By Paddy Finnegan Special to Today’s News-Herald
Four strangers walked onto the pickleball courts at Dick Samp Park last month, catching the eyes of several regulars there. New faces appear frequently at the courts. Usually they’re friends or relatives of snowbirds here. They’re introduced around and quickly join the fun.
But these four were a bit different. For one, they stuck together. Most of them were young and looked thin and athletic. Challengers? But it was their paddles that really piqued the interest of some of the competitors there; all four had matching black paddles. Were they a travelling team coming to take on and put in their place the best Lake Havasu could throw up against them?
Once they took the court together, however, anxiety waned. It was clear they were beginners.
Tim Parker, his son Greg, daughter Becky and her husband Bob Dillis had come to Havasu just to play pickleball. After spending four days in Las Vegas, they googled Lake Havasu pickleball to find the public outdoor courts. They planned to stay and play four days in Havasu.
“We’ve never seen outdoor courts in Wisconsin,” said father Tim. “This is great, and really nice courts,” he said.
The four from Madison Wisconsin had played only a handful of pickleball games before they sought the sun and fun of Lake Havasu pickleball. One had played in a gym class 20 years ago. The kids, in their 30s, were athletes in differing sports in their schools. Father Tim played hockey and now kayaks and dances.
Their paddles? “We bought them at Big 5,” said Greg. “We’re taking a lot of ribbing for them too,” he said.
The group played all four days they visited Havasu and had a blast. “Easier than tennis,” one said. Veterans on the courts often jumped in offering suggestions on rules and techniques of the game.
“We’re going to play back home if we can find courts,” said Becky.
Paddy Finnegan is a representative of the Lake Havasu Pickleball Association. For information, visit lakehavasupickleball.com.