Exploring Pickleball

And Uncovering a Close-Knit Community Along The Way

When I moved to Mt. Lebanon in May, my goal for the summer was simple: to explore. Living in a walkable community has meant that everyday can be a new adventure for me. There’s always something new to discover.

At the beginning of my exploration, I realized that I lived in walking distance to the tennis courts by Lincoln Elementary School. Little did I know, this would spark a new summer hobby for me and my friends.

Yes, I’m talking about pickleball.

This hobby wasn’t necessarily new to us. As a high school student in Upper St. Clair there was always an end-of-the-year pickleball tournament. Most of the students participated because it allowed us to get out of class to play pickleball on the last few days of school.

What my friends and I didn’t realize at that time is that it would equip us with the basic skills needed to play a lifetime sport that we would easily pick back up in our 20s.

I was the last of my friends to return to our hometown area. As soon as I saw people playing pickleball on the Meadowcroft tennis courts, it brought me back to the fun that we had in those high school tournaments.

Eager to start my new hobby, I bought a beginner set that included two paddles and two balls and started rounding up friends to play.

In the beginning of the summer, when we would head to the Meadowcroft courts. there was often a wait to play. Some days the courts were so busy that we would scrap playing pickleball all together and end up at Scoops On Beverly instead. (Truth be told we ended up there most nights after pickleball. It’s the perfect reward!) 

I didn’t know of the plans to renovate the courts and was surprised one day when we showed up ready to play and they were under construction. (In case you missed it, here’s the story from our September issue of Mt. Lebanon Magazine outlining the transformation.) After some research, we learned that the two tennis courts were undergoing an exciting transformation into six pickleball courts!

Although there are four additional courts there now, there is no lack of players! On any given night driving along Meadowcroft I find that the courts are still packed—even if it’s chilly or lightly raining.

One of the best parts of the transformation of these courts is the community. More people seem to be showing up, which I assume is because they know they won’t be waiting as long for a court.

With all these new players, my friends and I have expanded our community of friends through the game. Even if you don’t have a friend to play with, the community members will take you under their wing and rotate you into one of the games. This is always fun. 

These courts may look intimidating because of how crowded they are, but all different types of people with all different skill levels can be found at the courts on any given day.

However, there are days when my friends and I are looking for a little more chill environment. On those days we also frequent the Williamsburg Park courts. There are three courts there so there and we often found it to be less crowded.

The essence of pickleball is an inviting and welcoming environment—especially when playing with Lebo neighbors! I’m glad I found the Meadowcroft courts because it allowed me to have something to look forward to whether it was after a long day at work or before the start of a sunny weekend.

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