Pickleball is more than just a sport to numerous members of the Hall of Fame City Pickleball Club in Canton, Ohio; it’s a way of life.
Fiercely Contesting Matches
You can spot players in Stadium Park every morning, fiercely contesting matches but also engaging in friendly conversations with their fellow enthusiasts.
66-year-old Roxane Binkley says “You make a lot of nice friends. We’re kind of like a family.”
Earlier this month, a group of 12 skilled members aged 50 years or older had the privilege to showcase their pickleball prowess at the prestigious 2023 National Senior Games held in Pittsburgh.
Among these players were Binkley from Canton, Ohio, and the impressive 69-year-old Mary Moriarty and her husband, 70-year-old Bill Moriarty from five miles down the road in North Canton.
The 2023 National Senior Games
The 2023 National Senior Games, held from July 7 to 18, drew an astounding number of over 10,000 senior athletes from all corners of the country. The participants competed in more than 20 diverse sporting events, each segregated into various competitive categories.
In the case of pickleball, players were grouped based on skill level and age, ensuring a fair and exciting competition.
This suited the competitors as Mary points out, “The benefit of that is that you get to play with people your own age. It kind of levels the playing field a little bit.”
Pickleball takes center stage on Sunday at the National Senior Games https://t.co/FnC8ORsFxT— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (@PittsburghPG) July 9, 2023
Pickleball at the 2023 National Senior Games featured various events, such as doubles (for women, men, or mixed teams) and singles (both partner and solo games).
Mary Moriarty showcased her skills in the women’s doubles and singles events, while her husband, Bill Moriarty, participated in the men’s doubles and mixed doubles categories. Binkley, another talented player, competed in the mixed doubles and singles events.
An Exciting Milestone
For Binkley and Mary Moriarty, this year’s competition marked their second appearance at national level. However, it was Bill Moriarty’s inaugural experience at this prestigious event, making it an exciting milestone in his pickleball journey.
All three players were thrilled to have the chance to compete alongside some of the nation’s finest senior pickleball athletes, and relished the opportunity to showcase their skills at this fabulous event.
“There was fierce competition,” said Binkley. “But there was camaraderie in watching each other.”
Despite the competitive nature of the senior games, the three players, Binkley, Mary Moriarty, and Bill Moriarty, found a sense of camaraderie and connection with fellow athletes who shared the same passion for pickleball.
As Bill said, “One of the big things that happens is you expand your social boundaries. All these different people you meet share pickleball as a common experience.”
Tournament Qualification Requirements
To secure a spot in the tournament, players must achieve top placements (first through fourth) at a state-level pickleball tournament. Bill Moriarty managed to qualify in both of his categories last summer, excelling at the Ohio tournament. Similarly, Mary Moriarty earned her qualification in Kentucky, and Binkley successfully qualified in West Virginia.
In the months leading up to the games, the three players dedicated themselves to rigorous training, and took advantage of their SilverSneakers membership, a wellness program available to seniors aged 65 and over through eligible Medicare plans.
Read about Bernie Lee’s experiences in the National Senior Games 2023 in this great article.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?