May 31st was the 30th anniversary of National Older Adult Health and Fitness Day, and a group of passionate pickleball players from the Marine Park Active Adults (MPAA) got the opportunity to play a few rounds of the fastest growing sport in the U.S. at Central Park’s Wollman Rink in celebration of the day.
CityPickle operates the 14 new courts at Wollman Rink, which opened in April, and in honor of Older Adults Day, senior centers from all five boroughs were invited to play on the new courts – for free! Some even got to play with Mayor Eric Adams!
It felt like a school field trip as members of the MPAA rode in a yellow school bus to the three-hour event, which included free pickleball, lessons and lunch.
One of the mayor’s mandates is an “age-inclusive city.” Adams told the active adults that pickleball is a great way to reconnect with people after being indoors for so long because of COVID. He talked about a recent report that states that loneliness is equivalent to smoking several packs of cigarettes a day and how the amazing game of pickleball has reenergized people. “Pickleball is going to become New York’s game – move over Yankees and Knicks. Pickleball rules in New York!”
Following his brief speech, Adams got out on the court and challenged some of the seniors, including some from MPAA.
Bob Spieler, who formed the Marine Park Pickleball Group with Michael Chaiet in 2019, told the Canarsie Courier,” It was a fantastic day thanks to Millennium and Paul Curiale [Millennium’s Executive Director] who invited 40 of us, members of our club, to come down. We met the mayor! Pickleball is all over the United States. It’s a new era – I call it a pickleball era!”
Chaiet said he had a fantastic day too. “We got to meet new people, and I actually played with the mayor. I got him out a few times!”