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How Pickleball is Helping With Well Being at McGaw Y : Joy and Connection

How pickleball is helping with well being at McGaw Y: Pickleball More Than Just a Game for McGaw YMCA Regulars, with its social play structure and easy-to-learn rules, is more than just a fun game with an unusual name. For the dedicated group of pickleballers at the McGaw YMCA, the game builds community, friendly competition, and a sense of belonging.

The Regulars: Cedric Brandon, Susan Kleinman, and Bill Seyle

Cedric Brandon, Susan Kleinman, and Bill Seyle are three regulars on the YMCA court. Though they have different schedules and playing abilities, they agree that the game offers more than just physical activity. “Showing up on the court in the morning puts me in motion for the rest of my day,” Seyle said.

Pickleball has been around since the 1960s, but it rose in popularity in recent years. The smaller court makes it more accessible than other paddle sports like tennis, and the doubles format encourages interaction. Kleinman, a former professional racquetball player, switched to pickleball three years ago and hasn’t looked back.

The Social Aspect and Community

Pickleball truly is a social sport. Tennis is very formal, and racquetball is played in a confined room, but with this game, we’re laughing and having a lot of fun. It’s easy to learn but difficult to master. There are quirky rules, like when you can enter the area closest to the net called the ‘kitchen,’” Kleinman explained.

She values the game itself and the community it creates. “I thrive on movement and competition, but if I lose, it’s not an issue as long as I play well. Mostly, I love learning about people and who they are. The friends I make here fill a different part of my life, and everyone is so welcoming,” she stated. Pickleball is a nice sport for those looking to try something new feels Kleinman

 “Because the court is small, it’s not as aerobic as you might think. You need the ability to move quickly, but laterally, and in tandem with your partner. The game helps with balance and reflexes, which are important to strengthen as you age” – (Susan Kleinman)

A New Sport for Seyle

Seyle, having previously enjoyed tennis and Ping-Pong, shifted his exercise routine from simply getting 10,000 steps to honing his paddle skills in pickleball. Introduced by a friend at the YMCA, he now frequents the court five days a week. Drawing on his Ping-Pong muscle memory, Seyle quickly improved his game. Yet, beyond skill development, he cherishes the environment of pickleball. With over 100 participants weekly, he’s familiar with names and playing styles, recognizing strengths like powerful smashes and adept groundstrokes.

“It helps me build a new identity and existence, and is important for my mental health“- (Bill Seyle)

How Pickleball is Helping With Well Being at McGaw Y

We know each other according to what happens within these lines, on the court, but we’re not necessarily going to each other’s birthday parties. It feels like a manageable and fulfilling way to socialize, and then I can go home and have time alone,” he said.

Pickleball also gives Seyle a sense of purpose. A retired executive speechwriter, he looks forward to the routine and regularity of the game. “I wake up in the morning and I know what I’m going to do. This is a big part of my day and is almost like going to work. When you retire, you lose the identity you had at your job, and the people you felt welcome around aren’t there anymore. People here know they can depend on me as a partner, and whether I’m going to get a shot or not. It helps me build a new identity and existence, and is important for my mental health,” he explained, describing himself as an introvert, Seyle values the social interaction that pickleball provides.

Cedric Brandon’s Routine and Community Connection

As a psychotherapist specializing in Illinois Department of Children and Family Services wards, Cedric Brandon views his pickleball routine as essential self-care, energizing him to be fully present for his clients. “I work in North Lawndale and have a client base of nine teenage boys who are homeless and mentally ill. This is an opportunity for me to get it all out before I go to work. I play, sit in the sauna, take a shower, and then I can really listen and be present for my clients because I’ve taken care of myself in the morning,” he said.

“I used to be in customer service, so I’m always building relationships,” he said. “Seeing the same people here on a regular basis helps me move through the week”- Cedric Brandon

Brandon also values the community on the court as a chance for connection. “I used to be in customer service, so I’m always building relationships,” he said. “Seeing the same people here on a regular basis helps me move through the week. I like to win, but not at all costs, and the camaraderie is the most important part.”

Pickleball at McGaw Yl: Impact on Their Lives

While pickleball’s popularity continues to grow, its impact on the lives of regular players like Brandon, Kleinman, and Seyle is clear. The sport offers physical activity, social interaction, and a sense of community, making it a valuable part of their daily routines. Each of them brings a unique perspective to the game, but they all find common ground in the enjoyment and fulfillment it provides. Whether it’s through friendly competition, building new relationships, or simply maintaining a healthy lifestyle, pickleball has become more than just a game for these dedicated players. It’s a way of life that enriches their days and connects them with others in meaningful ways.

News In Brief: How pickleball is helping with well being at McGaw Y

Pickleball at McGaw YMCA isn’t just about sport; it’s a community-building, life-enhancing activity for Cedric Brandon, Susan Kleinman, and Bill Seyle. Beyond its easy rules and social play structure, pickleball fosters camaraderie and provides a sense of purpose. Kleinman values the social aspect and transition from racquetball, while Seyle finds fulfillment and routine post-retirement. Brandon, a psychotherapist, uses pickleball for self-care before his demanding workday. Together, they exemplify how pickleball transcends recreation, offering physical exercise, social connection, and a supportive community, shaping a vibrant part of their lives at the YMCA.

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