Readers warn me about a new pickleball kick. It might be too late

Taking up pickleball has ushered me into a world I didn’t know existed.

USA Pickleball, the national governing body for the sport, offered to send me a T-shirt. I’ve received advice, recommendations about paddles, and offers to play across the state. This all after one lesson.

You are serious about your pickleball.

“Let me know when you need a fourth to fill in!” Arlene Chin, of Tempe, wrote. Ron Steinhilber said firefighters at Fire Station 303 in Surprise play every shift.

Dan Fellner, of Scottsdale, started playing five years ago and was instantly hooked.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if you become afflicted with the same addiction,” he wrote. “When I travel abroad or take a cruise (yes, they now have pickleball on some cruise ships), I always bring my paddle. Just never know when I’ll find a game!”

Pickleball is like tennis but on a smaller court with a perforated plastic ball and paddles twice the size of ping-pong paddles.

Now, two lessons in, I’m researching composite versus graphite paddles and studying videos on dink shots.

My friend Rhonda Rhiner and cousin Theresa Gotter, both tennis players, wanted to play pickleball. As for me, I’d read pickleball was popular among older people. How hard could it be?

Rich Bitner, who is the Pickleball Representative to the Dobson Ranch HOA Recreation Committee, said my tap dancing will come in handy on the court: “The footwork will probably be a big asset to developing your pickleball prowess.”

Peter Corbett, who has played for two years, agreed: “It’s a great game for people of all ages and skill levels, and for mixed doubles. I still play tennis but enjoy this as much or more than other racquet sports.”

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