More and more Glade residents dill-ing in sweet game of Pickleball
By KEITH WALTHER
Whether you think it is kosher or not, Pickeball is fast becoming the hottest thing since dill slices on a hamburger.
In fact, there are over 240 Fairfleld Glade residents who aren’t fickle about Pickleball; they relish the thought of getting on the court and playing a match that may turn into an Instant Vlasic, uh, … Classic.
“It has grown a lot in the past two years,” noted Fairfield Glade Tennis and Pickleball Director Ann Flint. “Pickleball seems to be a growing sport especially in retirement communities where it is easier on the aging body and not as intimidating to learn.”
Flint says that there are currently 241 people that have accounts on their online booking system, but she estimates over 300 players hit the courts consistently — and that number is on the rise contstantly.
“The trend at the Villages in Florida as well as Tellico (Village in Tennessee) is that it’s become more popular than tennis.,” Flint said. “Here, tennis is holding it’s own and some of our tennis players are also playing pickleball.”
Fairfield Glade currently has a men’s and women’s doubles league that plays on Fridays and, after they finish at the end of April, a women’s novice league will start up.
During the winter months, monthly tournaments are held and are very popular.
And just last week, Fairfield Glade sent a team up against Tellico — and came home with the title with a 22-14 advantage in games won.
“It was a highly-competitive match, I will say, but very fun and the sportsmanship was excellent,” said Glade resident and team member Linda Bruder.
Bruder is a case in point as far as how fast the popularity of the game is growing. She has only played for a year and has fallen in love with the sport.
“Oh wow, it’s wonderful,” she said. “It gives you a lot of exercise and a lot of fun in a short period of time. What’s great about it, too, is that it can be as competitive as you want it to be or as low key as you want and you can have fun at either end of the spectrum.”
Bruder continued that the sport is “very simple” to learn.
“I know some who have never had any experience with any type of racquet sport and have picked it up in as little as an hour,” Bruder said. “I would recommend it to anyone — my grandson plays it and he is 10 and we have some in their 80s that are playing and playing well.”
Fairfield Glade offers weekly beginners lessons. Wayne Matthews — who Flint dubs a “pickleball ambassador” — volunteers his time to teach the sport. Rita Karns has done the same.
The weekly beginners lessons are at the Community Center on Tuesdays from 10 to 11 a.m. and registration is required at the Community Center desk.
Fairfield Glade sends pickleball teams to the local and state Senior Olympics every year. This year is a qualifying year for Nationals which is finally offering pickleball for the first time.
Pickleball seems to be a growing sport especially in