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A rousing game of Pickle-ball, a life lesson

I checked my e-mail Monday and there it was, a message from Fran Brown announcing that there would be Pickle-ball on this very day in the gym down the hall from my office. Pickle-ball! The name is a declaration of fun.

Fran Brown, a Senior Olympic Pickle-ball champion, arranged for the game to be played in our community center. Pickle-ball is like a mini tennis game, a huge ping pong game, or a short badminton game that is played by either two or four players. The paddles reminded me of large ping pong paddles and the balls resembled whiffle balls, or plastic hollow balls with holes.

The game was created in 1965 near Seattle, Wash. The inventors, Joel Pritchard, William Bell and Barney McCallum, wanted to provide a sport that the entire family could enjoy. It got its name from the family dog, Pickles, who would chase the balls and then hide in the bushes. Pickle-ball was originally a family game played in backyards, driveways and on residential dead-end streets. Now it is a formalized sport played in schools, rec centers, senior centers and correctional facilities.

Armed with my lucky silver hoop earrings and an unfounded self confidence, I rounded up a posse of my people and headed to the gym. Dave and Sharon teach the game every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and then serious play runs from 9 to 11. Sharon softly hit a ball to me and my new doubles partner, Rick Sautel. Both of us wear trifocal eyeglasses and posit that as the reason for missing the ball. The wind from our combined swing could have generated electricity to cool Phoenix all summer. Eventually I made contact.

“But Jodi,” Rick said, “the ball goes over the net.” Sharon and Rick are patient people.

We “played” for an hour, learning to stay out of the “kitchen” (an off limits area of the court), how to serve, where to stand, how to shout the score and the server number. In a triumph of enthusiasm over athletic ability, we finally scored, lost the game and finished our lesson.

Some serious players, Robin and Bruce Wamsley, came to play. They hail from Arizona where they play in a league that Robin told me has 500 members. She reported that playing doubles is the most popular form of Pickle-ball and that rotating extra players in gives people a rest. “Keeping track of the score is the hardest part,” explained Robin. “Any active person can learn to play.” I asked the age of all of the players in the gym and learned I was the only one under age 56. These people can bust a move.

Pickle-ball is like life, I think. When the ball is coming at you, don’t step away from it. Step into it and whack it with finesse.

Thank you

Thank you Michael Whiting and the Southwest Land Alliance for your donation of hot dog buns.

Thank you to everyone who came to our pancake breakfasts this summer.

Thank you to Johnny K and Natalie for singing and entertaining us at our last Picnic in the Park. You two are wonderful.

Thank you, Ron Gustafson, for putting our pancake breakfast flyers on all of the cars.

Thank you Dan Appenzeller for your generosity, dedication to and genuine care for our people.

Senior transportation

With the closing of the downtown City Market, we remind you that we have a Senior Bus that runs Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please call me, Jodi, at 264-2167 for details.

Weekly activities

Dance for Health and Tai Chi will is offered through the community center. For times and information, call The Community Center at 264-4152.

Friday, Sept. 10 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; Tai Chi 11 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; ASI Board meeting 1 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 13 — Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Scrabble with Kay Pace 1 p.m.; Canasta 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 14 — Yoga 10 a.m.; Chair Massage 10 a.m.; blood pressure checks 11 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; RAC Four Year Meeting in the Lounge 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 15 — Dance for Health 10 a.m.; Healthier Living 1 p.m.; Sky Ute Casino 1 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 16 — No lunch, administrative day.

Friday, Sept. 17 —?Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; Tai Chi 11 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.

The Archuleta County Senior Center Newsletter is now available on Archuleta County’s Website: http://www.archuletacounty.org/Seniors/seniors.asp.

This week’s menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, and Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $9.75. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 10 — Barbecue beef brisket, ranch style beans, carrifruit salad, honeydew cilantro lime salad, whole wheat roll.

Monday, Sept. 13 — Chicken alfredo, Italian veggies, apple crisp, whole wheat garlic twist.

Tuesday, Sept. 14 — Meatloaf with onion gravy, mashed potatoes, zucchini with onions, strawberries with whipped topping, whole wheat roll.

Wednesday, Sept. 15 — Chicken parmesan pasta with tomato sauce, tropical fruit, whole wheat roll.

Thursday, Sept. 16 — No lunch, administrative day.

Friday, Sept. 17 — Spaghetti and meatballs, salad, seasoned green beans, orange wedges, garlic stick.