Retire VA 21-22 - 37

" It is not a sport, it is a community. " KRISTIE MACDONALD
tried, but the court was smaller. I watched for 30 minutes and
tried it. "
In 2019, she won the over 50 (she's 53 now) women's doubles
national title. In 2021, she opened the retreat and had travelled
the world playing pickleball. She is still not at the top level of
the sport and can't compete for money yet, but that's next, she
insists.
Pickleball is the perfect sport for the older or those less in
top physical condition, she says. Some of her regular clients are
in their 80s and pay her $30 an hour (minimum two hours) for
coaching.
Covid has had an effect on the pickleball business, but,
Kristie McDonald at her pickleball compound: " I teach classes for women who
have never in their lives played a sport. Almost anybody can play and you don't
need a high skill level or to be in top shape. But it's the social element that
draws so many people. "
and she wound up having surgery on both knees. It looked like
her athletic life was past. Then she found pickleball.
" I was depressed and wheelchair bound, " she says. " The knee
operations were a two-year process. Then in 2018, I was at the
Christiansburg Recreation Center and saw a game I'd never seen
before, pickleball. It was so similar to paddle tennis, which I had
frankly, not much. Covid actually had more impact on
MacDonald's goal of becoming a pro because she needs to play
and win a certain number of tournaments.
The pickleball business for her is so lucrative that she recently
bought a condominium on the lake and decided to rent out her
entire house for the pickleball retreats, which have become
popular, " predominantly with people over 60, " she says. " I teach
classes for women who have never in their lives played a sport.
Almost anybody can play and you don't need a high skill level
or to be in top shape. But it's the social element that draws so
many people. It is unlike any other sport in that respect. "
" This, " she says, " is like my dream. " I
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RETIRE-VA 2022 / Retire-VA.com / 37
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Retire VA 21-22

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retire VA 21-22

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