Last May, when our HOA decided to change 2 tennis courts into 6 state-of-the-art pickleball courts, something wonderful began to happen in the Whitewater Creek (WWC) subdivision. Already an exclusive gated community, the neighborhood has become a dynamic, and exciting refuge where people are actually spending quality time outdoors with their neighbors.
Created in the mid-’60s in Washington State, Pickleball has become one of America’s fastest-growing sports. That can be attributed to the ease of learning to play and the fact that you don’t need to spend a small fortune on equipment to get started. Played on a court similar in size to badminton and using a typical tennis-style net, it can be played both indoors or out. The balls are plastic with holes, like what used to be called wiffle balls. The only thing you usually have to provide yourself is a paddle, which typically can be purchased for less than $100.
Upon learning in January that the community budget included building six pickleball courts, I began to envision what that could mean for our community. Having played for two years and loving the game, my hope was this would be an opportunity for neighbors to get outdoors, have fun, and make new friends. Working with several of our neighbors we were able to set up classes to teach newbies the game. We invited professional teachers from the local pickleball club and even set up a pickleball social event.
The response has been amazing! Even though at times we have had to persuade and cajole some neighbors into trying pickleball, our persistence has paid off. A Whitewater Creek pickleball group has formed consisting of at least twenty-five dedicated players who spend as much time as they possibly can regardless of the heat or cold. Playing, laughing, and getting to know each other’s lives, families, and cultures. There is excitement and enthusiasm in WWC as people have discovered their neighbors and this fun-packed game. The pickleball group is so bonded that we've even decided to get team t-shirts sponsored by businesses of some of the club members!
Why are people so eager to play? It is great fun, but also an opportunity to socialize, be outdoors, reconnect with spouses, and connect differently with neighbors. Pickleball Friends player, Bonnie Jandhyala, sums it up this way. “Pickleball has changed my life…..it went from mundane to exciting and fun. We are making new friends and as soon as we finish one session, we start thinking about the next.”
The WWC pickleball friends continue to grow. A new beginners class was held in September. Our vision is to involve as many neighbors as we can because it really turns a subdivision into a neighborhood.
"Pickleball has changed my life" - Bonnie Jandhyala
"As soon as we finish one session, we start thinking about the next."