Pickleball With the Professionals
Updated: Jul 28, 2022
Led by the indomitable Alex Fox, The Landings Club court sports professionals took to the courts on a recent Friday evening to demonstrate the finer points of America’s fastest growing sport. The standing room only crowd of seventy-five dedicated pickleball fans was treated to a pickleball master class.
Alex, The Landing Club head pickleball pro, was joined by well-known court-sports luminaries Mike Hardman and Paul Boslet. Bradley Morse, a visiting pickleball pro and long-time friend and playing partner of Alex’s from Washington State rounded out the foursome.
After the professionals played four exhibition games, Alex and Bradley stayed on the court, handicapped themselves by playing with frying pans instead of paddles, and took on the dynamic father-son team of Stephen and Benjamin Greene. Benjamin, a rising fifth grader at Savannah Country Day stole the show with his formidable skills and aggressive play. He was unquestionably the star of the night. Those who watched were treated to a glimpse of the future of the sport.
Alex and his fellow pros played four games. Spectators noted that they make the same mistakes as us lesser sorts, only not as often. They hit the ball harder, slow the game strategically, dink with a surgeon’s touch and, unlike this scribe, curse less, or not at all. The professionals make pickleball seem easy, and in a sense it is. The fundamentals of the game are simple to grasp, anyone can learn to play. But, as is true with most sports, knowing the fundamentals is only the first step to proficiency. To be more than a casual participant takes dedication, time, lessons and effort.
That’s why Benjamin’s participation was so gratifying. Watching the ten-year old wunderkind play, one is reminded of victorious Roman generals leading their victory parades down the broad avenues of ancient Rome. Slaves, standing at their sides in chariots whispered, “You are mortal, all glory is fleeting.”
According to Stephen Greene, Benjamin began playing tennis when he was six. A little over a year ago, he started joining his dad every Sunday morning for pickleball open play. He fell in love with the game and is now a fixture in the group. The pickleball community has embraced Benjamin’s participation. According to Stephen, “while Benjamin is always the youngest player on the court, everyone has been so accepting that he is on a first name basis with folks five or six times his age.” He advises: “Go easy on the kid at your peril!”
Ten-year old Benjamin represents the future. Take heed pickleball professionals, all glory is fleeting.
(Photos: Tim Pitts)