Episode 3 Camaraderie and Pickleball

January 6, 2023

So about a year and a half ago, in the spring of 2021, I was on the phone with my friend Gail and I said to her “What is this pickle thing you keep talking about, something about some sport you’re playing or some game you’re playing?”. She replied “you don’t know what pickleball is?”

No, at the time I had never heard of it but of course, at this point in time, you’d have to be living under a tree not to know what pickleball is. But I hope you’ll withhold the eye rolling and hear me out because pickleball completely changed my life.

So Gail tells me what pickleball is and, as we rent a house together in Martha’s Vineyard, it dawned on me that Gail would be going off to play pickleball with her friends, and I would be left in the dust. So I found a clinic and took a couple of lessons and ended up playing pickleball pretty much five times a week all summer long. It was fabulous.

I came back to New York from the island bound and determined to find a place to play pickleball. One evening after dinner, I walked down to the corner of 36th and Second Ave where there were a bunch of people playing pickleball outside. I went up to the fence and almost immediately an older gentleman came walking over to me and he said, “Hey, do you want to play? Do you play?”.  I got really shy because I had just gone down to nose around. I didn’t expect to be immediately approached by someone inviting me in, especially not in New York City. So when I say it changed my life, I mean that.

It was the first time I had played a sport with other people in as long as I can remember. Growing up, I played softball, racquetball, soccer and basketball, but only once in something like 30 years had I played a sport like pickleball. It was really fun to go back to that childhood exuberance, and I think it’s really revealing to see how people behave on the court, right? You see the people that are hard on themselves. You see the hot heads. You see those people that are super strategic that you underestimate. You see the people that get excited. Me? I scream and banter a lot. It’s just a whole lot of fun.

What I love about it in New York is that when I showed up, for the first many months, I had no idea who anybody was. I only knew their name and more or less, where they live. It’d be like “Hey, Josh, where do you live? First and 23rd?  and “Mary, wait, I can’t remember. Mary, where do you live? 46th and Fifth?”  I knew nothing about these people. I didn’t know where they were from, what their jobs were, not even their last names. It’s been very interesting to see how these relationships have evolved over the past year.

One of the things I love is that it’s people of all ages and men and women playing together. I would say the age range in my group is from about 19 to 82. The people that don’t want to be generous players, playing with  anyone just for fun, form their own private groups.  But the people that show up on 36th and 2nd Ave are there for the camaraderie and the fun, and it really doesn’t matter who you’re playing with. There are people from Sri Lanka, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, Florida, New Jersey and California. There are teachers and doctors and business owners, and IT professionals.

It’s something that really warms my heart, and I’ve gotten to know people a little bit better. One guy who I love, Marc, is a urologist who had a midlife crisis, left his business and his wife, and ended up buying a winery and getting remarried. He lives on the Upper West Side. He’s in his eighties, and he is one of the most fun and most strategic players in the group. And then there’s Danny. Danny’s like 20, and I’m older than both of his parents. He texted me just the other day – I don’t even remember his last name – and said, “can we get together to have that drink?  I want to hear more about your career in the fashion business”.

So, I’ve just made these new pals and little by little I hear about whose parent is not well, whose kid is getting married, who is off on a big life adventure, who’s going to their winter retreat in Florida. It’s just really something that has brought a lot to my life here.

I’ll leave you with this. Yesterday I was playing with four people and I said to this guy, Rich – it was three women and Rich – I said ‘Rich, I feel terrible. Every time I play with you, you lose.’ And he looked me square in the eye and he said, ‘Constance  I love playing with you. I get exercise and I have fun, and that’s what I’m here for.’

So towards the end of the day yesterday, he said, “I want to play with Constance. And he said to me, ‘Constance, I want to take the center. You’re moving into the center too much. So just stay on your side and relax into it.  You’re being too hard on yourself. Let’s, let’s do this.’ And of course we won.

I felt so appreciative that Rich heard me. He responded by simply extending his friendship and his camaraderie in a way that really warmed my heart.

So if you stuck with me this far, thank you. And ask yourself this question. If you haven’t played pickle ball before, why haven’t you tried it? Trust me, there’s a reason why it’s sweeping the country. People love it. It’s fun, it’s inclusive, it’s easy, and it’s everywhere. Just show up with a beginner’s mind.

That’s all for now. Until next time, from my heart to yours.

Join thousands of others

Stay in the loop on new episodes


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

dear Listeners,

Friends say I live my life out loud. That’s because I’m a curious, adventurous person and, as an appreciator, I simply love to share what lights me up. Consider this is your invitation into my fun, multi-faceted world.

read on

Book an Advisory Session

I absolutely love feedback, please your thoughts

Stay in the loop

join Thousands of others

Get instant alerts as my new episodes drop

From my heart to yours

Share Your Thoughts

book a session


Let’s get to the heart of matters
– to what matters most to you

Schedule time with me to:

“Speaking with Constance helped me to see myself  – and my experience –with fresh perspective.  I got great clarity and completely shifted gears. She totally got it. The experience fully re-energized me.”

Jim Conley – Senior Executive
ex- YouTube, Google, Twitter

Stay in the loop

join Thousands of others

Get instant alerts as my new episodes drop

From my heart to yours