I am from, or any personal detail that usually divides people…we are all connected through the sound of “0-0-2” across the net.
You mix that with how cheap it is to start playing and you instantly see the endless potential pickleball holds. In comparison to most sports, pickleball is beyond economical. You can easily find public courts that are free to play on, an inexpensive paddle, and the ball – which is literally all you need. Overall, you can dive into the pickleball rabbit hole with very little out-of-pocket expense. Within a few times of playing, you go out and order yourself a new paddle, choosing it by its graphic and nothing else, because you do not know better. You may even splurge and get a generic paddle bag…and that is when you realize this is going to be more than something you occasionally do….it is about to take over your life in the best of ways. Fast forward a year and you have new friends, a rating, and personal confidence.
Pickleball changes your world, and as you grow as a player, you grow as a person. Half of your closet becomes court attire, your garage has an area for all your paddles, and your calendar is full of tournaments and clinics. You have goals you have set for yourself, whether it be to win a medal or be the person who organizes local leagues.
For the older generation, the second half of your life suddenly becomes more fun that the first half. You feel a sense of purpose and that can be a life game changer. You learn that every person you play with, you can learn from. How I have learned from the older generation and the younger generation about this sport and about even about life. You network, and as you continue to network you grow your personal community through pickleball.
Being a new pickleball player is an exciting time
You are learning and exploring, so you instantly feel younger. As time passes and you become a seasoned player, you trade that excitement feeling for a feeling of pure pride in the work you have put in. Every step of your Pickleball journey solidifies your connection with this sport.
And to think, we can thank a whiny kid who was “bitching to my dad that there was nothing to do and dad said when he was a kid, ‘we’d make up games of our own.’ And, I replied, “Oh, really then why don’t you go make up a game.”
In the summer of 1965 Joel Pritchard, whiny Frank’s dad, and his wife Joan named the game, after the slowest boat in a crew race that was called the “pickle boat.”
What a mark the Pritchards have left on our lives…they have reminded us of what a quality life really means.
Pickleball is taking over the sports world because it provides a dose of positivity that every person needs. If we embrace it, it will create economic growth, unity, and so much more.
How lucky we are to live in a time where we watched pickleball launch and land successfully on the map of popular sports. It truly is magical.