Pickle Ball in Prison

Before I came here I heard rumors that many prisons and jails had pickle ball.  Unfortunately, prisons aren’t like hotels and you can’t get on the internet to check on the accommodations prior to your arrival.  I lucked out that we have one indoor court and one outdoor court.  I can only run so many laps around the track or ride an exercise bike for so long.  In the practice of gratitude, I have to say that I am lucky to have an exercise bike, but it doesn’t compare to the views or the climb riding up Sidewinder or Shane’s Loop.

With pickle ball there is the mental acuity portion of the sport.  Quick reaction times, stimulation, it is challenging and competitive.  Then you have the physical component.  Explosive moves in different directions, the art of clean shots and smooth strokes.  Everyone seems to be firing on all cylinders when we play.  They’re all alive, and with that, comes a lot of banter.

Four of us in particular have really good games.  Myself and my teammate both have a tennis background and just started playing pickle ball – you see it in the way we play.  More ground stroke oriented and playing from the baseline. The other two guys have several years of pickle ball experience from time spent in prison.  They have affectionately named our games “Tweakers vs Collars”.

Two former methamphetamine users vs two white collar guys.  Heaven forbid we misspeak when we say the score.  Off by just a point?  The white collar jokes began to fly.  “This isn’t a balance sheet for you guys to fudge!!”  All in jest, but nonetheless, it’s good to make light of what we can around here.  It’s also good to meet people I genuinely enjoy who come from different walks of life yet we find common ground that unites us.

I’ve been known to be a bit of a gear nut and it’s freeing to have only several paddles to choose from.  All of which are exceptionally old, thoroughly beat up, accessible to anyone who wants to play, and they are perfectly fine.

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