PALM COAST, Fla. (September 24, 2023) – It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the nation, and by the looks of it in Palm Coast, there won’t be an empty court to be had over the next few months.
As the snowbirds begin to arrive, and the summer heat subsides, residents and visitors team up or set time to play their favorite competitors at parks across Flagler County, meanwhile earning bragging rights during the annual Senior Games in Palm Coast.
Taking second place in the 75-79 age doubles division, Sandra Massie and Richard Clauson enjoy the competitiveness of the sport.
“He just taught me, I’m relatively new,” admitted Massie, an avid tennis player. “It’s fun.”
“I’ve played for a couple of years, once a week.,” said Clauson. “It’s growing because it’s easy to play, everybody can get involved. I can’t wait to play.”
Dennis Redican, a parks and recreation manager for the City of Palm Coast says it’s not unusual to have 90 people courtside.
“It’s been growing. Every year we hold this event it feels like it’s been growing and growing. This year we had 112 candidates playing our singles, our doubles and our mixed matches. It’s a great event where a lot of local players come and play. Pickleball is more of a social game, so they also come and hang out,” said Redican, who has grown to love the sport.
“The Senior Games is a different type of event. The top five teams will move on to the state. Next year they’ll do nationals. I think it’s something that they just enjoy this atmosphere. They come together for the community event but it’s also that competitive edge of trying to move on to states,” he said.
Lifelong athlete Merrie Routson has played in the Senior Games for the past few years.
“This is my fourth Senior Games. I like it because over 50, you play more of an age bracket instead of a skill set. So, you will play people who are a lot better than you or not as good as you. It brings out a lot of social activities. We all know each other. Pickleball is the most addictive game there has ever been. You can play it with your grandkids. We have people from 20-80 who are playing pickleball every single day.”
“You look forward to playing in this, you look in anticipation at who’s playing, who’s inched up in the brackets or not. Bottom line, it’s just a lot of fun.”