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Transformation of Life: A Pickleball Enthusiast from Palm Springs Unveils the Impact of Sports

Cliff Schiappa and Diego Mercuri frequently attend the round robin events I host, but the reason for highlighting Schiappa this week goes beyond that. Recently, at the Palm Springs Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, Schiappa delivered a poignant speech about the impact of pickleball at Demuth Park on his life.

During his speech, Schiappa, a full-time resident of Palm Springs, shared a personal story that resonated deeply. He reflected on his childhood experiences of being the last pick due to his older brother being the athletic one. Despite this, his career as a photojournalist covering major sporting events worldwide was successful. However, upon retiring to Palm Springs in 2018, he received advice from his doctor to improve his health by reducing weight and blood pressure.

In his quest for a healthier lifestyle, Schiappa discovered pickleball through an online acquaintance and began playing at Demuth Park. This marked a turning point in his life, where he not only learned a new sport but also found a supportive community of friends. The camaraderie and improvement in his game allowed him to experience a sense of belonging and acceptance that had eluded him in the past.

Expressing gratitude for the positive impact of pickleball on his physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being, Schiappa urged the commission to approve the expansion of the Demuth courts. He emphasized how the sport had transformed his life and advocated for creating similar opportunities for others to experience the same sense of community and personal growth.

Furthermore, interactions with other players at Demuth revealed a shift towards building social connections through sports rather than traditional social settings like bars. This shift was viewed as a positive and healthy development by the players.

The inclusive nature of the pickleball community was highlighted by Alan Stecker, a certified PPR and tennis coach, who emphasized the social, fun, and welcoming environment fostered by the sport. Additionally, the gay league players at Demuth appreciated the chance to engage in competitive yet social gameplay, forging friendships and connections on the court.

To learn more about the vibrant Demuth Pickleball community, individuals were encouraged to visit the Palm Springs Pickleball Facebook page initiated by Shane Albee. This platform aimed to unite players from diverse backgrounds and orientations under a shared love for the game of pickleball.

In a separate segment, Coach Mary’s Tip of the Week delved into the nuances of the two-handed backhand versus the one-handed backhand for dinking and attacking at the NVZ. Expert insights from coaches Jordan Briones and Zane Navratil provided valuable advice on technique and strategy, emphasizing the importance of versatility and practice in mastering different shot selections.

Lastly, a teaser about upcoming indoor events hosted by the Salvation Army in Cathedral City underlines the commitment to providing engaging and inclusive opportunities for the community, further enhancing the appeal of pickleball in Palm Springs.