Sunday, December 11, 2022

Books: "Pickleball Is Life" By Erin McHugh


Pickleball Is Life: The Complete Guide to Feeding Your Obsession

By Erin McHugh

Harvest; hardcover; $17.99

Erin McHugh is the author of 30 books of humor, inspiration, trivia, children's, history, and LGBTQ topics. She has worked for various publishers, was Executive Vice President and Creative Partner at Franklin Spier, the publishing advertising agency, and has enjoyed a second career as a Barnes & Noble bookseller in New York City, where she is a judge in Barnes & Nobles' national Discover Great New Writers program. 

McHugh is also devoted to the fastest-growing sport in country, pickleball, as seen by how many playing on multiple courts in the parks around New York City. USA statistics show the sport grew to 4.8 million players in 2021, an increase of more than 14 percent, and draws a younger demographic, with the average player age now 38 years old.

In the new book, Pickleball is Life, McHugh celebrates the weird and wonderful world of pickleball in this bright and colorful collection of what makes it a unique sport, and is a perfect Christmas gift for the avid players in your life.

Now, if you've never played it before, this is the perfect book to get you started, as McHugh explains the basics, like what kind of racket to use, and how the pickleball evolved from a wiffle ball, with indoor and outdoor versions, plus how to make a DIY court.

McHugh writes in this excerpt of what inspired her to take up pickleball: "Once upon a time, an unexpected thing happened: I broke my hand. Luckily, it wasn't too, too serious, but still. It meant I couldn't play pickleball. I was going to be on the disabled list for ten endless weeks, and I couldn't imagine how I would get through it.

Oh, I tried my best. I attempted a jigsaw puzzle, all the while thinking of pickleball. I took long walks, thinking of pickleball. I worked one-handed in my garden thinking - well, you know.

I could barely recall what I'd done with my time in my pre-pickleball life. I started to ruminate about why I had come to love the sport so much. Certainly, it was the simple fun of the game, and the laughter, but it was the friendship and socializing, too. And the gamesmanship, and court etiquette, and how fit I'd become, and how it reminded me (after living in a New York City apartment for forty-two years) how much I love the outdoors. But I also realized it went deeper than all that: this nutty game was making me kinder, more inclusive, and more strategic, not to mention a much more skilled trash-talker. Pickleball is inspirational, I concluded, so why not share this epiphany with my fellow picklers, in the most lighthearted, yet motivational, way? So I sat down and wrote this book (one-handed) about the most special most obsessive, most enjoyable game on the planet. 

If you're already a pickleballer, I hope you'll enjoy a little armchair reading, have some laughs, and garner some extra knowledge about our favorite pastime. If you're a new player, I'll introduce you to the game's ineffable charm and maybe even provide you with a few secret weapons. 

But, even with a broken hand and a book deadline, I couldn't help myself. I went out and learned to play pickleball with my other hand.

Because, friends, if you didn't already know, PICKLEBALL IS LIFE!"

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