“I was getting my social interaction at the grocery store. I think pickleball saved me."
“Washington was quite strict with their COVID restrictions. There was no place to go. I am a social person and I couldn’t see people. I couldn’t even go to the health club and workout like I was used to doing. I was getting my social interaction at the grocery store. I felt like I was in prison and Washington’s rain and gray clouds didn’t help.
I started settling into depression. I was so depressed that I actually felt I needed to get counseling and see a psychiatrist and get on some antidepressants. Then a friend of mine said, ‘Why don't you take up pickleball? It'll get you out of the house. It'll help with depression. It's the only thing they haven't closed.’
Well, they originally closed the pickleball courts, but then they realized they could open them, so they did open them a month or two later. But, you know how everything was -- open and close, open and close -- and they didn't know what to open and what to close. But they opened up the pickleball courts, thank goodness, so I started learning how to play and my friend let me borrow a paddle.
I think pickleball saved me because it took me out of my depression and provided exercise, which I felt I desperately needed. It was something to look forward to every day. I could get up, I could go socialize with people, we could social distance, we could play on a pickleball court, and we could talk and feel like there was some social interaction, which I was missing.
The public courts were at the high school and since in-person school was not in session, we could play pickleball on the courts every day, even on school days. I started playing on a regular basis and I met so many people! In fact, I met more people than I'd ever met even though I’d had a house there for probably 20 years. People were craving the social interaction and you just felt this kinship. People were so friendly. It’s like they valued just talking to somebody, you know, just like I did. So when we weren't playing pickleball, we’d sit around in chairs and talk to each other. It was just really neat.
It became such an addictive sport and it was good for me. I got in shape and lost 20 pounds. I have never been in better shape than I am now because of pickleball, and I've never met such good friends as I have since pickleball. So it really did save me and it's been a love of mine ever since I discovered it.
As winter approached, I was supposed to head south in my motorhome, as I usually do that time of the year. This time, I only stayed in resorts that had pickleball courts because I didn’t want to be stuck with nothing to do. I’m used to going to museums or shows or festivals or concerts, but all of those are out because of COVID. I love to dance, but we can’t do that either. And so, if you are stuck in a box, looking at the four walls, it gets to be pretty lonely.
Suffice it to say that I have been staying at pickleball resorts this whole winter and meeting tons of people having the best experiences ever. And as things are opening up, I have been enjoying that. I hope to get my shot pretty soon and hopefully everybody else will too and we can proceed to get to a more normal type life.”
-- Sue (March 2021)