The Summer of Pickleball Camp


I can tell the season is coming to an end because when I wake up to play pickleball on the court by 7:00 am it is still dark. Today I even discovered how to turn on the court lights. Do the clocks change soon? Or is it because I am now on the west side of the Eastern time zone so the sun takes it’s time rising over here? Anyway, I can sense a change in seasons coming up.

Why on earth am I getting myself dressed and over to a pickleball court by 7 am you ask? And did I mention this happens 4-5 times a week? My retirement has entered a new phase and whether you want to say I’m addicted or as we prefer to call ourselves: ‘Pickleholics’, it is certainly a fun filled challenge where I have made new friends and gained some new skills.

I started playing pickleball once a week last fall. Lucky for us my community has a beginner friendly group which meets Mondays at 10:00 am. Honestly, I was not very good at all, but I kept coming back. Slowly I started to meet people and we exchanged phone numbers to set up a time to play later in the week. I quit working with the horses at the beach so I could play more often and socialize with neighbors. I was feeling very committed to this new sport.

Just as I started to get excited about making it outside to the court to play with my new friends, I encountered a horrific face rash. After a trip to the emergency room, a CT scan, a series of antibiotics and steroids it finally cleared up. What caused it? This is still unclear. It looked and felt like Shingles on one side of my face at a time, but I did have the shot so that shouldn’t have happened. Was it an allergic reaction? The allergist did a test and found I’m allergic to dust mites and ragweed but since I have now lived in Florida full time for two years, suggested it could be environmental. He recommended further testing. Did we pick up COVID on our Viking cruise to Europe in June? Most probably. We got colds and felt tired and a rash is one of the many symptoms of COVID too.

Staying out of the sun in air-conditioning proved to be the best way to deal with the rash. Was it the heat? Well, I wrote a blog post about staying out of the heat, especially here in Florida so I know it is important but what about Pickleball?

This is when the 7:00 am court reservations began. After my 6:18 alarm goes off, I drink a cup of collagen enhanced coffee as I don my light colored athletic skort and UPF 50 top, special pickleball court shoes, my hat and sunglasses. I let Harry out on the Lanai to christen the screen as I grab my ice filled water bottle and towel. Hopping into my golf cart, I cruise down the quiet street that resembles the neighborhood on “The Good Place” TV show starring Kristen Bell. Similarly dressed adults gather as we walk down the sidewalk leading to the 8 painted green concrete courts. The rule is no playing until 7, so we hang our bags on our pre-reserved court and wait to begin. Ready? 0 – 0 – Start!

Earlier this summer I realized I could use a little help, so I signed up for small group lessons with our Pickleball Pro on Wednesdays. The coolest time available was 7 am so that kept my mornings consistent and reminded me of when my kids went off to summer camp. Sunscreen and hydration being top of the list of the important things to remember about summer.

Last year in Florida I went to Yoga school once a week. It was a 200 hour teacher training program at Heartwood Institute geared for people over 50. I learned a lot and met some great people so continued with my studies in a Hybrid 300 hour teacher training program. The people I met during the intensive week on the Heartwood property were wonderful, but I am struggling to complete the coursework on my own at home. Online learning is not for everyone. Well, there is no deadline, so it will get done when it gets done.

So this is what retirement in Florida looks like for me so far:

School. Camp. Part-time job. Volunteer. Travel. Reading. Writing my memoir.

What is the best thing that you did this summer?


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Runaway Widow
Join me, Kristin, on my journey to adjust to the sudden death of my husband and learn to live as a young, middle-aged, remarried widow.

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