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November 30, 2023

Funny Papers Again Column | People Become Picklers and Parents Become Dancers

When Sen. Anna Caballero was in King City recently, she presented a check of $400,000 to City Manager Steve Adams and Recreation Coordinator Andrea Wasson and cut the ribbon on the newly acquired ladder fire truck, which officially put the rig on active duty. Great stuff that received much appreciation; but it was an odd little sideline mention that got the biggest cheer.

And what, you ask, got this reaction? Pickleball. I didn’t stutter. Pickleball. This is a game, or sport, or activity, whatever, which is a smaller, less active form of tennis; sort of. It is played with a lowered net and smaller boundary lines and uses a paddle, which is ping-pong paddle sized, maybe a bit larger, and a whiffle-type ball in lieu of a regular tennis ball.

It seems this, let’s go with activity, this activity has been around for decades, but in the past 10 years is really catching on, so with the money from Sen. Caballero, Ms. Wasson will be able to do some magic down at the local tennis courts and make room for those who want to get pickled.

That was how I opened, and hoped to close, on the subject of pickleball, but when I saw the Rustler photo, front-page-above-the-fold, not Sen. Caballero with city officials, and there were a few taken, but instead surrounded by pickleball enthusiasts, I decided to do a bit more research.

Now, hours later after having read a couple histories and watched a documentary, I know much more. Far too much to include in one column, but here are some more pertinent facts; which supersedes the piddling account I offered above.

The starting point was an island off the Washington coast and the year 1965 when two fathers, Dick and Joe, made up an activity to occupy their children; it was roughly based on tennis and ping-pong and badminton, roughly. After a few weeks the adults found the activity kinda fun, so they all but took over when Barney joined the group, and now wives and husbands were playing and in 1967 neighbor Bill built a court to specifications of Barney, who also made up the first rudimentary rules and crafted the first paddles. And Pickleball was born.

As is the way of new things, the word spread and Barney and sons founded Pickleball Inc. and began selling kits of a net, two paddles and four balls for $29.50; the balls made special with 26-40 holes. In the decades since, especially the past 15 years, Pickleball has grown into a major industry with a national association and national championships with some 4.8 million adherents; which are officially called not pickleites nor picklonians or picklese but just plain ol’ picklers.

We have picklers in King City, no doubt will have more as time passes and surely in a few years not to distant we will have an indoor Pickleball facility; mark my words.

***

As the year begins to wind down, let me remind you folks the Arts are alive and well in King City, so some entertaining times are a’comin’ our way. If you want to get in on the festivities quickly, then this weekend is the last opportunity to see Sol Treasures delightful “Once on the Island Jr.” on stage at the Stanton Theatre. Soon after the first of the year, they will begin rehearsals for a May performance run of “Fiddler on the Roof”; a cast of adults and youth both local and from points elsewhere.

As I write this, the venerable Stage Hands, now with 40-plus years of performance history, have re-grouped and re-dedicated themselves after the pandemic shut down. The troupe is currently rehearsing for two performances of the holiday favorite done as a radio show; it will be a performance of “It’s a Wonderful Life” likely never experienced before by audiences.

Staged in front of microphones as in the Golden Days of Radio, the cast, some taking on multiple roles, read through the timeless story of the worth of one human life. Scheduled for two shows the first two days of December at the King City Recreation Center, Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. Those performances are preceded on Friday evening by the annual lighted Christmas Parade sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. The route of this year’s parade may require some tweaking depending upon the status of Broadway construction.

And here are some nice little sidelines to this year’s annual “The Nutcracker Ballet,” set for Dec. 8 through 10. A dozen or more roles in the Opening Scene are often filled with guest performers, mostly adults, who fill, with a few exceptions, characters which only appear in that specific scene; a fact which has allowed for some nice pairings. Last year Kelly’s mom Shauna, who had never been on stage before in her life, played a maid in what was her graduating senior daughter’s last “Nutcracker” performance. This year that scenario plays out again with dad Fabian appearing with senior Chloe in her last year with the dance studio.

And also, this: a few years ago, I had physical therapy for a knee operation and one of the therapists at that time was pregnant. A few years later, more therapy for the other knee, and the therapist’s child was a toddler. The next therapy sessions were for a shoulder and the little girl was in school and later yet, just a few months ago, another shoulder went kerflooey and back to physical therapy and I find out the girl is a ballerina, one of the little girls in the Opening Scene, name of Emily.

But this time the mother once informed me she had done theatre in high school and when the role of the second maid went unfilled for a couple rehearsals, I suggested to my therapist she contact the director and have a chat. And that is how Beatriz and Emily will come away with a great memory.

Take care. Peace.

Steve Wilson
Steve Wilson
King City and Greenfield columnist Steve Wilson may be reached at [email protected].

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