The Midsters Podcast

9. Play Pickleball!

July 06, 2022 Tish, Ellen and Felicia Season 1 Episode 9
The Midsters Podcast
9. Play Pickleball!
Show Notes Transcript


In this week's episode, Tish shares her pickleball obsession with Ellen.  She'll tell us why this easy-to-learn and inexpensive sport is a great way for you to get or stay active and meet new people. By the end of this episode, you'll know why the sport is called pickleball too. 

This week's obsessions:
Tish: Movie Parties with friends
Ellen:  Aperol Spritz - the drink of the summer

Tish recommends this pickleball set for beginners


Tish Woods:

Today's topic is about the fastest growing sport in the United States with a very funny name pickleball. And once you start playing it, I am going to tell you, you're going to become absolutely obsessed with playing. And I also want to tell you how the sport got hit very crazy name. But you're going to have to hang with me to the end, because I want to save that for the last little bit.

Ellen Gustafson:

Well, I'm excited to learn how pickleball got its name for sure. Tish, and I do you know, you're obsessed because I have heard you talk about it. And you've even played a little bit with me to try and teach to me. So very exciting topic. But let's hold your pickleball obsession just for a minute until we get to our obsessions for the week. Why don't you go first?

Tish Woods:

Okay, so my obsession for this week is the new movie Elvis. And I'm telling you, it was fantastic. Then again, anytime Tom Hanks is involved in a movie, I'm telling you, I'm always a fan. Him and Ron Howard. Anything they're involved in. It's always so good. But the big thing about this was I've been going to the movies with big groups of friends. So it's it's I feel like a teenager again or something but we organize we make it a whole event. So I even do a Tee shirt to go I had my Elvis tee shirt and I had it all sparkled out. But a big group of us went to see Elvis together and it was so much fun.

Ellen Gustafson:

Well, you hooked me into going to Elvis. I'm going to be going this weekend. But I have to say your shirt was darling. It was so cute and glittery and sparkly. So I know you did a t shirt for the movie event you did before this one too, right?

Tish Woods:

We went to see Top Gun. Okay, it was another favorite. And one of my favorite quotes from Top Gun is talk to me goose. I had a "Talk to me Goose" tee shirt. Everyone's like, Where'd you get it? Where it you got it? I actually made it myself. So there you go.

Ellen Gustafson:

They must know how crafty you are because you are crafty with a glue gun with decoupage. You name it, you weren't good at it.

Tish Woods:

So I'll have to post a couple of the pictures of the tee shirt. And again, it's just kind of taking just a simple thing about going out to the movies and just taking it to the next level with your friends making it a little event thing to happen. The next one that and we already have it planned at Elvis, we were talking about how we're all going to go together to see Where the Crawdads Sing. And it's a book a bunch of us have read. Yeah, I think we all loved that book. I'm excited to see that movie too. So Ellen, you know what my obsession is. Now. What's your obsession for the week?

Ellen Gustafson:

Well, my obsession this week is a set my favorite summer drink called an Aperol Spritz. And I think we're both familiar with it. But if others aren't, it is champagne mixed with Aperol which is kind of a bitter liquor, a splash of soda and an orange wedge and you have to serve it in a giant goblet. wineglass you know, it's part of part of what, what the drink is all about. But it's a really beautiful color. It smells great and fresh and citrusy. And I just love it. So here's to the Aperol Spritz.

Tish Woods:

Oh, I love the Aperol Spritz had gone on a vacation to Italy last year. And every afternoon. Right around noon. Oh, is it too early to have a spritz? Is it too early to have a spritz? So if you've never tried one, definitely try it. It is so nice and bright and refreshing. So on a really warm summer day. I'm telling you, it's it's it'll be your new go to drink. Yeah,

Ellen Gustafson:

it is. So from one obsession though to another, let's get to the pickleball. You know, before you started playing, which I think probably was a year, year and a half ago, it really wasn't a sport I'd heard much about so just give us an overview of what Pickleball is.

Tish Woods:

So a lot of you may have heard the name and not understood what it is. But if tennis, badminton and ping pong had a child, it would be called pickleball. So it kind of combines a few different sports on a very scaled down tennis court. Okay, so what I love is in the space of where you would have maybe two times tennis courts, you can have six to eight pickleball courts. So it is definitely a sport that can accommodate so many more people in the same amount of space. And then the rackets that you use are different than tennis rackets. So it's more like an oversized ping pong paddle. And then you play with a wiffle ball. Okay? So, most Pickleball is played with doubles. So you have two people on each side. You can play a singles. And sometimes I like to do that to get a little bit more exercise because it's quite the workout. But what I really like is it's very social sport.

Ellen Gustafson:

Right? I know you have many groups that you play with or that you can play with, right? Yes, yes. Can you tell us a little bit about where and how this sport started?

Tish Woods:

Because it's so yeah, this the sport has actually been around since 1965. happens to be a very fine year, year I was born.

Ellen Gustafson:

Great Year.

Tish Woods:

So you had these two men, Joe Pritchard, and Bill Bell, who lived on Bainbridge Island, Washington. I actually lived out near Bainbridge Island. So I know Bainbridge Island I used to, for my first son. I used to do Lamaze classes out in Bainbridge Island. So I know this islands beautiful. But anyway, they, they were in the summertime, looking to do a sport, do something with the family keep the family busy. And they went to set up to do a badminton game. But of course, they couldn't find any other badminton paraphernalia, and they were missing stuff. So these two improvised and they took ping pong paddles and a wiffle ball. And they use the badminton net. But then they decided when they realized that the wiffle ball had a nice bounce off the concrete. They realized, hey, let's lower the net. So instead of using that tall, badminton net, they lowered it to 36 inches so they could get that bouncing action in. So they played for over the weekend. And then they introduced the game to a third friend, Barney McCollum. And so these three dads came together for the sole purpose of just having something to do with their families. And they started making rules and kind of just building the game from scratch and young grassroots. So in 1972, okay, so a couple years in the game actually started to gain some steam out in the Pacific Northwest. And they actually incorporated to pickleball Inc, was actually created that

Ellen Gustafson:

fascinating I, I really thought perhaps it came from the East Coast. I don't know why but grew out of tennis, you know that it was something that kind of morphed either out of tennis or badminton, not from three guys trying to entertain their kids in their family. And I had no idea that it's been around that long. I think really a fascinating background. So tell me a little bit Do you play on the outside? Do you play inside? Do you use modified a tennis court tennis? How do you do it?

Tish Woods:

So I actually I play with actually three different groups. So I do play with one group that does play indoors. It's slightly different kind of ball that use but same type of rackets and same type of size of the court and whatnot. But I also play with two different groups outdoors. I like playing with different groups, because it just gives you a different dynamic, and it challenges your game. But what's also really nice is with the, like the indoor one, so more in the winter time, it's great because you're not affected by rain, and you know, different elements going on. And you can typically get three to four courts on a basketball court. So that's how they're done indoors. It's usually on a basketball court, and you just these set up these portable nets. So that that's been great. So with the outdoor ones on the space that you would have, like I said, two tennis courts, you can get six to eight pickleball courts in there. So it just accommodates so many more people, which is so great.

Ellen Gustafson:

That's amazing. So how did you get started? I think it was part of your fitness journey that you've been on? Yes.

Tish Woods:

So I had really, when the kids were younger, I had done USTA tennis, and I really loved it. But when the kids got to an age where I'm, you know, driving between all their sports, my organized sports, took a backseat, you know, I just didn't have the time that I could devote to being at different places. So, as Liam started driving, my youngest started driving himself to his own sports, and I didn't have to go to all these practices, and that he was he needed to attend. I considered going back to tennis, tennis. At that time, I was heavier. Tennis was really tough on my joints. When I had played years before, a lot of times, that was a concern for me. What I started hearing from all these friends of mine who had started to play pickleball, was it was so much more less impact on the joints. So a good friend of mine said, I'm taking a lesson do you want to come with me? And that's all it took one lesson and I was hooked. So that was about 10 months ago. And I think I play three to five times a week at this point. That was amazing. For I think I'm addicted. Yeah. In fact, I'm so into it that one of the ladies that I play with Kelly, she, her and I are going to do a fundraiser for the Susan B. Komen. They're having a 30 games of pickleball in the month of July. And Kelly and I have decided that we're going to do 30 games in one day. And we're going to invite people to come play against us in each of these games and just kind of raise money for breast cancer research.

Ellen Gustafson:

That's amazing. Tish, I, I think you can do 30 games in a day, even yourself because you love it so much. Right? Yes. Yes. It's great to incorporate a fundraiser, especially for breast cancer, because I think many people know I am a breast cancer survivor. So it's always near and dear to me when people are raising money for for that cause. It's such a fast paced game to from what I hear you talking about, right? That's one of the things that you really enjoy about it.

Tish Woods:

Well, it was funny, because over the holidays, my middle son came to visit and he's a tennis player. And I kept asking him, Sean, come and play pickleball with mom. And he kept putting me off and putting me off. And he finally said, I don't want to play that old people sport. Hey, go. You know, one of the fastest growing groups that I see out on the courts are 30 year old guys. Like there's a lot of young people playing. And I said where the 30 year old guys go, the 30 year old girls are gonna start to follow. But so he finally said, Okay, I'll go play with you. And we got over there. I have a new pickleball fan. He loved it. He loved the fast pace of the shots, you know, the tennis is you hit it, and they return it. And then you hit it. And it's just it's just a much slower pace of the returns where pickleball it can start going really fast. And he absolutely loved it. So that was it was so much fun, that he enjoyed something that I'm passionate about. But I see a lot of families on the courts, because you can get little kids playing with adults. A couple of the ladies that that I play with one of them brings her teenage daughter. So it's just great when you can see that intergenerational sports and there's not a whole lot of sports you can do that way. It's true.

Ellen Gustafson:

And I I'm kind of curious, like there's not as much running. So do you think that's one of the reasons seniors and maybe older folks mid stirs like to play? You know that it's you're able to have that interaction of the sport but not so much running?

Tish Woods:

I think there is a little less running, you can get into situations where you are moving a lot because I can tell you we're sweating up a storm. But I think it's twofold. I think not only is it less impact, because there's less long runs where you're doing a jarring stop. And that part of it as well as it's much more social than tennis. So I had said to my son Sean, when we went there, I kind of warned him. I said, Now Sean, this is a very social sport. And he goes you keep saying this. I don't understand what you mean. I said Okay, so as soon as we get there, this gentleman sees us walk up. And he goes, are you all here to play with somebody? And my son, Sean goes, No. He said, Okay, can I play with you? And my son, my son was shocked. He's like, ah, and I said, Well, now he's never played before. He's a tennis player. And tennis players just has a very easy transition into the sport. So it's, it's if you've ever played tennis, it's very easy to learn Pickleball for you, but he said, Well warm him up. Let me see. And I'm warm Sean up and the guy goes, yep, I'm going to play with you all. And when we left, I said, Sean, have you ever had anybody, when you went to play tennis, invite them into your game, invite themselves into your game. And he never, he said, I see what you mean about being social. So it's a kind of sport and it depends on the area you're in. So I play at one place where you put your rackets up on in the in these holders, and the next four people play, you didn't have to come with those people. So it's this, it's this rotation. And I love playing there sometimes, because you play new people, and it challenges you in different ways. And then there's a one that I play it closer to home. And it's an organized group of friends. And I like playing with them too, because it's a little bit more social. So, but it's definitely a different sport than most because there was one day that I was playing, and this girl shows up. She didn't know anybody there. And she said, I heard I could just come and put my paddle up. And I could get rotated into play. And she was able to meet all these people.

Ellen Gustafson:

I think that's great. And I think you know, I'm So it was great. starting pickleball. Next week, I'm starting a six week clinic, here in my town, and I don't have any friends here that are playing, which is kind of shocking. But I do feel like it's the kind of thing I did play tennis at one time. And you know that I'll be able to meet people and get out. And I know that a few towns away, there's maybe four or five pickleball courts, and they have a lot of pickup, you know, where you can just come and play. And I think, you know, when you say it's social, it's also great, I think for midsters that want to be out and be more social to just take a quick clinic and get out there. What do you say to that?

Tish Woods:

It's a great way to meet people. So if when you go to one your class, what you're going to find Ellen more than likely, is the people that you take these lessons with, you will continue to play with. And as you grow and get better, then you're going to you know, maybe meet other people that know how to play. But I started playing with people who I took lessons with initially. It's kind of that, you know, that automatic group of you're all about at the same level.

Ellen Gustafson:

Yeah. I know. I mean, funny story is when we were at our last college reunion down in Tampa, you brought some rackets, paddle ball rackets and I think one of our other friends did and we decided to go to a center like a, you know, it was part of the community, a community center, because they had a bunch indoor it was going to be indoors. Yes. Because it was very hot. And we all jumped in cars and went over and everyone was so excited. But let me tell you, those seniors at that community center, we're not going to let the eight of us on those pickleball courts. I mean, no, no way.

Tish Woods:

It was packed. It was definitely packed. I think Florida is just one of those areas that has a lot of players. When I went up to Buffalo, it wasn't it wasn't nearly as popular up there. In the Carolinas, it's growing so fast. There's fights over converting tennis courts into pickleball courts. And a lot of like, you know, avid tennis players don't like the pickleball because they're losing their court space. But I'll give you a great example. So I went over we were going to play really early because it gets so hot in South Carolina. We played last weekend at seven o'clock in the morning. And the six pickleball courts were packed and there were 10 people waiting to play. And the tennis courts were empty

Ellen Gustafson:

That's unbelievable.

Tish Woods:

Ya so we had 24 people playing 10 people waiting and the tennis courts were empty. So we are eying those tennis courts have been converted were we Been trying to, you know, reach out to the local jurisdictions. But it just, it just allows more people to participate, you know, because tennis tends to be yes, you can play doubles. But more people play singles in tennis. So instead of having 24 people playing, there's enough for four people playing or eight at the most so you can see. But the other thing is, it's a very inexpensive sport to start. So you can get, you can pick up a pickup a brand new pickleball paddle for like, $40. You know, as you get good, you know, you can kind of upgrade your paddle and stuff like that. But you can really start at $40 for a paddle, you know, like $10 for a couple of the balls. And they recommend you use like a volleyball or court shoe. I don't even do that I kind of just use my regular sneakers and whatnot. But I think, you know, I need to upgrade my sneakers. But it's for very low cost, you can start the sport. So that's another big thing for people that don't want to invest like, you know, if you go to start playing golf, where, you know, there's the grounds that you know, the rain, you got a cart, and then you know, the green fees, and the clubs can cost you hundreds of dollars, and it can get really expensive. So it's very affordable.

Ellen Gustafson:

Yeah. And something you can do with your partner, your husband, you know, or like what you were saying on your own too, right. So I think that flexibility is really nice about the sport.

Tish Woods:

Now I know and this is kind of funny, and we saw things differently. You one time had somebody who wanted to date you that was like pickleball, pickleball, pickleball. And you were like, No, we are not having our first date on Pickleball.

Ellen Gustafson:

Oh, my gosh, I can't believe I totally forgot about that.

Tish Woods:

Oh, yes, that was funny. And I'm

Ellen Gustafson:

not getting that message. Was he not getting the message? You were like he is not getting the message.

Tish Woods:

And I'm like, That's my dream date. Yeah, let's go play pickleball. I've had a couple of pickleball dates. Yes.

Ellen Gustafson:

Needless to say, we did not have a second date because I think he only want to pickleball dates.

Tish Woods:

Oh,

Ellen Gustafson:

well. I know. It's just I think the sport to play. I just want to say like, Why do you think people are so obsessed with it, because it really does seem like an obsession for a lot of folks.

Tish Woods:

It really is. It's like once you start playing, it's all you can talk about. It's all you know, and it's so funny, I have another friend who I keep begging her to learn how to play. And she hasn't yet. And now she feels everyone's just like, she's not going to be able to catch up. And I'm like you can let's go. I'm going to teach you how to play. So you can you know, common play. But I but again, I think there's so many parts to it. One. It's fast and fun. It's super easy to learn. You don't have to be like this amazing athlete to be able to play. It's inexpensive to start, it's a great way to get some exercise, meet new people. And it is so much easier on the body as we go into her more graceful years. So I just want to encourage you to go out, find an introductory lesson or stop by one of these courts and ask, they have what they call pickleball ambassadors, people who are supposed to be associated with a court system that try to encourage other people learn how to play. So you can always stop by a court and say do you all have a pickleball ambassador, they usually run clinics that teach people how to play or encourage people or they can hook you up with somebody who's really good at it and can teach. But I can encourage all the ministers to get in there and start dinking, which is what they call that. But there was one other thing there was one other thing I promised at the beginning of our session

Ellen Gustafson:

you did and I think we want to know where the name pickleball came from.

Tish Woods:

Okay, so the third dad that got brought into, you know, creating this game, Barney McCollum, he had a dog guess what the dog's name was? Pickles the dog's name was pickles, and pickles used to steal the balls and run out off with them. So can you can you not hear them yelling? Pickles dropped the ball. Pickles dropped the ball. I can just hear them yelling it on Bainbridge Island now. That's, that is where they say the name pickleball came from has nothing to do with pickles. Except maybe Pickles the dog.

Ellen Gustafson:

Wild. Absolutely not what I thought you were gonna say here on the origin. But again, I thought it was an East Coast sport that came from tennis or badminton. So I've learned a lot here about pickleball right before I start my introductory classes next week. Wow.

Tish Woods:

Well, I'm like I said, I'm just encouraging everyone. Find a new hobby. Find something you want to learn to do? Find something that you're going to learn. You're going to be able to go and meet new people. Just get out there and this is not intimidating. I'm going to tell you if you want to start somewhere. This a great place to start would be pickleball.

Ellen Gustafson:

That's right. So start dinking midsters. All right, till next time minsters.