Pickleball Made Me A Smaller Woman With A Bigger Heart

by Susan Brooker

Pickleball is the newest game on the planet! A combination of tennis, badminton and racquetball, yes, it’s a racket sport, but one unlike any other.  And because it’s such a social game, it appeals to all ages, youngsters to 80+.

Last year, as a member of Delaware Senior Olympics, I participated in the once-a-year Senior Games State Tournament held at Delaware State University in Dover. I played Women’s Doubles and won my first silver medal.  Success! Even though I weighed in at 222 pounds. That win qualified me to go to the National Senior Games. It was at that point that I vowed to lose weight before the tournament, which was held this past July.

My primary motivation, of course, was to win. To compete at the national level, I was going to have to move around the court more easily. The court is the same size as a badminton court, 20 ft wide by 44 ft long. I knew that if I increased my days playing per week from 3 to 5 and decreased my caloric intake, I’d be on my way.  I was! I worked with my family doctor to monitor my progress; after 3 months of steadily losing weight I lowered my intake to 1200 calories and increased my intake of protein.  To help alleviate my stiff knees, I also spent 2 months working with a physical therapist on a daily stretching program.

Eleven months later and I’ve lost a total of 85 pounds – I’m weighing in now at 137! I didn’t do it alone though. I’m fortunate to have the support of my wonderful wife, Nancy, and a host of great pickleball friends. As a matter of fact, 4 of my pickleball friends have also lost weight this year, including 2 gentleman players who lost between 20 and 40 pounds. As a group, we had texting weigh-ins once a week to keep us all on track.

We welcome all to learn our sport. We offer beginner classes 3 days a week, both indoors and outdoors. Come and join us!

For more information on pickleball and the Delaware Senior Olympics, visit  http://delawareseniorolympics.org/pickleball/ or email Susan Brooker at suebrooker@aol.com.

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