October 2023 was a really tough month for me–we lost our beloved dog of over 13 years to dreaded cancer. Leading up to the end, I was virtually house-bound, providing a version of “doggy hospice care.” As my furry daily exercise companion became weaker, our walks had shortened. I knew how the story would end and I also knew that I needed to make plans to get myself out of the house and moving again as the Minnesota winter set in. The solution: I joined a local sports/exercise club (LifeTime Fitness) with the intention of walking on their treadmills, taking exercise classes and checking out this thing called pickleball. While I’m an extrovert at heart, unphased to walk into social situations where I don’t know anyone, I’ve always been very insecure about my athleticism, or rather, lack thereof. But before I knew it, my husband had picked up a racket for me and I was signed up for a one-hour intro workshop. My membership included the chance to do two of these classes and then you’re set free to play with the beginners and the “Aurora Level”–the 55+ crowd.

Beginning in late 2023, I started going to pickleball twice a week…explaining each time that I’m still a beginner and asking for patience as I started to get a better sense for how the ball doesn’t bounce as high or as far as you think it will… how people hit with crazy nasty spins… or how the best place to aim is right at your opponent, etc. I’ve been at it now for almost 3 months and I think I’m hooked. When I play, I find I don’t want to be done… it always feels like I could play just one more game. I’m typically not on the winning team (or not yet) but I’m dreaming about it.I miss our dog tremendously… but pickleball has helped fill some of the void, gotten me out of the house and my heart rate pumping. And maybe, just maybe, I’m becoming more athletic!

Written by: Sarah

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