Written by: Doc Savarese Cartoon by: Peter Copen
I recently came across an article in the “Berkeley Science Review”, written by Amy Gordon, which describes a research study on couples who play together. The resounding conclusion was that couples who play together, stay together. The study also concluded that engagement of mutual activities involves cooperation and provides a shared experience that brings you closer together.
I decided to test this theory by selecting a long-standing couple from the Oakmont Pickleball Club. The couple selected is Martin and Brenda Johns who moved to Oakmont in 2015 in order to be closer to family. Prior to their arrival, both of them had experienced illustrious careers, with Martin as an engineer for Goodyear and Brenda, a special education teacher. Throughout their near 50 year relationship, they have been actively involved in a myriad of sports including golf, hiking (Martin is currently the President of the Oakmont Hiking Club), cycling, squash, badminton, volleyball and now pickleball. As I listened to them, they continually emphasized that their primary purpose for being active is for fitness and fun. For them, sports are for enjoyment.
It was Brenda who introduced Martin to pickleball shortly after moving to Oakmont. They were looking to become involved in a sport (volleyball was not an option) and discovered pickleball as an easy to pick up, fun, and social sport. While Martin and Brenda continue to enjoy a diversity of sports in Oakmont, the sport that has brought the most enjoyment to Martin throughout their relationship is auto racing. Brenda told the story of when they got married, Martin used the money that his parents had given them to buy furniture to purchase a race car. Brenda became his crew chief. How’s that for support?!
Throughout the interview, their loving relationship was very apparent. I was fascinated by their acceptance of one another, allowing each to be who they are without judgment or failed expectations. I noticed as we interacted that they continuously smiled at each other, which to me indicated their happiness and fulfilment. They were quick to note that they have a life outside their relationship where they don’t expect to spend every waking moment together and respecting each other’s need for a bit of space.
In conclusion, my revelation is that engaging in shared activities can enhance relationships. Do you find yourself feeling closer to your partner after sharing a sports activity? Does thinking about a sport cause you to think about doing it with your partner? Finding ways to share activities with your partner can be very fulfilling.
New Player Orientation: Arrangements can be made by contacting Pauly Uhr at 984-4186 or Nancy Lande at 978-2998 to schedule a session.
Demo Loaner paddles are available to try out for a week by contacting me at 349-9065.