By now everyone’s heard of pickleball the fastest growing sport in America. The fun mix of tennis, badminton, and ping pong had always piqued my curiosity, though I’d always considered it more of a hobby than a serious sport. That was until one sunny Saturday when my dad, a pickleball pro, convinced me to give it a shot.
Setting the Scene
My Dad and I have always played racquet sports growing up, but our regular games tapered off as the competitive edge his experience provided slowly gave way to my youthful athleticism (and knees). This however would be my first foray into the sport. As we rolled up to the local pickleball court, I was struck by the laid-back and inclusive vibe. People of all ages and skill levels were gathered, chatting, and helping newcomers get the hang of things. The court was smaller than a tennis court but larger than a ping pong table, with a net that seemed just right for the game.
My dad introduced me to the basics of pickleball, from the rules to the gear. He handed me a paddle that felt surprisingly light and a wiffle ball that resembled something you’d find at a beach. The goal was straightforward: score points by getting the ball over the net and into the other side. Simple, right? Well, the execution was a whole other story.
The Learning Curve
The learning curve was steep, and I struggled with my serves and returns. But my dad, being the patient teacher he is, guided me through the initial hurdles. I grew to appreciate the sportsmanship and friendliness of the pickleball crowd. They shared tips, encouraged us, and made the game even more enjoyable. My dad, especially, was an amazing coach, but was relishing in the chance to trounce his son at a competitive sport once again.
Pickleball wasn’t without its hurdles. It demanded stamina, agility, and quick reflexes. I realized it was a full-body workout, with rapid side-to-side movements and strategic thinking. My old man wears a step counter and I was amazed at the amount of steps he was racking up- minute for minute it was way more than someone out running would register, and way more fun, too.
Though I lost, and soundly at that, my first pickleball game with my dad was an unforgettable adventure. It was more than just a game; it was a bonding experience, a chance to learn, and a personal challenge. I learned to value the vibrant pickleball community, the importance of finesse over power, and the joy of spending quality time with my father.
Pickleball has since become a regular part of our lives. We play often, it keeps us close while offering a fun and active way to spend time together. If you’re thinking about trying a new sport, I highly recommend giving pickleball a shot, especially if it means you get to spend more quality time with a loved one!