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Pickleball Lives Here

Finding Pickleball: A Journey of Making it All Not Work

by Guest Author on

In a whirlwind of professional focus coupled with the chaos of motherhood, I, like so many others, found myself gradually fading into the background. The idea of picking up a new sport seemed like a distant dream, until the persistent buzz about pickleball began to follow me everywhere I went & in every news headline I read.

Pickleball – a word that had lingered on the fringes of my consciousness for years thanks to my Aunt, who had become an ardent player long before it became the trendy sensation it is today. She had learned the game at The Villages in Florida, back when the courts were filled with passionate enthusiasts and the pickleball craze was just beginning.

Life’s relentless pace had me continually saying, “someday I’ll give pickleball a shot.” But then came the pandemic, an unexpected pause in business travel and playdates.

I found myself considering my next career, and with my passion for golf and keeping women social as they age, I dived into the data to better understand the other growing sports.

Numbers never lie.

Stats painted a compelling picture: pickleball was the fastest-growing sport for three consecutive years and headlines about big-name investments in the game dominated the news cycles, solidifying its status as a cultural phenomenon.

As I stood at this crossroads, professionally transitioning from leading other peoples companies to entrepreneurship, the path ahead was clear.

My vision was to create a platform for women like me – ambitious, driven, and yearning for connections beyond the confines of work and family. A community that celebrated the social aspect of staying active while bonding over shared interests.

And so, I embarked on my pickleball journey, personally and professionally.

Taking up the sport was surprisingly accessible. Armed with a modest paddle I got online for $20 that landed on my doorstep in 24 hours, I texted my Aunt and finally took her up on her offer to get me in the game.

The camaraderie and the opportunity to meet new people revitalized me. With a decade of experience under her belt, my Aunt was my guide as I stepped onto the court.

What I discovered was a sport uniquely suited to women like me.

For urban dwellers, pickleball was a revelation – adaptable to any tennis court (much to tennis players' dismay), accommodating varying skill levels, and requiring a fraction of the time that other sports I enjoy, like golf, require.

Pickleball offered a quick, invigorating release in the midst of bustling city life.

Incorporating my children into the equation added an extra layer of complexity.

Equipped with additional paddles, we transformed the court into a playground. A modified version of the game, designed to suit the unpredictable moods of my little ones, blurred the lines between rules and spontaneity.

The new game became just getting the ball over the net. Keeping score on the child that has the most number of balls over the net encourages them and keeps the competition friendly between kids.

It was a great chance for me to practice my serve and different shots while they burned energy chasing the ball around the court.

The “free play” they demand each time is a great reminder to us adults that experimenting and creativity while playing can lead to fostering problem solving skills, or if nothing else, lots of laughs.

Read Next: Ageism From Outside Pickleball: What to Say When People Make Assumptions

So, to all those busy parents out there, nurturing careers, families, and dreams, there is never a good time to get outside your comfort zone.

As my journey with pickleball continues, it’s become more than just a sport – it’s a way to meet new people, continue to learn and show my kids that staying active and social is important at all ages.

Larissa Holmes is the co-founder of Coterie, a platform that redefines “athlete” for women. She is also the co-host of the forthcoming podcast, 2 Gay Moms. She is a passionate, but average, pickleball player that can’t seem to nail the drop shot. Find Larissa on Instagram and/or Twitter.

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