Divorce and Pickleball

I am reluctant to bring up sensitive subjects. I have no expertise in relationship counseling. However, I received an email from an international subscriber who needs help. I have decided to give my opinion in the hope that I can be of service to the troubled parties involved. I have changed the people’s names to protect their privacy.

Dear Doug,
I read your articles and I think you are a person who may be able to help me with my problem.
I love pickleball and I play every time I can. I thought my husband was supportive of my interest. Sadly, I was wrong.
Last night he said that I have been neglecting him, and I have to change my ways or else…..
he didn’t say what ‘or else’ was.
What should I do? If I don’t think of something I’m afraid I might be headed for a divorce!
Coco K.

Hi Coco,
I think many of us can empathize with your predicament. We all lead such busy lives that we need distractions to keep us happy.
Sometimes though, the things that are meant to be fun (time with your spouse , children , your job , etc.) , can turn into obsessions! These diversions start to take you away from what is important to finding meaning in life. Your husband is right about one thing – you need to reassess your priorities!
I am confident, if you put in a sincere effort, that you can renew and revive your relationship with pickleball. That should make your husband happy. After all, no one wants to face the trauma of being divorced from the PB game.
I hope you read the next article. You might find it helpful.

Since this is June, the month of romance, I have my own little love story to share with you all.

I was at my condo the other evening and I felt restless. Nothing was wrong, but I felt there was something that I had to do.

Then it came to me…I went into the closet where I keep my game bag. I took out my paddle, looked into its’ face and said ” C’mon baby, you and I are going out.” I took my Pro Lite Blaster for a walk down by the beach.

As we strolled along, hand in grip, the passerbys smiled at us. They could sense our happiness at being together!

I hope my story inspires everyone to keep good relationships with their own pickleball gear.

Oh yeah…., don’t forget to hug your court shoes once in a while.

Cheers and good vibes in your relationships,


The old curling club at 1952 Quadra St., has become a new pickleball place. What’s the buzz?

First off, I should state right away, that the concrete floor is slippery. Be careful when you are playing here, unless you want to use your head to imitate a curling rock sliding along the floor.

Second off, the lighting could be improved, it’s glarey (is that a real word?).

Thirdly off, the court divider is too close to the baseline (but I heard that will be fixed next year).

Fourthly, if this all sounds negative, don’t worry. Victoria needs more PB places to play, and the old curling club has its charms.

There are six courts lined just for pickleball. It has a great cafe where you can watch the games while you eat. Best of all, it has Dave McNeill as facilitator, and you can ask him for some tips while you play there.

Pickleball hours – Monday and Friday, 9am – noon. June 12- Aug 31
Good Fellow Cafe – open Monday to Friday from 8am – 3pm (yummy home cooking).

The Dink shot refers to a ball hit gently over the net to land inside or near the kitchen area. Many players don’t appreciate the value of this gentle shot but, it truly is a skillful shot.

It has been said a player can achieve a good proficiency without using the dink shot… perhaps a 4 ranking but can never achieve a top ranking of 4.5 or 5 without utilizing the skills of the soft game.

Before trying to employ the dink shot in a game situation try the shot with a partner on one side of the net and you on the other. Try softly hitting the ball back and forth so it lands in the opposite kitchen. Is there a Rite Way to dink the ball? You bet.

Keep your wrist stiff, bend your arm from the elbow. Bend your knees and straighten as you strike the ball. You will gently ‘lift’ the ball over the net. A common error for many players is to use a lot of wrist to ‘flick’ the ball or hit the ball with a sidearm motion. You might get away with a bit more of the side arm motion from deeper in the court but the closer you are to the net the more ‘upright’ your ‘lift’ will be. A ball that lands only a few inches from the net will be returned with your paddle being ‘lifted’ in a very vertical manner.

As your skill level increases you will be able to dink from various positions on the court. Don’t try to be too ‘perfect’ with the shot. It is far better to have the ball go over the net too high than have it go into the net.

We know by now that a good serve is deep, as is the second shot. A great third shot is a well executed dink shot. Great teams will use this as their third shot ALMOST exclusively. Some great teams will employ a third shot with power just to mix it up and keep their opponents off balance. The advantage of using this shot as your third shot means that your opponent no longer has any advantage over you at the net. To start with, the returning of the serve side has the advantage at the net, as half of the other team is already in an ‘offensive’ position, while both of the serving team must play deep until after their second shot.

During the ensuing dining at the net both teams will be looking for the other to make the first mistake…a ball that is returned too high that can then be ‘put away’ with a hard volley. What is the most fun in pickleball occurs when the ‘put away’ shot is returned and a high speed duel or shootout occurs at the net with each team trading volleys at close range.

Another ‘put away’ shot at the net involves a ‘push shot’. It is much like a dink shot but much firmer. For this shot the player looks for an ‘alley’ or open space between two players or a wide opening down the line that was left unprotected to ‘push’ the ball firmly past his opponents.

For the push shot to work one has to pay close attention as to where his or her opponents are on the court.

Keep practising…the best way to improve.

Here are some highlights from the competition at the Saanich Pickleball Tournament at Pearkes Rec Center in Victoria, June 12 – 14.

– In the women’s singles A finals Elisabeth Martin of Victoria won 3 straight games against Nanaimo entrant Inga Makepeace.

Elisabeth is a popular player at Pearkes, and had a big cheering section. She also won this event last year. Way to go EM!

– The men’s singles A final featured Ryner Wilson, who plays at Fairwinds Center in Nanoose, and Ryan Rostek, who plays at the ARC in Abbotsford.

Ryan won the match. He is 35 years old, has played for a year and a half, and uses a Selkirk Epic paddle. This is his first time competing here, and he called the Pearkes facility ‘awesome’.

– The women’s doubles A final was won by Theresa Orcutt and Nancy Stern of Nanaimo, runners up were Gwen Chew and Marilyn Moen of Victoria.

I had a chance to talk to Theresa after the match, and I may be featuring an interview with her in a future installment of CHALLENGE COURT!

– The men’s doubles A final was a blast! It was Ryan Rostek and Binu Brar (Abbotsford) against Ryner Wilson and his pal Joe Wong (Nanoose).

Ryan and Binu have great pickleball skills, but it was raw passionate play that won the game for Wilson and Wong. Joe, especially, made highlight reel, after highlight reel plays!

Thanks to all four guys for a memorable match.

It’s getting late as I write this last section. I usually have CC out by now, so I will ‘cut to the chase’.

– Mixed doubles was won by Theresa Orcutt and Jim Boris (Chemanius) , over 58 year old twins , Ken Franz and Karen Sawatsky ( Abbotsford ). Wow, that’s two out of two victories for Theresa in the events she participated in!

– The 65 and over mixed, was won by Allanah Fuhre and Bob Gauthier (Victoria) over the tall man, Dave Cudlipp (Gibsons) and our own Jan Bergen.

Thanks to the score desk volunteers – Kathy, Don, Bonnie, Dave, Cynthia, Arlene, Phil, Spring, Rosemary, Iris, Karen, and Susan.

The real stars were the volunteer committee who worked so hard to make this event happen:

* Mike Seal, * Jan Bergen, * Dave Metcalfe, * Elisabeth Martin, * Leslie Bateman, and

* Robin Milliken.

……and of course, the ‘Super Star’, and my home away from home , * Pearkes Rec Center *.

(For more tournament info go to www.victoriapickleball.org)

A big welcome to all the new readers of the CHALLENGE COURT. I had a great time meeting some of the ‘ out of towners ‘ at the tournament this week.

Please write to me if you feel you need to make a statement. Your comment could change pickleball history….or at least give your fellow pickelaters something to think about.

Thanks to everyone who continues to give me their encouragement to this pickle project.

Next week will be a special Father’s Day Edition of CHALLENGE COURT.

I will be looking for input from men and women. Please answer one or more of these questions;

– What is, or was, your Dad’s personality like, (John Wayne, Woody Allen, Gordie Howe, etc. ) ?

– What is, or was, the favourite things you liked to do with him?

– What makes you smile when you think of your Dad, his quirks, his faults, or his virtues?

– If you’re a Dad…….what is the best part of Fatherhood for you?

Or….send me any Father’s Day story that means something to you.

The Mother’s Day special was one of the most popular editions of CC, I have a feeling that next week’s edition will be a lot of fun for everyone!

This is a reminder that Pearkes will not be having ‘partner prep’ on Tuesdays until further notice.

These are the hours for June 16th, 17th, and 18th:

Tuesday     11am – 4pm drop-in
Wednesday 11am – 4pm drop-in
Thursday    10am – 1pm advanced / 1:30pm – 4pm drop-in


‘Pickle well’,


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