Saturday , 25 September 2021
Members of the Elk Point Pickleball Club take to the outdoor courts due to new COVID-19 restrictions

SPORTSHOUND: Take it outside

Tales from the ODC (Outdoor Courts): December 8th, 2020

These desperate times bring out desperate measures!  They say Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in North America. After playing it now for a few years I can see why. It’s a ton of fun, great exercise and almost any age can play. It can become very fast and competitive, or easy going and laid back. All depends who you are playing.  I played Pickleball twice a week outside this summer with our group from early May until the middle of October. The evenings were starting to get a little short and the weather a bit cool, so it was time to move indoors for the winter.   The Elk Point Pickleball Club was shut out of the normal winter venue at the F.G. Miller High School because of COVID-19.  But we found a venue at the Allied Arts and were able to set up two nets. Since most of the dance clubs and other users were shut down, we played a couple nights a week. Then this latest lockdown forced the Allied Arts Society to completely close their building too.

Now what? If there’s a will, there’s a way.  Doug ‘D2’ Lindquist took the initiative to investigate using the outdoor courts.  Last Monday, he grabbed his shovel from home went over the outdoor pickle ball courts and started shoveling. The forecast was above freezing weather for the next 10 days. If it was 10 or 20 below like most Decembers, he probably would have stayed home and saved his energy.  After moving a bit of snow, he notice that it was bare and dry underneath. In a couple of hours by himself he shoveled off one court.  He carried on the next day too. Shoveled off a second court. He did encounter some ice on the north end of the courts, so on Wednesday he did a little melting and chipping to take care of that. On Thursday morning, the message went out to the group. Outside courts are good to go and the forecast is plus one. So, we set up the nets and played for two hours. And everyday since then four or five players, and as many as nine on Sunday, have gotten together at 1 pm and played for a couple of hours.  We play with less than ten people and its outside, so we can safely stay within the COVID-19 restrictions. Not only is it great exercise, it’s good for the brain too.  Get out there and have some laughs. We call it the Winter Classic of Pickleball.

I wonder what happened to kids playing road hockey? I never see kids playing it anymore. Remember the good old days yelling “Car”  and moving the nets off to the side. People cursing those darn kids are out playing on the road again!  Do kids even go outside to play at all anymore?  I totally agree that it sucks that the A.G. Ross arena’s is closed due to COVID-19 and organized hockey is shut down. Believe me when I say, I am just as hurt about it as anyone. Not going to the rink on the weekend to run the clock, play music and have my usual odd hot dog…or two.  But, it only takes a couple of kids and maybe a dad to organize an outdoor game of road hockey. The weather has been too warm to flood the outdoor rink by the arena. And all the ponds and lakes are still a little iffy to skate on.

When I was a kid if the ice was crappy on the pond, we would play road hockey and at school at recess, we would play road hockey.  Even when I went to college, we still played road hockey, in the parking lot at lunch time. When my son was young, we played road hockey almost everyday right after supper.  Out on the street in front of our house with the two neighbor kids Tim and Denny Hudy. Timmy was Eddy ‘the Eagle’ Belford in net and I was Jonny Bower. Denny and Jordan would battle it out.

I know the kids still have school. But what about after school or on the weekend. Grab a few neighborhood kids, one goalie and one forward, that’s all you really need. Add more players as they show up. Set up a couple of nets or even a pair of boots and start playing. A old stick, a tennis ball or a rubber puck. That’s it.  I bet most of the guys in the NHL played road hockey. And most of them still do. I know Mark ‘the Marksman’ Letestu did for sure with the Circle Drive gang. This nice weather won’t last. Take advantage of it. You kids need to get outside and play !!

K. A. Campbell quote of the week. “ I’ve been in the twilight of my career longer than most people have had their career.” – Martina Navratilova -Tennis Player

About Doug Bassett

As Elk Point's resident sportshound, Doug Bassett has been actively involved in the local sports scene for over 30 years. He's been writing sports reports on local amateur sports starts for 20 years. Down-to-earth honest sports reporting, Doug will bring you updates on the sports that matter the most; your kids! Known for giving every kid on the team a unique nickname and highlighting their attributes, Doug will make sure you're up-to-date with scores, games, and locker room antics!