Painless Pickleball

Writing for me is like pickleball. I need to warm up before I play. I need to give myself some room, and I need to get into a comfortable zone in preparation for the game.

The following is a continuation from last week, when I introduced my ‘genie’. I wanted the challenge of writing from the female ‘point of view’. I also liked the idea of creating a character that knows she is not real.

The scene opens in the writing room. Jean, the Scottish genie , has been hanging out with the kind of fellow she dislikes….an intellectual.

She read the notes and noticed some of the plot was about her.

” What a dunce he is,” she thought,” he thinks he knows what a woman is feeling. What a fool he is.”

” Maybe I should write something,” she thought ….then she realized how ridiculous a situation that was.

” Here I am,” she thought, ” a fictional character who is considering writing a story about another fictional character who is writing a book about a made up situation. It was like looking in a reflection of a reflection in a mirror. It just went on and on.”

” Why do you write such ‘blather’ Dawkless? ” She came over and stood by his desk.

” You could be out accomplishing something…….mind though,….I’m not sure what that would be.”

Jean chewed on her thumb for a moment while she pondered. Then she came to a conclusion. She pulled up a chair in front of him.

” I can’t think what,” she said,” but there must be some small thing you could be doing with your life ,

…rather than wasting time on your scribblings.”

He looked down at his desk. She put her hand on his shoulder and spoke in a warm voice he hadn’t heard from her.

” What is it you’re trying for Dawg? What are these stories really about? ”

Douglas mumbled something unintelligible….Jean frowned.

” What is it, she said kindly , ” you can tell me anything you know , ’cause I’m more than your ‘genie’,… you see… I am actually growing quite fond of your odd ways.”

He glanced up at her face.

” I’m writing a ‘pilot’,” he said shyly.

Jean looked at him with concern.

” You want to fly a plane,… is that what’s up there chap ? Well…that’s not so bad you know. I wouldn’t mind taking a wee ride with you….”

He shook his head.

” That’s not what I mean ”, he said.

” I’m talking about a screen play for a TV show. It’s going to be about people who play pickleball. One of the characters is also a writer who can’t finish a book he started. Then a group of his friends help him through different situations until he realizes what’s important in life.”

His genie looked at him with a sick expression while she thought things through.

” So,” she said finally, what does he realize is important in life? ”

He looked down at the desk.

” To laugh ”, he said sadly.

Next week……uncertainty about granting a wish.

Last Tuesday, a group of us had a ‘pickler-nic ‘ at McMinn Park. At lunch we raised our water bottles to toast the 50th anniversary of the invention of pickleball. I am hoping that there is interest in making this a yearly event. A bit about PB history.

I’m sure most people know the story of how the Pritchard family took some ‘odds and ends’, and with a few good friends, created an amusing game for the kids to play. Then the adults decided they liked pickleball for themselves. That was the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island. Since then, our sport has ‘pickled out’ around the world.

The name ‘pickleball’ was coined by Joan Pritchard, because it reminded her of the ‘pickle boats’ that were crewed by leftover rowers in sculling competitions.

For ‘trivia buffs’, did you know that Victoria has it’s very own fleet of pickle boats? In the summer you can go on a Pickle Pub Crawl, which is organized by the harbour ferry operators. For $15 they will ferry you to a number of inner harbour establishments where you can get safely ‘pickled’ before you take the bus home.

Whatever way you like to celebrate, be sure to raise a glass this summer and give a toast to 50 years of ‘riding in the pickle boat’.

TIPS FROM THE RITE WAY COACH – TIP # 10: Painless Pickleball
Hello Rite Way Coach,

I fell on my tail bone while back pedaling to get a lob shot about a year ago. I’m finally getting over the sciatic pain from that mis-step!

Some of my friends who play, have developed shoulder bursitis or tennis elbow from the repetitive nature of hitting the little yellow ball. While waiting to play, I’ve heard a litany of woes. Twisted ankles, sore knees, leg cramps, etc….. man, are we all masochists ?

Do we have to ‘man up ‘ (lady up) and accept that ‘ ow-ies ‘ are part of the game? Or,… is there a way to reduce or eliminate the chance of getting injured while doing our ‘ pickle thing ‘ ?

Is there a Rite Way to play safely on the courts?

Peabea Hertz.


Hello Peabea,

Injuries are going to happen in any sport, however, there are a lot of things we can do to lessen or prevent Pickleball injuries. The most dangerous injury comes from older players falling, and the most dangerous falls occur when you ‘ back pedal ‘. Backpedaling is moving by backing up to take an overhead shot. I have seen several picklers fall doing this and the result is usually a head injury. I will never ‘backpedal’…at least not more than a step or so. If the ball is over my head as in a lob, I will do my best to turn and chase the ball down by running towards the ball, then stopping and striking the ball. Occasionally, I won’t have time to turn, if that happens congratulate your opponent on a good shot and get ready for the next point.

Shoulder problems usually originate from poor swing technique. Your swing in pickleball originates mostly from the elbow, not the shoulder as in tennis. Little stress should be placed on the shoulder. On overhead volleys, let the ball drop to a position just above your head before you strike it. Power will be achieved, not through a big, long swing, but through a short swing, elbow bent, and a snap of the wrist at impact.

Often we hear of pickleballers with knee or ankle problems. Some of us tend to ‘scramble’ a lot. Often this is a case of being ‘out of position’. It takes time to learn where you should be to play the best defense at any given time. Many of the best players seem like they hardly move on the court but they are usually in a great position to return the majority of shots.

Leg cramps occur mainly in summer when it is hot… staying hydrated is the only advice I have for this problem.

Hope some of these ‘tips’ help you avoid unnecessary falls and hospital visits.

PEARKES  RECREATION CENTRE re-opens this week, all be it with shorter playing times:

Tues. July 14th – August 18th  Youth & Adult Drop-in  12:30 pm. – 3 p.m. (13 years & older)

Wed. July 15th –  August 19th  Adults only Drop-in      12:30 pm. – 3 p.m.

Thurs. July 16 –   August 20th  Advanced & Singles      9:00 am. – 11 a.m.  (Adults only)


If you go to Jennifer’s Pickleball Blog, there is a link to a site with all the results to the West and East Nationals. I will make only a few comments:

WATERLOO, ONT.– Jennifer Lucore scored 3 gold medals and 1 silver at the Eastern Nationals.

Impressive , but what about the Elliot family ( Robert , Jodi , Joshua , and Rachel ) , they got a total of 12 medals !! Check out Jennifer’s blog to learn more about them, and subscribe …it’s free.

Men’s Singles 5.0 – Ryan Rostek, who many of you remember from his gold medal performance in singles this June at Pearkes, scored 57 points in his pool. That total was just a little shy of what was needed to get into the final group. However, in a game against pro Robert Elliot , the eventual silver medalist , Rostek scored 13 points . So close! I’m sure we’ll hear a lot more about Ryan in the future.

KELOWNA, B.C. – It was Wesley Gabrielsen with 3 gold medals versus the Puppet Master with one gold and a silver. The PM may have ‘perfect touch’, but Wes has got the moves on the dance floor!

The top woman in the pros was Christine Barksdale with 2 golds and a silver.

I heard from some of our pickle ladies that the best pro to schmooze with is Mona Burnett (1 silver, 1 bronze). There is a cool picture of her that was sent to me by Gwen Hay. It will soon be posted in my new website.

Nancy Stern, a well known Nanaimo pickleballer, did well in Kelowna with a silver medal in the tough 4.5 mixed doubles playing with Michael Epp (Coldstream , B.C.) What made it more impressive is that they had to work their way to the finals through the loser’s bracket!

Victoria players – the best run was by Beverly De Haitre and her male partner David Hesje (Camrose , Alberta) in the 4.0 mixed doubles. They were one win away from playing in the medal round.


Deep Dinker, Jean the Genie, Yujoil Kowq, are joining Pamela and I in our new adventures in cyberspace.

I am a dinosaur. You have no idea how difficult it would have been for me to figure out how to make a website, let alone internet connections with the plunkenwheedle players on the planet Zweegh. Fortunately for me my “techie” daughter Heather, with assistance from Leaf (her supportive husband), have created a wonderful place for my blog to live. There will soon be all past issues of the “Court” on this site.

Please write to me with your inspiring comments to my website:

Letter from Heather Hood:

Well Doug, the tournament was really something, especially having the opportunity to watch some of the best PB players in the USA play right on the court next to us. Victoria had a pretty good contingency represented at the tournament, 7 players (I think)….and all women. A great time was had by all. The only jewelry we came home with, however, was the gold and silver we were wearing when we arrived. One of the highlights was sitting with the likes of PB stars, Mona Burnett and Gigi Lemaster. Photographers, Gwen Hay and Beverly DH made sure there was room for us to get in the photos too. Exciting highlights included a rain out where we waited under trees for over an hour and watched volunteer brigade sweep water off the courts. The Women’s Doubles Open Gold match Saturday night went until after 8 p.m. and when the score was 14 – 5, one of the players twisted her ankle going for a lob. This meant medics, ice, bandage but then she got up and finished the match winning Gold. Today however, she was well bandaged and out of the matches. There was also the wine tasting at Sandhills. And much more.

A big tap of the paddle to Gwen, Leslie, Sue, Heather, Dave, Wayne, Pamela, Ryan, Ryner, Heather and Leaf for their help and encouragement.

If anyone wants to play outdoors at Esquimalt Rec. Centre please send me your email and I will forward your address to Edith Ritzer.

The much delayed article on singles play, Jean storyline, tournament controversy, tips and more.

I can hardly wait for the fun and games!!!

‘Pickle well’,


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