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My Turn: As children move on, pickleball frenzy moves in for Seaford couple

Elizabeth and Michael Katz on the pickleball court

Elizabeth and Michael Katz on the pickleball court at Seamans Neck Park in Seaford. Credit: Katz family

What do a pediatrician’s office and pickleball have in common, you may ask?

No, it’s not a riddle. And I would have asked the same thing several months ago. But since June, a whole new world has opened up to me while another has reached a bittersweet end.

June was when I scheduled my 20-year-old daughter’s final appointment for a wellness visit at her pediatrician’s office. That Old Bethpage office has held a lifetime of memories. And not just of the inoculations for the kids or of my own tears when I realized my first daughter, now almost 26, was not gaining weight from my breastmilk, prompting us to supplement and then just bottle feed.

That office is dear to me for the ways in which Dr. Lawrence Galinkin (now retired, regrettably for new patients!) comforted me when I sat in his office with my almost-newborn, convincing me that the colostrum was the most beneficial part of breastfeeding – and that I hadn’t failed as a mother. That memory brings tears of relief whenever I think of it.

As I said goodbye to those years of going to the pediatrician's office, I said hello to pickleball!

This past June as well, both my husband, Michael, and I signed up for two beginner pickleball lessons at Seamans Neck Park in Seaford. The rest is history — or should I say, pickleball frenzy.

Pickleball is the “easier” doubles game played on a court similar to that for tennis but with shorter boundaries. Players use a racket (similar to one used for racquetball) and a whiffle ball. It’s an oh-so-popular game in Florida, growing internationally, that’s on its way on to becoming a sport so fun and addicting that there aren’t enough courts for all of us who want to play on Long Island.

I can hardly wait for the end of the day to drive the 10 minutes to the courts with my husband to meet up with other newbies as well as accomplished “pickleballers.” They offer strategy tips, laughs and encouragement – all for free.

We purchased better rackets. And I couldn’t resist ordering online a mesh belt pack so that I can keep my balls from running free while I play.

We’re thankful to the Town of Hempstead for offering such a reasonable fee for the lessons, which are further discounted for senior citizens; and we have had such wonderful teachers in Elvis and Jones. This fall and winter we'll be playing at the Mid Island YJCC in Plainview.

Of course, as my younger daughter embarks on her first visit to the “adult” primary care doctor, I won’t be accompanying her as I did to her pediatrician. But then again, I might. After all, we always invite her to play pickleball with us.

Elizabeth Katz,

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