Everyone has a story about how they got started in Pickleball. It usually starts with family! I hope you enjoy Anna’s interview with Rachael Kroog at the 2014 USAPA Nationals in Buckeye, Arizona!
Anna; Okay, so here we are with Rachel. Rachael, can you introduce yourself?
Rachael: Hi, I’m Rachel Kroog from Minnesota.
Anna: And Rachel, tell us about pickleball. How did you get into it?
Rachael: Well, I’m a tennis player, and actually a four sport athlete, but my dad and I played tennis tournaments together. And one year, when he was probably about 79 years old, he called me and he said, “You know, I’m not playing tennis anymore.” And I, you know, my heart kind of sank. And he said, “But it’s okay.” He said, “I found a new sport, and it’s called pickleball.” And I thought, maybe it was something like shuffleboard, because they live in a senior community down in Sun City Center, and what sport does a 79-year-old just pick up, you know? And so he said, “No.” He said, “Really, it’s a great sport.”
So, I flew down there and I played for a couple days, and we batted the ball around. It was okay. And then a year later, I went back and we played for about a week. Then the hook was set, you know. And I came home and I googled pickleball in Minnesota and found out there was a small group playing very close to my house. And, you know, I’ve hung up my tennis racket and I really haven’t played much since. I call it, “Going to the ‘light’ side” versus “Going to the ‘Dark’ side”.
Yeah, so I’ve come to the “light” side, and it is addicting. It’ll change your life in so many positive ways. All generations can play it. I’ve seen grand-kids play with their grandparents and with their parents, three generations out on the court. You know, what other sport can you have fun and compete with three generations? So, it’s really an all-around sport and I highly encourage you, if you haven’t picked up a pickleball paddle, pick one up, find a friend that plays. They will take you under their wing because that’s the pickleball “‘hood”. That’s what we do, we help the beginners. So, go grab a racket. Go grab a paddle.
Anna: And Rachel, what did you win today?
Rachel: I won the silver medal in the Women’s 50-54.
Anna: And this is at the USAPA Nationals Pickleball Tournament.
Rachel: In Buckeye, Arizona. The Nationals. It’s real.
Anna: Thank you.