A group of seniors have caught pickleball fever in the land of 10,000 lakes!
Word Of Mouth
These ladies from New Ulm in Minnesota decided to take up pickleball one day while out walking and have never looked back!
Pickleball is available at the New Ulm Rec Center throughout the week, from Monday to Friday, with sessions from 9 to 11 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Deb Steinberg has taken on a leading role in the morning group, which started as an idea while they out taking some exercise one day.
“We were walking the track,” she recounted to nujournal.com. “We talked about maybe doing pickleball someday, and then we decided to start playing on January 3, 2022. There were four of us that played pickleball [initially]. From people walking by, watching, and word of mouth, that’s how it got going.”
Great Friendships Through Pickleball
The pickleball player count has since surged to over 50, all through direct referral. Many attend daily, and Steinberg found that the friendships formed through pickleball have expanded beyond the sport.
In the image above, Karen Domeier (bottom right) looks to return the ball to the opposing team of Deb Langholtz (top left) and Sue Vogel (top right) as her partner Janet Holm watches.
“We don’t just play pickleball, we do other things,” she went on to say. “We went kayaking, we went to a murder mystery play, and we go out to eat. We’ve formed great friendships through pickleball.”
Improved Reflexes And Flexibility
Steinberg pointed out the anticipated physical benefits of pickleball, including improved reflexes and flexibility. However, she also noted the less obvious advantages, especially for their life stage.
“Most of us are retired, and it gives us a routine,” Steinberg explained. “There are some that are very faithful and will come Monday through Friday, 9 until 11, especially in the winter.”
Sue Vogel is one of these committed regulars. Introduced to the game by a friend, she quickly found she loved it. As a newcomer to New Ulm and a diabetic, Vogel discovered playing pickleball brought about a well-rounded positive impact.
“I didn’t know a lot of people because I’m not from New Ulm originally,” Vogel reflected. “I knew faces, but I didn’t know names. It’s really helped me have socialization, camaraderie, and laughter, which are things I needed in my life for my mental health.
“It’s also helped me physically because I am a diabetic on an insulin pump. It helps me control my blood sugar spikes after a meal and how much insulin I use.”
“As Long As My Knees And Body Hold Up”
According to Vogel, pickleball’s widespread appeal comes from its accessibility. She said pickleball is “not something you have to necessarily be in great physical shape to do because you got a partner on the court.”
Vogel’s aspirations for pickleball extend into the future… however brief that might be: “As long as my knees and body hold up. Whatever the lord gives me, ” she said.
Steinberg envisions a dedicated facility for pickleball players in New Ulm. “I’d like to see a facility dedicated strictly for pickleball,” she conveyed. “Many communities have them already. We’re very thankful we have places to come and play.”
The New Ulm Rec Center
New Ulm Recreation Center is at 122 S Garden St, New Ulm, MN 56073.
Its opening hours are from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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