Pickles and Play
North Raleigh / Wake Forest

Pickles and Play
North Raleigh / Wake Forest

By Lane Ethridge
Pickles and Play

Why do I love this game so much – is it the indubitable sound of hitting a little yellow whiffle ball? The silly names like ‘Kitchen’ and ‘Erne’? Watching an octogenarian humble a 30-year old college athlete with her savvy and impeccable ball placement? Seeing some of the most brilliant people I know take months to learn how to truly keep score? The addictive hold it takes on us forcing us to eat, sleep and dream about it daily? The hundreds of $2 medals hanging in my closet from winning tournaments that cost me thousands of dollars to play?

Yes, to all of that, but that’s not really why.

Pickleball is an amazing sport and has changed my life, most importantly because of the people it has brought into it; I guess you could say my pickleball community is unmatched. One of my beloved pickleball friends passed away a little over a year ago. It reminded me that our ability to dink better than someone else doesn’t define us; whether or not we can hit an Ace isn’t is as important our willingness to ‘serve’ others in our communities; pulling a highlight reel Around The Post to win a game doesn’t matter if we don’t embody good sportsmanship to those around us.

Pickleball is a game that is more than the sport itself because we can all gain new perspective about life through what it can teach us;  when you’ve played with all you’ve got, regardless of the score or outcome, medal or early elimination, as most of the time we forget the shots or any individual points, we remember who we played with and the lessons we gained.

Trophies and medals eventually carry dust, but memories and experiences last forever.

So remember, even when we don’t feel like we are getting better, or we get frustrated with the height of our 3rd-shot drops, or become irritated that we can’t climb to the top of a local ladder or we didn’t medal in a recent tourney, keep in mind that we still have the privilege and ability to still go out and play the game we love, often with people we have come to love.

Pickleball makes us all feel alive and for those who aren’t anymore, ironically, they would die to play one more game, just one more time.

I don’t take for granted the ability to make a living doing what others would die for, and that not everyone has the luxury of doing at all.

This is why we opened a facility – to serve people who don’t even know they will need what it offers, who in turn will also bless others in ways they don’t know they’ll need. That is why focusing on community will be our #0-0-1 priority.

You are what everyone loves about pickleball.

Together, we are a great team.