This is a blog post by a guest writer, Joel Rauch from Plainview, NY.
They say that the days can pass by slowly but the years go by quickly. As my wife, Fran and I entered our ‘Medicare years’, we realized that our social life was ebbing due to a variety of reasons. Friends moving to Florida, friends passing away and just letting friendships go due to a lack of energy as the aging process started to take its toll.
You wake up one morning and discover that your social life has taken a sudden hit. Where do the baby boomers find and develop new friendships at this stage of life?
I grew up in Middle Village, Queens playing every sport from basketball to roller hockey. I later taught 5th grade in Corona, Queens. I loved teaching but retired to care for my granddaughter in 2012. Three grandchildren later I was looking for something new to fill my time.
One day I saw an ad for Pickleball at the JCC in Plainview. I had heard about it from a friend in Florida and since I loved sports from the day I left the womb, I figured I’d try it out. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
For those of you who do NOT know what pickleball is, it has nothing to do with pickles! It is a paddle game combining elements of badminton, table tennis and tennis. Pickleball is played all over Long Island and is currently the fastest growing game in the country. Commack, Huntington, Bethpage and Bayshore are also main pickleball hubs. However, the game itself was just a precursor of what was to follow. We met the most incredible, wonderful and friendly people who were in same boat as we were. There began a ‘chemical vibe’ that was hard to describe.
I have become a pickleball coordinator at the Plainview Y and volunteer time two days and two evenings a week. It is amazingly fulfilling. I get to see first hand how beginners become advanced beginners and then on to intermediate players. It’s very similar to watching my students progress in reading, math and science.
Us, ‘Picklers’ have developed a bond that started three years ago and has gotten stronger ever since. I can’t imagine what my life would be without them now. I’ve penned a song that perfectly describe how we all feel about this new experience. It’s entitled “We’ve Got Us”!
We talk about everything. Grandchildren, what we are watching on Netflix or Amazon, favorite restaurants, hopes, dreams, and especially doctor visits and our aches and pains.
What started out as a social situational dilemma morphed into a dream come true. They say it’s never too late. There are friends out there that you just haven’t met…yet. Pickleball was the means to a very happy end.
We hope you enjoyed this guest article! Want to hear more from Joel Rauch? Check out his children's book, What Would I Be?, on Amazon here.