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Why We Play Pickleball
There are still those who have not really heard of Pickleball. For those who play, that probably seems unheard of.
Truth is, as ubiquitous as it's become, the game has yet to make its way into many cities and towns. Economic divide, cultural divide? Perhaps so. Yet, not for any good reason.
Pickleball's Positive Impact
I see the potential for Pickleball to be a force for good and have a vision to introduce it to schools and neighborhoods where it is not yet played. This accessible sport is proven to change lives and bring joy, and I am here to tell you why it is so.
A Break from Digital Life
In a world where technology has taken hold, we carry phones everywhere we go, and screen time is a matter of course. Taking a break from that is most welcome. Yet, not a forced break – that is tough. We respond very automatedly to our mobile devices' beeps and ding alerts. Get on the court with a group of friends, and you’re in a new mindset – one where you are into the game and the phone is put aside.
The Social Benefits of Pickleball
We are social beings yet live, and in-person socialization is becoming scarce in our technologically integrated lives. People work remotely; dating is initiated with a swipe right. Pickleball creates a social community where adults now have “play dates”! The sport is multigenerational too – families play, grandkids and grandparents too. And a younger person is known to be able to get certain shots during fast play that may have seemed way out of reach.
Active Living with Pickleball
How many of these people who now frequent Pickleball courts would otherwise have been home with a remote flicking through channels? Plenty. For adults in their 60s – late 80s, being active and having a social life brings renewed connection and vibrancy. Exercise and a friend’s group. Great combo.
Pickleball's Growing Community
TeamReach apps are hopping daily with similar conversations: What time can anyone play? or I can be there at 9; anyone else? And everyone knows what the “there” means! It's Pickleball time for the courts, from east to west, north to south!
The Essence of the Game
Playing daily – many do. As a matter of fact, not playing causes certain feelings that something is not quite right. What is the draw? There is a sense of purpose in the game and maintaining a connection to others in the group. The camaraderie on the courts exists in a big way. Sure, some sometimes act uncouth, banging a lot or calling shots out that were in. Not great. Yet, usually, a sincere friendliness persists. People encourage one another through play – great shot, nice get, good try. The game is fast-paced, and a mistake needs to be forgotten so that the next point can start.
Mindfulness in Play
Our heads are so full of thoughts, often a constant chatter. Being on a court playing Pickleball allows time away from that thinking. The game invites letting go of extraneous thought, having only to focus on the ball. Keep your eye on the ball. How refreshing!
Accessibility of Pickleball
Accessible and something to improve upon. Humans learn and grow. Pickleball invites building new skills. Many sports would not be so accessible at a later stage in life. Yet, it is more than doable with a plastic ball and a paddle, a court that four people share, two per side.
Addressing the Challenges
Injuries – yes indeed – this is a concern. As is the noise brought on by the constant plunk of the ball.
These two areas are the negatives. Solutions?
There is one for the injuries part – enter Pickleball Qigong. If you have not heard of this, we hope everyone will soon! Created by Master martial artist Patrick W. Smith, it is a method designed to maintain body balance and understand how to move on the courts to avoid falling. Patrick has a series of video classes and offers live workshops to anyone playing the game – have sore knees, not sure how to reach for certain shots? This practice is a new ally that will be important for continued play.
The noise factor – not an easy fix. Some new ball material is being considered. That is all to say on this subject for now. Can come back to that as it is something not to be ignored. Or is it?
Conclusion: Beyond the Court
We find on the court the ability to stay present. We learn to transfer this ability into our lives off the court. Ready for what is right before us, experiencing life through all our senses, alive, awake, and aware. Play on!
Finding stillness and sense of purpose – the real core and essence in each of us, discovering who we really are. May it be so.
Melinda organizes Carpe Dink’em Pickleball Vacations as part of her Travel With Heart brand. Each Pickleball vacation supports a local organization and donates to Doctors Without Borders.
Pickleball With Heart – that’s what sets us apart ~ Vacations
Contact MelindaA@All-Travel.com for more information.