28 Oct Episode #295: Lynn Cherry, Host of Pickleball Fire podcast
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Pete Moore: This is Pete Moore at HALO Talks, NYC. Today, we are going to talk about pickleball and pickleball only blend coming to us from Connecticut, who is an avid pickle baller. And she is going to wow. Us on pickleball being the future of outdoor racket sports. So welcome to the show.
Lynn Cherry: It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Pete Moore: Great. So you obviously come from a more professional and corporate environment and now you’re diving in as first it to pickle ball as a passion and a profession. So why don’t you give us your personal background and tell us what kind of brought you to this? Life’s changing points.
Lynn Cherry: You know, it’s interesting things began to change for me when I moved from Texas where I’d lived for 25 years to Connecticut and I’m moving from a Southern climate to, you know, having some pretty good winter as I was looking for something to do indoors. And I always had a racket sports background. I played, you know, open level racquetball when I was young. And I wrote a lot of sports for magazines, sports articles for magazines and whatnot. So I got to Connecticut and I’m looking for something to do in the winter. And I looked at the local recreation center and they had something called pick a ball, which I had never heard of in my life. And I know other people kind of might be there, but I looked it up on YouTube, but I’m like, I’m, I know I’m going to love it.
Lynn Cherry: So what’s great about pickleball is I show up to the gym just to check it out. And as soon as they see me peeking around the corner, looking through the door immediately, somebody comes up to me and says, Hey, you want to give it a try? And I’m like, wow. You know, these people are really welcoming. I mean, they don’t know me from Adam, so got in the gym and somebody loaned me a paddle and I hit the ball a couple of times. And from there, you know, it was something I absolutely positively knew I was going to love. So pretty much maybe a month after I started the sport, I started the pickleball fire website, which has kind of morphed into a podcast and Adam digital magazine also.
Pete Moore: Great. So I went to the us open a pickleball down in Naples cause it was about four years ago. And it felt like going to a tennis center, you know, 30 years ago where it was on a loud speaker and I felt like I was a camp also because they said you know, Murray Feinstein, please report to court 36 before you’ll be disqualified for the over 80. So it seems like it’s fans, you know, age, age segments. But for those who haven’t played difficult ball, I’ve done some research on it. So it started back in, I guess, the sixties and seventies. And it was basically a couple of guys tinker around with their badminton shed and some wiffle balls and, you know, kind of turned it into a, a global sport down. So, you know, what, w what kind of comradery, or, you know, how, how is your skill level and you know, how seriously are you taking your typical ball?
Lynn Cherry: Well, I, I learned a long time ago, you know, I did play college sports and played high level racquetball, but, you know, honestly I do sports because I enjoy them. And if, if I wasn’t on the court enjoying myself, I wouldn’t be on there. And that’s actually, what’s so great about it is that, like you had mentioned, anybody can get on the court and play. It’s not like tennis, which can be kind of difficult to learn, regardless of I’ve, I’ve talked to, I’ve met so many people who have never played any other sport in their life. They get on the pickleball court, they can immediately hit the ball. They immediately have fun. And so you don’t need to have a sports background or a racket sports background. And you mentioned kind of the inner generational component, you know, it’s that people, I often see grandmothers showing up with their grandsons and they both get on the court and you know, they, everybody can play together. I mean, even people who are very high level players are happy to take a beginner on the court, show them the game, give them some tips and then, you know, play, play a couple of games. So, you know, me personally, I love the sport, you know, I’m somewhat decent at it because I’ve got that bracket sports background. But yeah, it’s just such a great game.
Pete Moore: Awesome. Awesome. And, you know, from a standpoint of where you think pickleball can become, or kind of what inning is kind of a baseball term, you know, w where are we in, how do you see the professionalism of the industry, or do you think this becomes like, you know, in five years, we’re going to kind of joke about this podcast where people didn’t know about it, and now it’s kind of on, you know, NBC sports, you know, instead of Wimbledon Sunday, it’s, you know, pickleball Sunday.
Lynn Cherry: Well, yeah, I mean, actually, or it already is on ESPN and CBS network that really just happened this year. Well, actually the nationals that probably happened a couple of years ago, but in terms of that, any analogy, you know, we’re, we’re definitely in the, in the top of the first honestly in the three years I’ve been involved with pickleball, it’s come such a long way because in 2020, there was probably 3 million people playing the sport. There was no prize money for people playing in it. So even if you’re at the highest level of the sport, you know, these pros weren’t earning any money. Now that changed in 2020 when, actually not one, but two professional tours were launched. So of course, with the Olympics, actually, you know, just recently here finishing up, you know, everybody’s like, well, w you know, w wants pick a ball to become an Olympic sport, but there’s a fair amount to that.