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New Pickleball Group Is a Big Hit

New resident Laura McVicker expands options for organized Pickleball in Issaquah

I moved to Issaquah Highlands from San Diego, Calif., last November for a job and to be closer to family. (I know – I do miss the sun!)

As an active person who played high school sports and always enjoys the camaraderie of athletic activities, I was curious to try my hand at pickleball. I wanted to get outside (or on an indoor court during the winter), get active and meet people in my community.

I’d casually played a few times in California and had heard how popular it was in the Seattle area, so I figured there would be a bevy of places to find pick-up games close by.

I was surprisingly wrong.

I joined several pickleball Facebook groups located in the Puget Sound region. Shoreline. Auburn. Green Lake. Kirkland. Every community seemed to have regular pick-up play except Issaquah. To be fair, the Issaquah Community Center offered open-gym pickleball, but it was during the workday, so it was tough for me to find two hours to leave work to play.

I reached out in the Issaquah Highlands Facebook group, inquiring if anyone was interested in organizing some games. I was overwhelmed by the interest. At least 40 people commented that they, too, were interested in organized pickleball games in Issaquah, but they weren’t sure where to play. I apparently was onto something.

Through communication with the Highlands Council, we were able to set aside courts at Central Park every Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. for pickleball. After the weather improved, we started seeing newbies trickle in to play.

Seeing new introductions between neighbors and watching others help pickleball novices (like me) learn the game and improve is great – all against the beautiful backdrop of Central Park.

I envision that perhaps three courts will soon not be enough for the onslaught of pickleballers turning out.

I know how I’ll be spending my Monday evenings this summer! Join me on the pickleball court!

Laura McVicker is a Wynhaven resident.

What to Expect When You Show Up: A Great Experience!

Hearing that pickleball was considered the official sport of Washington, as well as the fact that it was easy to learn and play, I realized I had to see what it was all about.

The timing of the new pickleball group created in Issaquah Highlands was perfect. My husband and I decided to go check it out, and we’re so happy we did.

I’ve heard that pickleball players are friendly people, and we discovered right away that is the absolute truth. We walked onto the courts and everyone there was warm and welcoming. The organizers – Penny, Dennis, and Laura – were great about making sure everyone was introduced and felt comfortable.

When we explained that this was our first experience with the game, they took that in stride and clearly outlined the basics of serving, scoring and the court lines. Our crash course in rules was followed by a warm-up to get familiar with the paddle, ball and court.

We realized quickly that the best way to learn is to just play the game, and that’s what we did.

The organizers and other experienced players were encouraging, supportive and patient throughout. It was so much fun, and we were hooked. On top of that, we met a lot of great people of all ages and felt a real sense of camaraderie.

This pickleball group is another incredible way for the people of our community to meet and connect!

Carol Halas is a Dahlia Park resident.