With just eight ladies, a roll of masking tape on a tennis court, and a couple rackets, Denise Donald founded the South Jersey pickleball group in 2011. 11 years later, South Jersey pickleball welcomes 1,400 new members either looking for some friendly competition, or just a good time. Several counties in South Jersey have begun offering lessons to anyone looking to improve their skills, with some counties even offering free lessons to seniors.
“It just turns into a great whole new group of friends that you never knew you had. They’re just fantastic,” Denise said when explaining the relationships and comradery she has found through the sport.
One particular group of friends reflected how pickleball helped improve their lives through difficult times, and has helped create a fun way for them all to stay active while enjoying time together. These friendships have surpassed age, and go further than the sport itself. Some South Jersey pickleballers found themselves having happy hours and planning other activities with their fellow pickleballers off the court. Denise mentioned, “Pickleball is a sport that anybody can play. We’ve got 8-year-olds, we’ve got 80-year-olds, and a generation can all play together on the same court.”
For more information or questions regarding how to get involved or how you can receive pickleball lessons, join their FaceBook group at “South Jersey Pickleball.”