“Friday Night Fever”

Friday Night Pickleball Fever!

Jack Bonawitz, BAPA Vice-President

 When Nick and Tami sent out an email saying that they would be playing at the Sawtooth Middle School courts on Friday evening, I thought they were going to be two lonely people. In fact, I felt sorry for them and decided that I should go out there to keep them company. I was pleasantly surprised when my wife and son said they were going, but I still figured there would be five of us who would play a few games and then go home.

 Well, I was ecstatic when I drove up at six o’clock and saw a half-dozen people there already. And, as I unloaded chairs and paddles and water, more and more people arrived. At the peak, we had at least twenty-two people playing on four courts.

 The most surprising part of this was that the players weren’t all the usual hard-core, play-anywhere-at-anytime players: we had some of those, but we also had newbies of all ages, snowbirds, pickleball class graduates, senior citizens, people who had worked all day, and one young man who showed lots of potential. Some games were over quickly, but many went to 7-5. Some players were a bit hazy on that whole “kitchen” thing, and some players were able to cite chapter and verse of the rules. Some experienced players (like me) couldn’t seem to hit those corners while their beginner opponents couldn’t seem to miss them. In short, it was a great evening and a real learning experience.

 So what did I learn? Well, first and foremost, pickleball has tremendous appeal for people of all ages. Second, if people will come out on a Friday evening when the temperature is 92, perhaps we need to plan more events like that—if you plan it, they will come. Third, we won’t grow as a club if we don’t offer playing opportunities that fit into peoples’ schedules. Fourth, getting to know people and making new friends means new members for the club. And new members for the club means we have a larger voice in creating and maintaining places to play. If you see a new face, make a new friend. Finally, taking a chance—as Nick and Tami did—can really pay off.

 But that’s just what I learned. What about others? Whether you were there or not, what did you learn? And what could we do to make the experience better? You can send comments to me directly (jbonawitz@q.com) or add you comments to the blog.

 In the meantime, keep your paddles up!

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