Oh hey, how’s it going? This is Webby (not to be confused with Eddie) of Eddie and Webby. I’ve been playing pickleball for almost 3 years now (thanks to Facebook I know that May 29, 2017 was the first day I ever played). However, my pickleball story starts sometime in the year 2014.
My best friend, Eddie, used to live near me in Southeast Michigan. Unfortunately, he ended up bailing on me around 2014 and moved down to Naples, Florida. While there, he got introduced to a game that was very popular in his community. He asked me if I had ever heard of this game called pickleball. I assumed he was setting up a joke or something because the name pickleball sounded absolutely ridiculous to me. He ensured me he wasn’t joking and that it was a really fun game that I would need to try the next time I visit him down in Florida. Well, a couple years went by and I finally got a chance to go down to Florida in 2016 for my bachelor party. We had talked about playing pickleball while I was there, but unfortunately we never had the chance to do that.
Fast forward to a year later while I was at Freedom Park in Canton, Michigan, to play disc golf (my previous favorite pass time activity) and I noticed that the tennis courts that used to be there were replaced with 6 brand new mini tennis courts. I walked closer to read a sign that was attached to the fence and saw that the courts were, in fact, pickleball courts! That was the moment that I found out Eddie wasn’t full of crap and that pickleball was a real thing. The first thing I did when I got home was ordered 4 wooden pickleball paddles (which came with a 3 pack of balls) from Amazon so I could go there with my wife and 2 daughters to give this weirdly named sport a try. A few weeks later, the weather was finally good enough to go back to the park and give it a try. We basically just played ping pong rules for scoring, but I immediately fell in love with it. I never really had any competitive sports background of any kind, but I enjoyed a casual game of badminton and ping pong throughout my life. I tried playing tennis in the past, but due to knee issues it was just too much impact on my knees for me to play. This pickelball game seemed like the perfect blend of all the racquet/paddle sports that I enjoyed so much!
After that first time playing “pickleball”, I watched a bunch of youtube videos and learned the RIGHT way to play the game and a month or so later I got 3 of my friends to join me so we could all learn how to play the proper way together. That was the day I truly got hooked. From that moment, pickleball was pretty much all I could think about. I couldn’t wait to get back out there and play more.
Unfortunately, I had a VERY hard time finding 3 others to join me again so it took at least another month or 2 before I stepped foot on a pickleball court again. Getting frustrated about not being able to find a group to join me regularly, I went to social media and found the Pickleball Forum on Facebook. At first, I had to deal with a lot of very rude and condescending replies to my post about needing help finding people to play pickleball with. In fact, it was so bad I almost decided to stop even TRYING to find people to play with because of all the rude and annoying responses I got. I thought to myself, if this is what the pickleball community is like, I don’t want any part of it. Luckily, people started sending me direct messages telling me to ignore all the negativity and “trolling” that was going on and gave me great suggestions on how to find others to play with. A few people told me about this group called the USAPA and their Places 2 Play feature. That was a game (and LIFE) changer for me. I found out a community center 10 minutes from my house has drop-in play regularly! I’m not going to lie, I was a bit nervous about going there by myself to try playing with a bunch of strangers. To my surprise, I was greeted with open arms and the people I met there were more than willing to show me the ropes and give me tips along the way. I had such a fun time and couldn’t wait to go back. I started going there every chance I had and made a bunch of great new friends right away.
Since that day, I have been playing pickleball at least once a week and have loved every moment of it. I have been happier, healthier and in the best shape of of my life all thanks to pickleball. In fact, I am so addicted to pickleball that I wrote a rap song about it. Also, my buddy, Eddie, and I started a podcast devoted to pickleball and our YouTube channel changed direction to focus primarily on pickleball. To say pickleball changed my life for the better would be a major understatement and I am VERY thankful for this amazing sport.