Saturday, March 18, 2017

Pickleball Addiction

From Myakka River Motorcoach Resort, Port Charlotte, Florida

Myakka Activities Director, Carol Black. 
In early November I was one of about four people attending one of the resort's first "Pickleball Basics" courses of the winter 2016 season. Pickleball was taught by Carol Black, activities director at Mykka.

The winter crowd isn't here yet so the crowd is small. A group plays every morning around 8 a.m. and I decided to get in on this sport early enough to play all season. Everyone was helpful in teaching and coach me toward improvement.

My first pickleball paddle

I played pickleball with a borrowed paddle the first few weeks. I also attended the next couple of "basics" courses to glean everything possible from Carol about the game. I loved it!

Within a week, I knew I was hooked and after the second week, I ordered my very own paddle, carrying bag and a sleeve of balls.

Ironically, I developed a tenderness my right knee and couldn't use my new paddle for about two weeks. I still went to pickleball every morning and watched the others play.

Wayne isn't interested.

The November group of pickleball players totaled about six people, sometimes more and usually included Carol and a few seasoned players who graciously took turns teaming up with me.

It didn't take long for me to become addicted to pickleball.  I played every morning and stayed as long as there were players with whom I could practice. The group was great, not too serious and eager to share whatever they could to improve my game.

Bill and Ken are playing against Carol and Bruce
Myakka has three nice pickleball courts. One is dedicated to pickleball and the other two other use the adjacent tennis court where two temporary nets are placed. It would be a long time before we used all three pickleball nets but by January, the pickleball group had grown to more than 15, sometimes 20 players.

By January, I began hearing about Myakka's Annual Pickleball Tournament. I was all in. By this time, I was working on strategies and ball placement. Wayne still didn't have an interest.

The day of the 2017 tournament finally came and the weather was perfect. I played well and enjoyed every game. Wayne didn't attend a single game in which I played. I was furious for weeks.

That's me... Serving in one of the final matches in the tournament. 

Intense concentration --  keep  your eye on the ball. That's the secret.
By now, I had a second paddle in hopes Wayne would play.  I used it in the tournament.

Tournament participants.
Ron, Big Bill, Phil, Carol, Shirley, Ken, Mary, me, Bob, Doug, Scott, Doug, Oscar, Cleve, Dick, Allen and Bruce.
To the far left, Jan keeps score.
A potluck lunch after the tournament. Certificates were presented.
Carol, Bob and me. I'm one of four "most improved" pickleball players.
Wayne didn't attend the awards luncheon.  I steamed but did eventually recover. 

My friend, Phil was one of two mens "most improved" at Pickleball. 

Scott was a "Most Improved" player too. 
And my friend Mary won the coveted "Most Improved for next year" trophy.
It's a pickleball stuck to the lid of a jar of pickles. 

It was no surprise Shirley and Bob were the 2017 Champions.
All three of these folks taught me to play better and to love pickleball! 

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