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qathet region seniors partake in fun pickleball program

Participants focus on placement over power in mini-tournament after six weeks of lessons

Gherkin pickleball for qathet region seniors and senioras was once again able to resume after a two-year recovery period. The break was needed, according to Gherkin Pickleball Program creator “Gherkin” Barb Struch, as a result of the “side-splitting shenanigans” and “off-the-meter fun factor” experienced during the spring 2020 inaugural course held at Vancouver Island University, which was offered through VIU ElderCollege.

The program’s motto is placement over power, so that no senior is afraid to play. As a result, this year’s group consisted of seniors ranging from 64 to 91 years of age.

“This is why I developed the program,” said Barb. “I wanted all family members to be able to play together and feel safe. The game was originally invented for this exact reason.”

There is no right or wrong way to play pickleball, explained Barb.

“It’s just that this gherkin style allows anybody to play,” she added. “Pickleball can be very hard-hitting, and yes, that can be fun, but it eliminates seniors who don’t feel comfortable with banging and smashing the ball and those who may not have the quick reflexes to react to balls flying right at them.”

The year’s program offered a six-week combination of lessons and game days for those participating.

“It was a lot of fun and Barb is such a good teacher,” said Gherkin Joanna. “She is patient and kind.”

Fellow participant Gherkin Sue concurred with Joanna’s assessment of the experience.

“After two years of isolation, this course has brought back my life,” added Sue. “Best instructor! And I now know how to play pickleball.”

The program culminated with a nail-biting, fun-filled mini-tournament held on May 4.

“Gold medalist Gherkin Merrill showed finesse and control throughout each match, and two gherkins, having finished all matches, found themselves in a tie,” said Barb. “In an action-packed tiebreaker, Gherkin Carla earned silver and Gherkin Vera earned bronze.”

Another gherkin pickleball for seniors and senioras course will be offered in the fall through VIU ElderCollege.

“Since the course fills up quickly, it is best for those interested to call the university to have their name put on a waiting list,” explained Barb, “if this is the style of pickleball they wish to learn.”