For those of you who are not already aware. I have found a new hobby! Yup - just what I need something to take care of all of that "free time" retirees seem to have! Around the end of March 2014, Pat and I were watching the nightly news when a story came up about "Pickleball: The Fastest Growing Sport in America". To say the least it intrigued me. I used to play very competitive racquetball. A little bit of tennis and in ping pong served as fodder for my high school buddy Martin and my wife, Pat.
You can see the short 2 minute story about the game at this link: NBC Nightly News - Pickleball
This week the North Carolina Senior Games Pickleball event took place. I thought I would go over and get a feel for where I was in my short PB career with those who have been playing for a bit. I also thought I would use the opportunity to add a touch of my photography hobby to boot.
As it would turn out, I knew (or at least recognized) a number of people in the event. At 58, I would have been one of the younger participants AND probably outplayed by a number of players on the court. Like any tournament there were those I knew I could beat, some with whom I would have had very close games and others, well, let's just say I would hope to warm them up for their title match!
The game can be played as a singles event, but all I have witnessed have been doubles. The players I've met have been super friendly, will to help me learn the game and patient as I progress! I am (hopefully) emerging from a phase in which my game has been plagued by "shotgun" servers. Translation - look out! Who knows where they will end up. Some actually stay in bounds! The serve has been my nemesis. It is simply an underhand stroke similar to bowling, slow pitch softball and badminton. So the biggest problem with mine lies smack dab between the ears! My replaced knee is holding up well and the other one while complaining a bit is doing fine, too. They actually serve as "barometers" for my playing. The game is not intended to be a whirlwind, but rather one more focused upon finesse. However, as people migrate from tennis (and racquetball to a lesser degree) the volleys can get quite lively at times. It is very popular with seniors due to its intended low impact movements. I have noticed where I play there are several vicious, female ex tennis players! They almost sneer when they go for an overhead smash! LOL!
All of that having been said you can see some of my shots by following this link: 2014 Sr. Games Pickleball. I am getting a bit better at shooting indoor, quick moving events and I ended up with fewer throw aways this time. My photos are being given to the Senior Games coordinator and our local pickleball ambassador to be used to help promote both the games and the sport. Who know - I might even get one in print!
In closing (and to prove no good deed goes unpunished) I was asked if I would consider shooting not only pickleball but other events in future Senior Games. Perhaps (SHUDDER!) even serving on a committee! I told them I would consider the latter but would enjoy the opportunity to photograph the sporting events. What a great opportunity that would be!