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In a Pickle

Success in the kitchen takes on a whole new meaning.

Pickleball may have a funny name, but its fans don’t take their game lightly; locally and nationwide it seems the sport is taking the world by storm. Although the origins of pickleball can be traced to the mid 1960’s, it has exploded in popularity in recent years, and the good news is that whether you’re a fitness freak or a workout wannabe, options abound for finding your fit. Options abound in Lee’s Summit and around the metro for individual play, organized leagues, and competitive tournaments.

Loving the physical, social and mental benefits it brings, local businesswoman and pickleball enthusiast Felicia Douglas has taken such a shine to the sport that she plays with friends, other couples, and in tournaments. “I play almost every day. There are three dedicated groups of ladies I play with for two hours a day, three days a week.  The other days I play evenings at open play or Saturday morning open play,” she says.

A lifelong athlete, Douglas participated in sports in high school and college, so staying in shape as an adult has always been a priority. “I’ve played pickleball almost four years.  Basketball was my main sport growing up, and pickleball has been the first sport that gives me the same desire to compete and play hard. I find that many good players come from so many different sports; tennis is the main one but many skilled players I visit with about their background come from racquetball, ping pong, volleyball and softball and others.”

What started as a hobby has clearly turned into a passion for Douglas, as she has added playing in competitive tournaments to her pickleball resume. Having participated in a number of tournaments for fun, this summer she will compete in her first USA Pickleball sanctioned tournament, playing with a high school friend. “One of my best high school friends is joining me for this tournament.  She currently lives in Edmond, OK and is a very solid player. I am excited to see how we fare in our age group.“

Whether you aspire to compete or simply want to check it out, those in and around Lee’s Summit who are interested in trying out this fun new activity have a variety of choices when it comes to learning about the sport, according to Douglas.  “I would advise anyone interested in trying the sport to borrow a paddle from a friend or the Parks and Rec facilities have loaner paddles.  Once you get hooked, you can then invest in a good paddle.  Scheel’s has a great selection and their staff is helpful.  I believe beginner lessons and leagues are the best way to truly learn the game. I started as a beginner with a gal that does a terrific job with beginners. I highly recommend checking out Susie B’s Pickleball Craze page on Facebook for those looking to learn about the game.”

She encourages everyone to give pickleball a shot, as it provides a number of benefits. “Not only is pickleball a fun and social activity but it is a HUGE calorie burn and fantastic exercise,” says Douglas, “but the number of new friends I have made in this sport is the very best part.  We do so much socially through pickleball. I am so thankful my husband loves to play too and we almost every Friday night play pickleball and go out to eat afterwards with our friends,” says Douglas.

Young or young at heart, pickleball appeals to the masses and is a game that can be enjoyed for decades. “The number of amazing players in their 70’s and 80’s is astounding.  As a 61-year-old, I am hopeful I can continue this sport for many years to come,”

For more information on pickleball locations in Lee’s Summit, visit https://cityofls.net/Portals/0/Files/Parks/Pickleball%20Schedule.pdf?ver=2019-01-25-122900-747

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