Pine woman battling for pickleball title
A Pine Township woman is off to Cleveland to play pickleball in the National Senior Games.
Kathy Fawcett, 70, and her doubles partner, Sharyn Trickett-Lammers, 66, of Bradford Woods, along with more than 10,000 others, are competing in the biennial games that run through Aug 1.
The National Senior Games hosts 19 different sporting events for adults ages 50 and older.
The pair qualified for the national games by winning third place in the doubles event at the Pennsylvania Senior Games in Harrisburg in July 2012.
Fawcett said those who qualify for nationals must win first, second or third place in an event at the state games. Fawcett also qualified to compete in the singles event at nationals.
She and Trickett-Lammers will compete against 17 other doubles teams in the female 65-69 age group, she said.
“We're going to win, but we always tell ourselves, we're just going to have fun,” said Fawcett as she prepared to leave for the games. “We believe the competition is going to be very good.”
Trickett-Lammers said they have been practicing together at least twice a week to train for the national competition. She said they haven't adopted a specific regimen.
“Kathy and I have adopted the attitude — the more we play, the better we get,” she said.
Pickleball is a fast-paced game described as a combination of tennis, ping pong and badminton, said Ruth Rosenquist, media relations chairwoman for the United States of America Pickleball Association.
The game is played on a small court, about one-third the size of a tennis court, with a solid wooden or composite racquet and a ball similar to a Wiffle ball, she said.
The game was created in 1965 by Joel Pritchard, a congressman from Washington, and some of his friends, according to the USAPA's website.
Rosenquist said more people are playing pickleball, with more than 5,000 places to play nationwide. Pickleball is just beginning to gain ground in Western Pennsylvania, Trickett-Lammers said. Allegheny County Parks recently converted a tennis court in North Park into a pickleball court, she said.
Both women began playing pickleball at the Rose E. Schneider YMCA in Cranberry.
Fawcett has been playing for five years, and Trickett-Lammers has been playing for two.
They are both former competitive tennis players.
While there isn't an organized league in the area, Fawcett said there are usually 60 or 70 people who are signed up to play at the YMCA.
“It's really a lot of fun, I love the game,” she said.
Fawcett said when she stopped playing tennis, she also stopped participating in anything competitive. But when she began to play pickleball, she had the opportunity to compete again.
“We said, let's try the Harrisburg state games. And when we qualified for these national games, we thought ‘you never know what's going to happen going down the road in your life,'” Fawcett said. “I've never won anything, so this is my chance to try it.”
Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.