The first time I played Pickleball, was down in Southern Utah, in a city called St. George. Those from Utah will know exactly where I am talking about and will understand why that was the first place I found it. St. George, Utah is a place where Pickleball can be played outside all year round. I have several aunts and uncles that have lived down there my entire life and in 2013 we were down there for a family reunion where one of the activities we did was playing Pickleball. I played Tennis on my Jr. High and High School Teams and grew up with a Ping Pong table in our house, so when I was introduced to pickle ball it was something I took to immediately. I remember thinking how it was the perfect combination between the two sports. (Some may disagree with me there.) We played for hours. I remember us starting early as it was summer time and gets to get extremely hot there. I remember my family members getting uncomfortable due to the heat and wanting to leave but I just wanted to keep playing. I have two younger brothers and a younger sister and we were all born with the competitive gene and all we wanted to do was play. I remember conversing with my siblings as we left that weekend with exclamations of “I wish we had something like that close to us. Think of how fun it would be if we had courts like that where we lived?!” At that point, there wasn’t many courts, if any that I was aware of, so thats where it stopped for me at that point. Just a fun weekend with the fam with dreams and wishes that we had Pickleball closer.
Fast Forward to 2018. My wife and I found ourselves back down in St. George, Utah for a couples trip with 16 or so, of our closest friends. I remember one of my buddies asking me if I had ever played Pickleball. I replied with enthusiasm that I had but that I hadn’t played for many years because I didn’t know where there were any courts. He told me that the house we had rented had a bunch of courts near by and that we were going to play. Well… that is pretty much all that we did with any free time that we had. For 4 days, with any free time that we had, we played from the time that we woke up till the lights turned off. We played Doubles, we played Singles, and we played with our wives against other couples. In what we thought was going to be a few days out by the pool, maybe a few hikes, etc. Turned into a weekend of Pickleball. I was HOOKED.
On the Drive home I remember getting on Amazon and ordering my first paddle. I remember thinking, I want a nice one but I don’t want to over do it as I still at this point wasn’t sure where I would play and how regularly. That same friend who re-introduced to Pickleball had told us of several places that had just installed Pickleball courts and assured me we could play for the rest of the summer at these locations And that is EXACTLY what we did. Much to my wife’s dismay almost every activity/get-together that summer consisted of Pickleball. To give you some perspective we have 4 kids 9 and under and at the time there ages were 7, 3, & 1. So needless to say we had our hands full when we went to the park with these kiddos. My friends and I started getting up early to play and we stayed out late. I have a standing Basketball night that, for short time, got replaced with playing Pickleball. We simply couldn’t get enough! We played late into the outdoor season till it was simply too cold to play outside anymore.
Spring 2019 came and with these same friends, we started playing again. Most the time we would get up early before work and get a few hours in before we started our day. It was that time in the spring that a buddy of mine, who lived in my neighborhood, told me about some courts that were close and that I should come and join them one morning. I joined him one morning and I remember showing up thinking we would be playing doubles with two other guys only to find out we were a part of a much bigger group. I had never played anything like Kings Court, which allowed to have so many different partners and types of play. I remember when we got there thinking, “Oh man… I just wanted to play with the people I know…” I have never been more glad that we played that morning. This is where I met @Jordan and many people that I consider my Pickleball Fam!! And so all Spring, Summer, & Fall I think into Late October we played every Tuesday & Thursday till we couldn’t stand the cold temperatures dipping into the low 30’s/High 20’s. I love this sport. I was born with a competitive nature and love everything about sports in general. It is a great way to get the heart pumping and to get some great exercise. There are so many aspects of the game that you can work on that is exciting. If you’ve played with me I am a hard hitting, like to spike it down your throat type player… BUT recently I have found beauty in the more technical parts of the game and have much to work on BUT that is the beauty of the game. And I love that it something that young and old can play. I have NO DOUBT it is something I will play for the rest of my life. I only wish I had found it sooner.
I wanted to end with this… As much as I love the sport itself I love the people More. I love those of you that I have met and played with and love this “Hub” that @Jordan has created for us all to come unified by the sport that we love so much BUT to also have a place where we can come, be supported, and share in all aspects of life.
Hope to meet more of you soon either here or on the court!