Pickled! by
(306 Stories)

Prompted By Hobbies

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For years I worked on my tennis game but I seemed to have plateaued somewhere between advanced beginner and intermediate.    I blame my parents of course for my lack of prowess as they apparently valued piano over tennis lessons for their kids.  (And by the way after all that money spent,  and those fights with my mother over practicing,  all I can play now are a few opening bars of Fur Elise.)

Then in my 40s I decided to really get serious and joined a tennis club with my friend Shel.   We meant to play at least one night a week,  but although we enjoyed it,  neither of us seemed to have a really strong commitment.   Shel was an elementary school principal and when I’d call her at work her secretary would hear my voice and ask if I was cancelling tennis again.

But after we both retired,  and theoretically would have our days free,  we vowed to play more often and to finally get really good.   Yet somehow we both got busy with other stuff,  and after a few years we decided to drop the club membership and play ad hoc.

Then my husband and I bought a weekend house in a country community that has both indoor and outdoor tennis courts,   and I thought at last I’d have the chance to really rev up my game!    But getting into a regular tennis game wasn’t easy,   serious tennis players,    I soon learned,  aren’t particularly eager to welcome new ones –  and especially ones who’ve plateaued somewhere between advanced beginner and intermediate.

And when I did find a regular game,  it was obvious that I was among the weaker players,  and after a few seasons I was unceremoniously dropped.

Then I discovered pickleball.   I found that I play it far better than tennis and enjoy it far more,  and best of all I was warmly welcomed into a regular women’s game.

As you may know,  the object of pickleball,  like tennis,  is to get the ball over the net,  but the court is shorter,   the racket is smaller,   the ball is bigger, and the game is faster and much more fun.

Now every morning if it doesn’t rain I pursue my new hobby.   So don’t call me between 9:30 and 11:00,  I’ll be out on the court with the other addicts.

– Dana Susan Lehrman 

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: Pickleball
Characterizations: , funny, right on!


  1. John Shutkin says:

    Great story, Dana. As you know from my own prior stories, I am a life long tennis player myself, so I can really identify. In fact, I was just lamenting to myself a few days ago the fact that I will never improve on my tennis; the best I can do is maintain my current level for as long as possible. Of course, that is true with so much in our lives at our age.

    And I also started playing pickleball early last year, just before COVID hit and everything shut down. I’m not sure if I will resume, but for all the wrong reasons, because it is a great game for us aging tennis players. However, having joined an email “blast” with the other pickleball players in our town the last year, I’ve learned that their main goal is to take over all the tennis courts in the town and convert them to pickleball courts. I could never betray my original sport in that way.

    • Ah yes John, in our CT community we had that fight too! But as there are over a dozen outdoor tennis courts here the tennis lobby relented and one outdoor court was converted into four pickle courts.

      But the battle continued over the three indoor courts, until finally one court was set up with a portable net and taped rather than painted lines, and limited hours for pickleball.

      As you can imagine during those fights any semblance of sportsmanship was AWOL!

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    I know SO many pickleball devotees, Dana. Glad you’ve become one. It sounds like you are having a great time and I’m sure it is a great way for you to stay active and have fun. Good for you.

  3. Marian says:

    Three cheers for pickleball, Dana. Sound like a lot more fun than struggling to maintain the tennis. I understand what you and others mean about that odd place between advanced beginner and intermediate. It describes where I’ve been at with so many sports!

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    Pickleball is insanely popular here, and why not if it is so much fun and you can play it your whole life? Good on you for persisting.

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    So many people have told us that pickleball is great fun. Your story has inspired me to give it a try.

  6. Jeff Gerken says:

    Like John S., I have been a tennis player ever since high school (I earned a varsity letter, although our team never won a match), and have continued to play to the present day. We have had the same battle here with the pickle-ballers. We only have two tennis courts in our community, and the homeowner’s association has given in to the p-ballers at every opportunity, so both courts now have p-ball lines painted in blue in addition to the regular white tennis lines. I’ll talk more about this, and about tennis, in my own story.

  7. Suzy says:

    Dana, I have just come back from a family reunion where I played pickleball with my sister and my nephew-in-law. They are both serious players, but were very patient with me. I may continue playing at home when the weather cools down a little. Not much fun to play when it is 100 degrees.

  8. You’ve piqued my interest, Dee. No promises, but I Googled pickleball courts in my area and might at least go have a look-see! I was never any good at tennis, but I’m pretty good at ping-pong!

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