For one divorcee in the Bay Area, pickleball was the perfect remedy for a broken heart. Newsweek covered the story of KT Ryan who found pickleball shortly after her divorce.
She could hear the familiar thwack-thwack of pickleball from her office window and decided to check it out. Ryan recalled her first day on the court "Pickleball was the first time I could really get out of my noisy head and live in the present. Screw meditation! I left that first day red-cheeked and smiling."
The struggle in her personal life left Ryan with a desire to hit something, HARD. The plastic ball was the perfect answer. Similarly, Major League Pickleball owner and renowned speaker, Brené Brown, notes mindfulness as her favorite part of pickleball. In an IG post last year she explained "The court might be the only place in the world I'm fully in the now."
Ryan highlighted the open play phenomenon that exists in pickleball. It's like a social mixer where you can put your paddle in the rack and get matched up with 3 new people. Three new people that could then become casual or even lifelong friends.
Usually you play one game with the group then approximately 15 min later you're paired with a brand new group, with all new possibilities. Bonds form through the competition and communities are being built everyday.
Players can find other like minded players. Whether you're goal is competition, socializing or improving there is a group of players looking for the same thing.
In the Bay Area, Ryan found another divorcee that was in a similar situation to her. They would play together late into evenings sometimes just hitting the ball back and forth and venting to one another.
Spending time at the courts was the most helpful thing for Ryan in her situation. Not only was she making new friends but also excercising and becoming more physically healthy. None of the other outlets she tried compared to pickleball. Not only did they not work, but they were also expensive or had negative health consequences.
For Ryan, like so many others, pickleball has been more than just a gym class game. It has helped her overcome a personal struggle and add value to her life.