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Pickleball Stories


Everyone who has ever played PICKLEBALL will agree…..when asked “What the heck is pickleball???”….. well, you just gotta try it yourself and then you’ll know why a normal, sane person become obsessive and a little crazy!   Have you ever heard a player say, “…just one more game!..........? 

The pickleball phenomenon has created so many special stories and adventures on and off the courts.  Do you know of a friend or partner that has been touched by the power of pickleball?  If so, please share your wonderful stories. I would relish your response! -  Beverly Youngren

Below you find a few inspirational stories, and check back soon to see my new website and blog that will both share and allow YOU to post your story..... so start gathering your thoughts and in the meantime feel free to send your story by email to rlybjy@aol.com

 

A PRIVILEGE TO TEACH PICKLEBALL

About 5 years ago when Bob Youngren started teaching pickleball at Happy Trails in Surprise, Az, he discovered the true passion of the pickleball player. During a morning class, Bob explained to his students that he would like them to remove their sunglasses so he can see if they are watching the ball. He took a few minutes to gather up some equipment, and when he turned around to the class, he saw only 2 players without their sunglasses. He was puzzled for a minute.... and then discovered everyone had prescription glasses!

Later in the same class, he gently suggested to one player to move up to the kitchen line a little quicker. She responded that she has had two knee replacements and she'll do the best she can. Another player said he has had hip replacement.

By this time, Bob finally realized that many of his students have had rotator cuff surgery, hip replacements, knee replacements and maybe other parts have been replaced that they never told Bob about! Ha ha. It was then he realized for years when he had taught young gifted, athletic tennis players, did those kids really realize how lucky they were?

Here he is teaching mostly to seniors who show up every week for class, and regardless of their level of play, they do the best they can. It makes no difference that one might be better than the other. They are having fun! He thanked his students because THEY have heart and it is a privilege to teach the Happy Trails pickleball players.

shared by: Beverly Youngren

OVERCOMING BRAIN TUMOR, STROKE
AND BROKEN RIBS

"Are you sure you told the doctor everything?" asked Bernie Merrifield's wife Clenet when he returned from his appointment.  Clenet is a nurse and she just knew that Bernie hadn't given the doctor the full picture.   She marched him back into the doctor's office several days later where further testing and an MRI revealed a tumor in his brain about the size of his fist.  By the next day, November 26, 2006, Bernie was on the operating table to have it removed.   It was a meningioma, which was benign and the surgery was a success. However, several days after this operation, Bernie suffered a stroke which left him physically impaired.  Eager to return to playing pickleball, Bernie was determined to work hard with the physical therapy team to regain his mobility and strength. 

Bernie had played pickleball for over 11 years since being introduced to it in Arizona. He had won many medals during the past years in various tournaments and really wanted to get into tournament shape again.   As luck would have it, about six weeks after his surgery, as he was leaving a luncheon, he slipped and fell, breaking 3 ribs. Despite the pain, he continued with his physical therapy.   Slowly, he improved.  One day, several months later, he finally felt strong enough to get out on the court - just to hit the ball around a bit.  Somehow, he could not resist the invitation to play a game and his body told him he was not ready. While going for a lob, he lost his balance and fell to the ground, hitting his head on the court. He wisely decided that his body needed more time and he needed to ease more slowly back into playing the game. 

Finally, in the summer of 2008 he was ready.  Bernie entered the Washington State Senior Games in Lakewood, Washington where he and his partner, Steve Escame won silver medals in Men's Doubles.  It was a real triumph of human spirit that so many obstacles and challenges had been overcome to enable Bernie to return to the sport that he loves.  Bernie says pickleball is a wonderful way to meet people and every pickleball player he has ever met has been really nice.  You also get all the benefits of a great physical workout without even feeling like you are exercising.   Bernie continues to improve each day, and at age 73 hopes to be playing pickleball for many more years.      

shared by: Fran at www.pickleballstuff.com

 

PICKING UP THE PACE
WITH A PACE MAKER

At the July 2008 Washington State Senior Games held at Lakewood Community Center in Lakewood, Washington, one of the competitors in the 85-89 year old Men's Singles event was Ed Johnstone.  He was not sure if he would be able to participate in the tournament because in the week prior to the event, he had a doctor's appointment. Apparently, he received clearance to play, and play he did.  Ed sprinted around the pickleball court with an equally nimble opponent.  In two games straight, Johnstone claimed victory over 85 year old Ken Gifford. Johnstone turned 87 this month. 

After receiving his gold medal, I walked out into the lobby with him and in a quiet corner, he lifted his shirt so I could see the outline of a pace-maker implanted beneath his skin.  "I had my first pace-maker in 1994 and the second one on 9/11/01."  He continued to tell me, "If anyone tells you they have a pace-maker and don't know if they should play pickleball anymore, well I just want you to know that pickleball is what keeps me alive."  

Ed has been playing pickleball for 8 years.  He has an extensive tennis background which includes a stint in the Navy during WWII.  When the Navy discovered that he was a tennis player, they sent him back to Alameda, CA to play in the 12th Naval District tennis tournament. There he won the Singles event, beating the favored Captain, and was promptly sent back overseas.  After serving in the Navy, Johnstone was a banker until his retirement at age 65.  To help make the transition from working to being retired, he decided to take up running marathons.   In the two years following his retirement, he ran 9 marathons in New York, Hawaii, Los Angeles and San Diego.  He and his wife Roe have 3 wonderful children and he gives much of the credit to Roe for how well they turned out and for providing a nurturing home life for them during the times he was away.  Ed's advice for staying in good shape is "never give up."

shared by: Fran at www.pickleballstuff.com