Join the Pickleball Craze!

It’s the fastest growing racket sport.  Maybe the fastest growing sport ever!  And it has our name all over it..

BOOMERs!! As usual we are leading the pack in a sport that is gentler on our knees, but still allows that competitive spirit that many of us thrive on. It’s social and it gets the body moving, something we have reiterated over and over,  Get that blood circulating!

When I tell friends I’m playing this game with the funny name, many have never heard of it.  Now that Barclay and I have this incredible following  (thank you readers) we thought we would take the opportunity to tell you more about what we are so excited about.

The game started during the summer of 1965  (clearly, it took a while for it to catch on considering I hadn’t heard about it until 2 years ago!) on Bainbridge Island, Washington.  at the home of former state representative Joel Pritchard.  He and his two friends, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum, retuned from golf to bored families.  They attempted to set up a badminton net, but the shuttlecock could not be found.  Instead they improvised with a wiffle ball, lowered the net and constructed paddles from plywood from a nearby shed.  Ingenuity is the mother of all invention for sure!  So, basically for lack of a shuttlecock pickleball was born!  Good to know boredom can lead to something positive!

So you’ve never picked up a racket?

You’ve never even played ping pong, much less tennis?

NO worries!

Within 5 minutes, you CAN play this fast-moving, fun, engaging game!

Why, you ask?

It’s social.  You’re close to your teammate and opponents.  Lots of fun interaction.  Next thing you know and you’re out having a beverage with your new pickleball pals.

It’s a great workout.  You can work up a sweat with a smile on your face!

It’s like a chess match.  Tons of strategy which means your brain cannot sit on the sidelines minding its own business.

It’s something NEW to learn.  Your brain will be grateful.

Check this out —

ANYone can play with ANYbody.  I have a retired girlfriend, a former tennis player, who is a pickleball ambassador – going to tournaments, making new friends, staying in great shape.  And she has a bad knee!

Did we mention, pickleball is cheap!?   You can buy paddles and balls at Pickleball Central.

Many park districts have dedicated courts outside where you play for free and indoor courts during the winter with portable nets and lines on a basketball court  – practically free – maybe $6 for a couple of hours.

OK, the rules and the scorekeeping seem a bit funky at first.  But after a single game and you’re good to go.

No offense to conventional tennis or paddle tennis   – BUT pickleball wins in terms of accessibility and learning curve.  Perfect for family gatherings.

And perfect for us BBs with our ongoing battle with arm flab, treadmill fatigue, and isolation.


Here’s how to play –

See you on the court!

Today’s Takeaway –

.Never ever think you are too old to learn something new.  You can teach an old dog new tricks!!  As long as he or she wants to learn!

.We are too young to be sedentary and we need to challenge ourselves physically and mentally in as many ways as possible.

Pickleball is supposedly becoming an Olympic sport. So my best running days may behind me and I may never do a head stand like my show off yoga certified daughter, but watch out world, we may be the next pickleball champs!!

Enjoy the ride

xox Barclay and Joy



Craks, Bams, Flowers, and Winds – Doing What Makes You Smile

I was looking for a way to connect with my new upstate New York community, to meet people, make new friends.  I had played the ancient game of mah-jongg many years ago in Westchester, where I raised my family for 25 years, but really didn’t have the time to hone my skills.  Dinner needed to be cooked, laundry needed to be done, homework needed supervision, the dog needed to be walked!  My husband, while helpful, is not me.  I am a controlling individual, so have no one to blame but myself for always being pressed for time. Enter retirement!

Mah-jongg dates back from the Quing Dynasty, an ancient Chinese game of tiles being made into suits of flowers, dragons, winds, craks, and bams (short for bamboo) Even suits, odd combinations, singles and pairs, consecutive runs, etc. One lives and breathes the Official Standard Hands And Rules card, which you are allowed to keep in front of you while playing ( $9 sold by the synagogue with proceeds often going to worthy Jewish causes such as Hadassah) issued by the National Mah Jongg League, Inc now in it’s 81st year.

The game was brought to American shores in the early 1920’s.  The theory is that with the advent of immigrants coming to this country, it was a way of tying folks together.

Much like Chinese food, which we all know Jews eat on Christmas Day, the game became synonymous with this cultural group of middle aged women.  In the 1950’s when bungalow colonies were popular as summer vacationing destinations, ladies sat around the pool and played in groups during the week, waiting for their husbands to come up on weekends from the hot city.  My own family did this (not that my  mother played mah-jongg-she wouldn’t dream of it!) while my father toiled in Harlem running a drug store with his brother.

Every Monday, since I returned from winter in Mexico, I drive to Temple Israel in Catskill, NY (where else?!) to sit with a group of women, some older than me, some younger, make that none younger!  I may not have much in common with them, but we all share our fascination with this ancient, somewhat exotic game of strategy, focus, tactics, and a bit of luck!  Getting good tiles from the onset doesn’t hurt.  There is casual banter among the players and one must come with $5 in quarters for the betting (big stakes poker this is not!) plus $3 as a contribution to the snacks that are set out on a table every week.  Cake from someone’s birthday the previous weekend, cookies, trail mix, brownies, etc.  Jewish women like a nosh!

I am getting to know people from week to week and I like the challenge of the game, in addition to the fact that we are mostly of the same faith so share a certain simpatico. We play from 12-4 on Mondays with a break for lunch and I am sitting at the beginner’s  table for now. The women are patient and someone comes over to look at my hand pointing out possible combinations, since  I am still a newbie. There is something captivating about the click clacking of the tiles.

Amy Tan wrote in “The Joy Luck Club”, of her mother asking the question, ‘What’s the difference between Jewish and Chinese mah-jongg?” Her mother replies, “Entirely different kind of playing…Jewish mah-jongg they watch only for their own tile, play only with their eyes.”


It’s even said when the last member of a mah-jongg group dies, it’s her job to bring the mah-jongg set with her to the world to come.” Now, that’s dedication!



If you think this game will make you smile, here’s how to get started – thanks to our friends at Amazon!  Just click the image below.


Today’s Takeaway…

What is that you love to do?  What haven’t you had the time for during all those many years raising a family?  Is it gardening, bridge, a book club, ceramics, painting?  Maybe, it’s mah-jongg. Follow your passion.  Now is the time! Maybe, you’ll make a new friend or two.

. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Pick up a tennis racket, even if you’ve never played.  Pickle ball, which Barclay and I are both learning.  Who cares if you look silly or make a mistake!  You have nothing to prove.  You’ve lived a successful life and can do whatever makes you smile. 🙂

Enjoy the ride

xox Barclay & Joy