Boomers Redefining Retirement
Once upon a time, the dream of retirement was to collect a pension, travel and play golf. Today, boomers are redefining retirement right before our eyes. Many of today’s retirees have neither the time nor the funds to spend on golf, so they’re turning to activities that require less of an investment, while allowing them to stay active and socialize. One sport that is growing in popularity with boomers is pickleball. In Arizona, sport is becoming so popular that many public parks and rec centers now feature pickleball courts and host tournaments. And some retirement communities are adding pickleball courts to their on-site amenities.
• Object: hit a tennis ball sized whiffle ball back and forth across the court
• Played on a court that is the size of a badminton court
• Two sides divided by a 3-foot-tall net lowered to the ground
• The paddle is slightly bigger than a ping pong paddle
• Serve is underhand and must bounce once on opposite side
• Only the serving team can score a point
• Game is won when one team scores 11 points. (Must win by 2.)
As with tennis, the game can be played in singles or doubles format, although doubles are most common. Pickleball appeals to people of all ages, but especially those for whom running is a challenge. David Holland is a senior pickleball player who claims, “You can compete with younger people by using your head while they try to use their speed. You out think them.”
Pickleball was “created” in 1965 near Seattle. Legend has it that Joel Pritchard (a Washington State Representative) and a couple buddies returned home from a Saturday golf game to find their bored family members just hanging around. They attempted to get the others engaged in badminton, but couldn’t find a shuttlecock. So, they lowered the net and improvised with a whiffle ball.
USA Pickleball Association
According to the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), there are more than 100,000 active players in the United States. A 2014 NBC News feature called pickleball the fastest growing sport in America. Official rules for the game, along with terms and jargon, can be found on USAPA website at usapa.org.