Palm Beach Gardens Woman Stays Active On Pickleball Court
Written by PickleBall.net
March 04, 2013
Betty White has nothing on Sally Wilks.
As White is known for her spunk and boundless energy, Wilks could show her a thing or two.
While most 86-year-old women can be found up at their clubhouses playing bridge, you’ll more likely find Wilks running around on the pickleball court at the North Palm Beach Community Center. Haven’t heard of pickleball? Ask Wilks — she’ll tell you to Google it.
“I looked on the Internet to see what it’s all about,” said Wilks, of Palm Beach Gardens. “It’s hard to describe. It’s played on a badminton court. You play it with a large wiffle ball and a special paddle.”
Wilks, who had regularly played tennis, was thrown by the odd timing. “It’s frustrating,” she said. “The ball doesn’t go to you — you have to keep your eye on the ball and go to the ball.” Difficult, but doable.
“First of all, it was humiliating and frustrating. Then you get better, and you think maybe I can do this after all.” So did her best friend Linda McGivern, 20 years her junior, who introduced her to the game. Fearing pickleball is going to spread like wildfire in South Florida, she was a little reluctant to talk about it. After all, most neighborhoods are lacking pickleball courts, so court time would be limited.
It’s no wonder she’s hip to this new sport, she’s always been a forward thinker. Coming of age in the mid 1940s, young ladies would contemplate their lives.
There were three choices — housewife, nurse or school teacher. Wilks chose entrepreneur. “I lived in Massachusetts and taught art. I got tired of doing that and started a small manufacturing business, a cottage industry out of my own house — ladies tennis, golf and active wear,” Wilks said. “It was in the ’80s when tennis was hot. If you had a good idea, and a good product, you could probably do something with it.”
Wilks credits many things to her good health, limiting stress, keeping busy, counting her blessings and not counting calories.