I want to share a hug I have discovered this year and some of the reasons that I love it so much. You may take this particular sport on yourself and my hope is that you will feel my passion for it and be increasingly aware of the passion you have for certain activities how you embrace them and make them a key part of your life. If you don’t have something that nurtures you I hope that my vigor for and about pickleball will help to inspire you to search it out. Maybe you know what activity you love and you haven’t been making it a priority or giving it the time and energy it really needs to ground you and “fire you up” about life. I write this to help to better explain the different levels of hugs both literal and metaphorical. I define a hug as “any positive healthy and connective energy that brings acceptance, healing, and peace.”
For me, Pickleball is a self-care hug. It is such a beautiful game on so many levels and one of the magic qualities of sport is that when we are really lost in it we are totally embracing the moment. As soon as I put that paddle in my hand and I am out on the court I am in my “huggy place.” The game has a specific set of rules and the camaraderie and support of the other players is great. Players are working together to make each other better and to both have fun and a high level of competition. To me, this healthy connectivity and competition is an inspiration of what could be possible on any playing field even going so far as in the political arena or on the world stage.
We can only truly live in any given moment and losing ourselves in an activity that brings joy and connectivity is one of the best That is what hugging oneself is all about. For you, it might be fishing, crocheting, gardening, book club, bird watching or… The challenge is to regularly build these – self hugs – into your schedule and truly appreciate them and embrace them.
Let me tell you a little bit more about pickleball in case it’s something you are unfamiliar with or have only heard about it passing. Pickleball was invented in the 1960s as a children’s back yard game. I bold game because game and playing are a HUGe part of being in that hugging place. Being able to get lost in an activity that both makes you mindful/present/meditative and that you get lost in it and have fun that’s where the joy is. To be playing something competitive that demands your attention, yet it’s fun, and you are growing and learning all at the same time. That’s one of the ways that I describe a hug. And since exercise is generally good for us I find myself chasing around a ball and not thinking “oh no” I have to exercise, but instead “I can’t wait to get out on the pickleball court. That’s why Pickleball is a HUGe hug to me.
Pickleball in a nutshell
The simplest way to describe it is that it is a game right in between ping pong and tennis. The court is smaller than a tennis court and bigger than a ping pong table. The pickleball paddle is bigger than a ping pong paddle and smaller than a tennis racket. Just like ping pong and tennis, it can be played in singles or doubles. I learned the other day that it will likely be a college sport before too long. I am not going to go into all of the rules and one of the coolest things that set it apart a bit from the other sports is “the kitchen”. This is an area on both sides of the net that players have specific rules around when and how they can enter “the kitchen”. It’s a little tricky to explain and suffice it to say that this feature makes this an amazing game of offense and defense and makes touch and control as important, if not more than, force and power. Both are an important part of pickleball games and I think this is an excellent metaphor for life. If you want to know more details about pickleball history or the rules of the game I give you wiki. Sending you the biggest hugs of lightness, joy, sport, and play. My mom was right – hugs make all the difference. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickleball