The Power of Pickle Ball

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Henry Morin believes in the power of Pickle Ball-which is not a tasty treat you can pick up at the county fair and does not take even a dash of vinegar. What it does require is a whiffle ball, some racquets, and a court twice as long as it is wide. According to Mr. Morin, “pickle ball is a mini-tennis game with minor modifications, and when you play, you quickly get used to all the questions about the name.”

Henry explains the origin of the unique moniker: “Pickles was the family dog of the Congressman from the state of Washington who started the game in 1965. He started playing the game in a driveway, and when the ball went off the court, the dog called pickles would get the ball and hide. The players would call for pickles, and the neighbors said they were playing Pickle Ball.”

From a driveway in Washington to the Senior Olympic Games, Pickle Ball has certainly evolved, and Mr. Morin has fast become one of the pioneers of the sport. When he made the decision to move to Greenspring Retirement Village, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Springfield, VA, several years ago, he brought his beloved Pickle Ball with him. The ever growing team at Greenspring counts several Olympic Gold Medal winners among its members-including Mr. Morin himself several times over.

Pickle Ball has been such a sensation in the world of retirement living that a Korean news crew recently included an interview with Mr. Morin and footage of the pickle ball team in a feature they are preparing on the increasingly active nature of retirement living in America. Mr. Morin recalled, “It was interesting because I could speak to them with the little Korean I had learned while I was stationed there with the Army.”

Mr. Morin, who was an electronic engineer with Navel Air Systems Command in Washington for 22 years, remembers feeling confident in his decision when he choose Greenspring but says that he’s “come to like it more and more” in the past three years. He felt his opinion was confirmed when Governor Warner called Greenspring “the Cadillac of retirement communities” during a recent visit.

In addition to playing lots of Pickle Ball, Mr. Morin is involved in the drama club at the community and teaches ballroom dancing to his fellow residents. He also takes dance classes at a local senior center to further hone his skills. Henry smiles when he explains why he likes to dance, “My mother taught me early that it is important for a man to know how to dance, and I discovered that when you dance you get to hold a woman. It’s nice to get software in your arms.”

When he is not busy with planned activities, he enjoys the community pool, Jacuzzi, and health club. “A big reason why I came here is the active lifestyle I can have because of all the nice facilities they have for us,” says Henry. These facilities provide the perfect place for Mr. Morin to train for his next pickle ball game and the upcoming Olympics.

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