I previously shared with you about how the mother-in-law reintroduced me to the sport of pickleball at our local church (Woodside Bible Church) in Metro Detroit several years ago after first playing it in physical education class in 7th or 8th grade. I was groomed on these indoor, church courts before making the move to southwest, Ohio. Now I play the majority of the time outdoors – that is, until the weather dictates a move to a climate-controlled venue. That usually happens as the temperatures dip in late October or early November. How I wish that I could play outdoors during the winter…
They’re Moving to a 55+ Community! Please, Someplace Warm!
In October of last year – after 30+ years in the same house – the in-laws announced that they were moving from their home in Metro Detroit to a 55+ community. Mind you, my wife and I had, in prior years, shared with them information about The Villages in central, Florida. As they were announcing their move, I hoped that we had somehow wielded the necessary influence on their decision so they would make the move there – to “Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.” Friendliest hometown – sounds great, right? We wanted them to enjoy the camaraderie and friendships of others in similar stages of life. It had nothing to do with the fact that the temperatures in October and November in central Florida hover around 80 degrees – and, evidently, the area is known for its pickleball! 😉
They didn’t make the move to the Villages, but they may as well have. They opted, instead, for a Del Webb community – also friendly – situated just 10 minutes from Spanish Springs – one of the three town squares in The Villages. And they have 10-12 pickleball courts. And it’s active. Sounds of pickleballs against the paddles can be heard from 7:30AM all the way to evening hours under the lights!
Over Thanksgiving my wife and I visited the in-laws in central Florida. This was our third time there since they had moved in the previous October. During our visit, I would religiously set the alarm for 7AM, put the key in the golf-cart – the preferred mode of transportation to the courts – and make my way over to the park for early morning pickleball by 7:30AM. The courts are absolutely stunning – a beautiful color contrast of blue, red and green. And the people are exceptionally welcoming. Many remember my name from prior visits and welcome me back. And the play is pretty darn good too.
A Surprise Visit from Coach Matty!
On our final day, a new-found friend of mine, Jeremy, set up a competitive match with four others – me, Jeremy, Bill and a husband/wife team. I had played the previous couple of days with both Jeremy and Bill, but I was curious who this husband/wife team was that was invited to play. As we were practicing – before they arrived – Jeremy mentioned the husband’s name was “Matty.” Because of my voracious consumption of all things pickleball, I knew of a “Coach Matty” and wondered if that’s who the mystery guest was going to be.
Sure enough, we played with Coach Matty and his wife, Mei Shen, during the afternoon. They are both incredibly skilled, gracious, kind and down-to-earth. The legendary, Coach Matty and Mei Shen — having coached/instructed over 6,000 students — live in The Villages and teach pickleball there. They made the 10-minute commute to the Del Webb courts and we had a ton of fun! Thanks, Jeremy, for organizing!
Back to Reality
Sadly, we returned to the colder weather in Ohio just a day later. We are so thankful that we can visit the in-laws from time-to-time. And it has nothing to do with the fact that there’s beautiful weather and pickleball at Del Webb… well maybe, a little. 😉