Industry News Local Players Pick Up Pickleball, With Lots of Relish

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Local Players Pick Up Pickleball, With Lots of Relish
Written by     March 04, 2013    
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In a world that can be dill or even sour, those who play pickleball discover that life can be sweet.

If you ask Patricia Langiotti, 66, of Spring Ridge, nicknamed "Pickleball Pat," she will serve it to you straight, no spin.

"My husband, Ed, is a jock, always has been," she said of the 64-year-old. "I am not a jock. I am a desk jockey, so that's why this sport appeals to me. Anyone can learn it in 10 minutes."

And with Pickleball Pat as a voice of encouragement, 25 to 30 people have done just that at Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex, Spring Township, where pickleball games are held four days a week for all levels of players.

Pickleball, a hybrid of pingpong, badminton and tennis, involves two players or two teams of two players each on a netted court with lightweight paddles and an even lighter whiffle ball. The game is to 11 points, with points tallied after a successful rally following a serve.

The Langiottis discovered pickleball in Melbourne Beach, Fla., where it has become very popular among senior citizens. The couple, she a management consultant and he involved with an energy conservation company, have another home in Florida and commute regularly between there and Berks County.

Langiotti said pickleball was invented in 1965 by a Washington state senator who named it after his cocker spaniel, Pickles, an avid chaser of the balls. The USA Pickleball Association says hundreds of thousands enjoy the game.

For Langiotti, however, pickleball is a lifesaver after years of inactivity, a serious weight gain, a battle with breast cancer and upper body limitations.

"I will admit to having difficulty getting around the court at first, but as time passed and my weight dropped and flexibility improved, things got better," she said.

"It's fun and it keeps me active," added Michael Wambaugh, 59, of Exeter Township, a landscape designer who used to play basketball and racquetball but has had knee problems.

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