Who’s Shocked I Enjoy Pickleball?

Me playing pickleball

When I was in middle school, my dad enforced his personal policy that I must learn how to play a team sport. If you know/knew me since I was a chunky babe (I believe I shot out of the womb at nearly 9 pounds and that’s one reason I’ll never have children), you’d know that I have never in my life been an active or fit girl. When I started attending Kamehameha in fourth grade, I was absolutely appalled to learn that we had to run a timed one mile every semester and do a traumatizing pacing test in the gym and that my teeny tiny classmates would be SPEEDY LITTLE B’S. Can you imagine my 106 pound 9-year-old ass in a blue polo and uniform skirt trudging behind everyone else on a hot ass field in between Math and English classes? And can you imagine my shock when our PE teachers announced our weight and body fat in front of our classmates every year from elementary through high school? AND can you imagine I had to swim lengths of the ocean freshman year (TIMED), complete a TIMED biathlon sophomore year, and run TIMED 10ks junior and senior year (especially when I had vertigo my senior year and my PE teacher said I’d still have to run and try not to fall over) before settling for Ds in PE every year? I don’t have PTSD from Kamehameha PE. I will move on. Needless to say…I have not been athletic. And when my dad told me I had to choose a team sport to play starting in middle school, I followed the crowd aka my sister and started playing tennis! I enjoyed tennis in the beginning as I had a couple of friends on the team and I already knew and enjoyed my coaches Randy and Barona since they already coached my sister. However, after many angry weekend tennis practices with my sister and dad that resulted in each of us grouchy at each other, and after playing enough doubles with teammates who lobbed every single ball, I decided I would be the team manager. Who wouldn’t love to tell the girls which court they were assigned to while eating cookies and not arguing with dad? LOL. Thankfully after my angsty middle school years, I was allowed to “just” do marching band—as if we weren’t marching for 3+ hours every day in the hot sun and being forced to run laps and do pushups for existing and planking on the scorching track for several minutes because we screwed up—so I could quit my tennis era. I’ve loved tennis immensely since my tenure as player/team manager *insert salute emoji here* and have of course worked for the Baylor Women’s and Men’s Tennis teams in different capacities and now write about their teams for Our Daily Bears, but I haven’t gotten back on the court in many, many moons. However, I, like literally everyone else over toddler age now enjoy the fun sport of pickleball (I think that’s what this post was supposed to be about in the beginning)!

My parents once attempted pickleball back in the day seemingly before the whole world caved to the pressure of small paddles and a shorter court, and while they enjoyed it, they haven’t picked up the paddles/rackets(?) since. My Hawaiʻi bffs (specifically Kai’olu and Mikayla) had played pickleball multiple times and encouraged our participation before we engaged in the sport in a group setting for Mikayla’s birthday (as seen on TV). I often ignored Kai’olu’s badgering, but when we played as a friend group, it was the most fun I’ve ever had playing a sport ever in life! Of course we didn’t follow specific rules and rotated between 2 and 3 players on each side, but getting to put my old tennis “skills” to work in a simpler way was so much fun. Mikayla, Brandon, and I recently played again just the three of us, although Mik and I spent most of the time hitting one on one while Brandon took hilarious and unattractive (@ me) action shots for posterity. I love walking and Pilates (and now light weight lifting) as my workouts of choice, but I’ll add a long round of pickleball to the list because it’s so damn fun getting to run back and forth, playing an easier version of tennis, and engaging in active time outside with my friends. If only my 9-year-old self had a little self esteem and a little paddle.