Resident Highlight of the Month

The year is 1965……

Joel Pritchard and his 2 friends have just returned from a day of golfing find their families lounging around with nothing to do. With a badminton court in his backyard, Joel figures that’s a perfect solution to the problem, but is unable to locate a set of rackets. Thinking on their toes, the men grab ping-pong paddles, a wiffle ball, and lower the net and the game of pickleball is born.

Wondering where the name pickleball came from?

Joel’s family dog, Pickles, liked to join in the fun and run off with the ball every once in a while, so they deemed it appropriate to name the game after their four-legged friend.

Pickleball is currently one of the fastest growing sports in America and is being played by athletes old and young. Still don’t know what pickleball is? Take a little bit of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, mix it with a paddle and a whiffle ball and there you have it. The game is taking over rec leagues, parks, and community centers across the country and Collington is no exception. Thanks to resident Ann Marie Rahn, pickleball is now a sport everyone on campus can enjoy.

Ann Marie spent her life playing tennis and had a deep love for the game, but as she got older it became harder and harder for her to play. “Playing tennis put too much stress on my body, I wanted to find a way to stay active and something that would serve my competitive spirit but be easier on my body,” says Ann Marie. Shortly after moving to Collington in December 2018, Ann Marie found herself reading the Collingtonian and stumbled across an article highlighting Norma Taylor, who played pickleball in the Maryland Senior Olympics. Her interest was immediately piqued. A sport that combined her love for tennis with a new twist that wouldn’t be so harsh on her body? It sounded perfect!

Ann Marie, along with her spouse Kathleen Light and their friend Sheena Macpherson all went out to the tennis courts and began playing together regularly. The more they played the more their interest grew and they wanted to know more about the game and how to play it. They set up a dinner with Norma Taylor and they almost got more than they bargained for – a two page list of places to play locally and an offer to help them learn the game. Shortly after, Ann Marie started to publicize their almost daily playing on the tennis courts and pickleball at Collington quickly took off. Ann Marie took on the role of promoter for the group and before she knew it, she had a dozen people coming out to play. “I couldn’t believe how fast it grew, we did just a little bit of publicity and all of the sudden we had all these people showing up!” Ann Marie says.

Now with a core group of 6-8 people coming out to play regularly, and expert instruction from Norma on the finer points of the game, Ann Marie is working on the next steps in making the sport of pickleball more official at Collington. With the help of the Collington Fitness and Resident’s Association Committees they were able to get rackets and balls purchased for the group. The next obstacle Ann Marie is prepared to tackle is getting permanent lines on the tennis court for her and her Players to use. “Right now we have temporary lines on the court so we can play but we would ideally like to have permanent ones put on,” Ann Marie shares. She has been working closely with Rob Reigle, Assistant Director of Facilities, who has been an integral part of getting things moving for the growing pickleball group.

In the short time that Ann Marie has been at Collington she has made a big impact, and aside from pickleball on campus, she just joined the Pickleball league in Prince George’s County. She is an active participant in Weed Warriors and the Grounds Committee, weekly visits a resident in the Creighton Center, is a member of the Outreach Committee which helps tutor elementary school students in math and reading and has also recently joined the Buildings committee.

Ann Marie is so thrilled to be at Collington. “They make living so easy here, the campus is beautiful with the flowers, bushes and trees, birds singing, paths through the woods and I am able to fall asleep to the sound of frogs. And the people make it even better.” She loves the diversity and wide range of interests that everyone at Collington has, it creates so many activities so no one can ever be bored!