If you build it…they will play
It’s a January winter in the hills outside Las Vegas in Henderson. The weather can be a beautiful sunny day in the 60’s or a cool one with wind and darting sunlight. It doesn’t much matter to Anthem seniors who play pickleball at Liberty Center Pickleball Courts. For them, pickleball has become their primary exercise and the Pickleball Club’s Team “Fun” League its most popular event.
There is a chatter in the air. Players emerge from the parking lots of Liberty Center where two regulation tennis courts have been transformed into 8 pickleball courts. They saunter in. Many are couples. Some have funny gaits, not your likely athletes, and all sizes and shapes. But they are older, some quite older. Some never played any sport or competition in their lives. Others played something decades ago. But they’re playing, taking the plunge, giving it a try – all with great joy, moving their bodies, “meeting 50 new friends” as the founding member of this strange association likes to say.
The yellow pickleball is a whiffle ball and they’re bouncing and popping as match preparation begins. Players are dressed in sweats, some with hoodies. Ladies are fashioning their colors and many with shirts that say, “Anthem Pickleball Fun League.” The “Fun” in the center towers over the other letters emphasizing the focus of the entire activity. It’s for “FUN.” Get it.
Such was the idea behind the Pickleball Club’s Team Pickleball “Fun” League by member Mike Corbett. After developing and teaching a training series entitled the “7 Shots of Pickleball,” Mike sensed the classes weren’t enough. Some “light competition” and camaraderie needed to be built into the club.
He thought the pickleball facility was small and makeshift - two tennis courts not built for pickleball, or for mingling. The courts were separated as were the perceived differences in play. With a goal of more fun and friendship, the Team Pickleball “Fun” League was created in 2017. With 4 men and 4 ladies per team in a six-team league, over 75 members participate annually. A 4th season is slated to begin this Winter.