What does balance mean to the pickleball player? Standing with a comfortable stance shoulder width apart. Being able to hold that stance and not feel off balance while hitting your shot? A pickleball paddle that is well balanced such as the PROLITE Titan Pro or another brand. Given the balance issues in my past with Meneire’s Disease, I cannot help but think about that for a split second. When I think of balance now in the present, I often think of the balance of pickleball in my every day life. I have a busy life. My kids are in numerous activities as of late, I can barely keep up with their obligations. Luckily I have a wife that is, well, pretty much an angel, and keeps me up to date on schedules, their activities, who is driving who, play dates, etc. The list goes on. Oh yeah, we have a new puppy. Did I mention my wife Carrie is a full time teacher who is taking grad classes? Yeah, “stress” is a word often used in our household. Stress waits for NO ONE! We all have lives, right? How do we manage it? Balance, balance, balance.
About three years ago, I caught the tournament bug. I wanted to play as many tournaments as I could. I loved the competition and the fire it created inside of me. I also viewed this visibility as an opportunity to connect with potential partners, customers for PROLITE, and of course great networking. I found myself grasping onto all that was the tournament atmosphere. The people, the intense matches, the rec games which I truly enjoyed (I never was able to play with others that were from across the country very often, if at all), and unwinding at night catching up on work. The next morning, back at it. I loved it, but deep down I felt a feeling I had a hard time describing at first. Best way I could describe it was this empty feeling as I was missing out on something I knew I should be a part of.
This lasted for a couple of years, but each time I arrived at the airport to take a flight, getting through security and sitting down at the gate, the first thing I started doing was going through my phone’s photo gallery. Looking through the photos of my wife, my kids, the most recent weekend pictures. I could feel myself missing them before I even left. It felt a bit lonely, but what kept tugging at my heart the most was that as I was becoming so involved in that pickleball scene, it left me thinking about the type of father and husband I would become if this continued. I was clearly missing valuable time where my kids were beginning to take big leaps and bounds. I do not want to miss first words, steps, throwing a ball, anything that was a first in their short lives. If I was fulfilling my own personal goals at tournaments, I would miss this! This newfound clarity created new opportunities to balance everything out. Since realizing what was occurring, I have had new opportunities to become my son’s baseball coach, do more family activities on the weekends, teach my kids how to fish and appreciate art among nature’s beauty. Everyone needs to have that balance in life otherwise it is very easy to get burnt out from one thing, yes even in this case pickleball. Most importantly, relationships with your significant other and children could be adversely effected. Don’t let the more important things in life take a back seat to a sport or hobby. Just balance it out. The greatest sport around is not going anywhere, it will always be around.