The power of pickleball could mean be a number of things. It could be the health benefits - both physical and mental - from exercising and strategizing on the pickleball court (including being a vehicle to get historically non-active people out onto the court and moving around). Or, it could be the fact that pickleball can be played by multiple generations at the same time. But, to me, the real power of pickleball is the relationships that the sport of pickleball fosters and creates.
For instance, without pickleball, I would have never met my mixed partner, John Davison (who affectionately is also known as "The People's Champ"). John, like a lot of others in our pickleball community, is both a true competitor and a comic on the pickleball court. I cannot tell you how many points John and I have yelled in unison "C'MON!" before turning with smiles and laughter back to the baseline for the next point. Even on a bad day - even when it was my bad day - John always makes being on the pickleball court fun and enjoyable, which is exactly what our great sport is all about.
What I always find interesting about pickleball players is learning who they are and what they do off the court. Too many times to count, I have been surprised at how multi-faceted and how multi-talented the person across from me at the pickleball net really is. Take John "The People's Champ" Davison for example. John's athletic career started on the soccer field as a goalie, which was capped off with his collegiate career at the University of North Florida. Off the court, John is a Senior Financial Analyst with FIS in Jacksonville, Florida, which explains his deep analysis of our UTPR ratings over time! When he is not crunching numbers or playing pickleball, John also brings his "The People's Champ" brand to the racing track, where he races is #10 War Wagon (actually a Mazda MX-5 Miata) on tracks across the State of Florida, including in Sebring this weekend.
I think most pickleball players can attest that pickleball bleeds over into most facets of their lives. Most pickleball players cannot help but promote our great game at every opportunity, as the joy of the sport carries over in many parts of our lives. And, I am happy to report that the same is true for The People's Champ.
Last night, I received a text from John to check Facebook. Like a good partner, I listened and, to my surprise and shock, I see a large and recognizable "PICKLER" logo donned across three sides of John's #10 War Wagon! How freaking cool will it be for Pickler to be flashing around the racing track in Sebring, Florida today, which will hopefully bring a few opportunities for John to promote our great sport of pickleball to the world of racing.
If you have not had the chance to meet The People's Champ in person, or even through social media (as he is known to have some quick-witted comments on The Pickleball Forum on Facebook), then I hope that is corrected in the near future. Look out for John "The People's Champ" Davison on the tracks in Sebring, Florida this weekend, as well as on the pickleball courts in Atlanta, Georgia at the PPA Georgia Open between September 17th and September 20th.
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