Vacuuming your way to pickleball

My retirement credo is move if you’re able, as much as you’re able. I walk, I play golf, I walk when I play golf, I clean the house … Dale has not exactly followed my lead, but he knew there was room for improvement. Enter pickleball.

In case you don’t know, pickleball is the official sport of the senior set. Pickleball is the new shuffleboard only more vigorous. The game is played on a court and is a combination of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. The court is a bit smaller and the net is a bit lower. You hit the ball with a wooden paddle, and the plastic ball is nearly dead.

Back in the day, Dale and I played tennis and racquetball. Both sports were abandoned years ago due to injuries. Dale’s shoulder, my knees. But these days we’re doing pretty well injury-wise and hoped pickleball might be a modern solution to our need to kick each other’s butts on the court. Let’s just say we were are competitive.

I signed us up for lessons at the local community center. Dale questioned the need for lessons – how hard can it be? My thinking was not about the game’s difficulty but meeting other people who know how to play, understanding the etiquette, learning how to schedule time on the court, etc. Clearly, considerations too detailed for Dale’s big-picture brain.

We had our first two classes this week. Two more next week and we graduate. The class was filled with men and women who looked pretty much like us. Older, varying degrees of fitness.

The men were mostly out of shape, but a couple of the women looked athletic and one tightly packed blonde had an aggressive swing seemingly aimed at my face. I’m going back for her.

For a guy who didn’t even see the need for lessons, it turns out Dale read up on the game and the rules beforehand. The teacher was explaining how to tally the score, and I whispered to Dale I was confused, and he whispered back not to worry, because he already read it all online.

You did pre-work? Seriously? Whew, the stakes are high.

Pickleball is fun! We’re terrible now but figure we’ll improve soon enough. Nothing hurt when I played, and more importantly, nothing hurt after I played. Dale said he discovered new muscles. He runs but doesn’t exercise his upper body all that much. I guess golf saves me in that department. Or is it golf?

In a moment of brilliance, I suggested to Dale he vacuum more for a better upper-body workout. Nothing like a vigorous vacuum to prepare for a day of sport! Mopping is another excellent choice. In a pinch, yard work will suffice. He found that all very amusing.

If you haven’t tried pickleball, I recommend giving it a go. So far, it seems gentler on the body yet still challenging enough to call it a workout. Moving more in new and different directions can’t be a bad thing. All in all, we like it and are hoping pickleball will be a game we can enjoy together for many years to come.

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