Pickleball is purported to be the fastest growing sport in America with courts popping up all across the country. As a recent retiree, I do know that the game has certainly changed my life. I no longer worry about empty days and a lack of a social network. Pickleball fills my days and my social calendar! The connections I have made through pickleball are numerous and indispensable.

I first had the pleasure of playing pickleball in Florida when visiting friends a few years back. I had never heard of pickleball and was amused to hear some of the common lingo such as dinking, staying out of the kitchen, and getting pickled or even spickled! I decided to give it a try and was instantly hooked.

Last winter after retiring, I moved to Plymouth and realized that I had no support network. I decided to check out the recreation department’s offerings and, low and behold, pickleball was listed. I was extremely nervous showing up that first day, knowing no one, but was pleasantly surprised that everyone I met was so inviting, friendly, easy going, and helpful.

Fast forward to this summer. The Stephen’s Field group of pickleball players have pickleball six days a week, two mornings organized by the recreation department and the other four days organized by the players. Play starts at 7 a.m. for some to avoid the hot weather with upwards of 20+ players on any given morning. The group continues to grow. Passers by inquire about this odd looking sport. We invite all who approach to join us if interested. We always have extra paddles and are very willing to introduce the sport to all who wish to give it a try.

Plymouth is a great town. Everyone is well aware that the community takes excellent care of our younger population with a myriad of sports facilities and programs. There are several areas available for organized sports in the town including the schools, Forges Field, Armstrong Rink, Siever Field, Stephen’s Field, and now the new skate park.

Plymouth also does an exceptional job with their senior population and has a first rate Plymouth Center for Active Living which offers our seniors a healthy and safe environment to go to for social, physical, and intellectual wellness.

But what about the population 55-85 in Plymouth who are looking for a healthy, social, and physical outlet? Pickleball is the answer! It is a game that virtually everyone can play. It’s a non-contact sport that doesn’t require nearly as much running or ground cover as tennis. Pickleball is a great way to stay active with several health benefits and fewer injuries than some other sports. Pickleball provides a way for people to stay active and enjoy the competitive nature of racket sports. It is not as intense as tennis because there is less space to defend. Pickleball is also relatively easy to pick up. The underhand serve is less technical than tennis and the smaller court makes it less strenuous.

But pickleball is more than just a game for me. It has allowed me to meet dozens of community members I now call friends. In fact, I have over 30 contacts in my phone with the last name “Pickleball.” The sport allows this age group a place to gather and socialize and is a healthy and fun outlet.

This group is banding together to put forth to the town a proposal for an outdoor park dedicated for an ample amount of pickleball courts to accommodate our growing number of active citizens. We are also looking for suggestions for indoor space in order to play during the winter months. We feel it is important to have one dedicated space rather than be fragmented with one or two courts in several places around town. More than a sport, pickleball is about friendships and community, comradery and connections. We simply do not want to split up this group of friends.

Other towns all over the country are doing this and the interest and enthusiasm has been overwhelming. Please support our cause and be a proponent of pickleball in our great town. We would appreciate any support in the coming days as we organize to bring our proposal to the town. If you are interested in getting involved and would like to share your ideas for both an indoor and outdoor play area, please check out our facebook pages “Friends of Plymouth Pickleball.”

And if you are curious about pickleball, check out some Youtube videos. You’ll surely want to give it a try!

Mary Gazzola, Plymouth