April 10, 2021

I stepped into the gym. New faces. New places. “You can do this,” I said to myself and put a smile on my face.

No matter my age, I still fear the unknown, especially when I face the unknown alone.

But the faces were all friendly, the players all appeared to be having fun, and I was ready to put my fears to rest. One woman waved me over. “Hi, come on and grab a paddle and let’s get started,” she invited with a smile. Whew! Thank you!

Soon the pinging sound of the ball hitting my pickleball paddle became as familiar and as comfortable to me as listening to the sound of crickets while sitting on my porch swing.

I was hooked.

Pickleball is now part of my new norm. It continues to enlarge my circle of friends, guarantee fun and physical exercise in my life, and offer me other “new beginnings.”

Like many sports, learning to play pickleball is easy, but mastering the game takes time. The game comes with unexpected benefits. It inspired me to work on other, very different skills: writing, rhyming, and editing. With a new pickleball friend, Karen Worthy, I co-authored my first children’s picture book written in rhyme, Bend Your Knees, Louise! A Pickleball Primer.

And, like a game of dominos, other new beginnings continue to fall into place. I was assigned to write an article on the sport for the Tecumseh Homefront magazine Spring, 2021 issue.

Speaking with school groups and libraries, I have enjoyed meeting new people and sharing my love for the sport of pickleball. I’m certain the enthusiasm for this sport is contagious, as I watch the camaraderie and friendships develop on a pickleball court. Every day you hear about someone getting hooked on the sport. Recently, the actor Jeff Daniels discussed his wife’s passion for pickleball with a nationwide audience, on Kelly & Ryan. I’m in good company!

Don’t just take our word for it. Pick up a paddle and give it a try. You, too, may find new fun and new friendships in the process.

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