Fifty Something Residents Are Here to Play Pickleball

Jen and Paul Massara

Sam Alkhoury

Raymond H. Goettsch

Many of the members of the SaddleBrooke Pickleball Association (SPA) are youngish, that is to say, in their 50s, or even 40s. In talking to these members, you learn that they chose to relocate to SaddleBrooke for the express purpose of playing pickleball.

Jen and Paul Massara are 46 and 55, respectively. Paul has retired, and Jen is an OBGYN doctor who currently works as locum tenens—a doctor who covers for another doctor temporarily absent. In November, they were selling their house in Oregon and planning to relocate to an active adult community. Paul and Jen searched online communities in Las Vegas and Green Valley and Surprise, Ariz. Although they had only played pickleball a few times, pickleball was at the top of their list of must-have amenities available in the community they would choose. Paul and Jen took advantage of the Robson complimentary visit at SaddleBrooke Ranch, but they also visited SaddleBrooke. They decided that SaddleBrooke best fit their needs and requirements.

According to Paul and Jen, they are renting here while their new home is under construction, in order to make connections and transition into the community as quickly as possible. Paul plays pickleball every day of the week at “drop-in” and in groups at all courts available: Ridgeview, the Preserve, and the Ranch. Paul’s immediate goal is to get a rating. Jen plays pickleball when she is here, and she is looking forward to participating in clinics and getting her rating as well.

Sam Alkhoury, age 57, moved with his wife to SaddleBrooke in April 2021. Sam had retired from the Air Force five years earlier, and his wife and he had been traveling the country in an RV. In early 2021, they were camped at Catalina State Park and were mesmerized by the Catalina Mountains. They decided that it was time to buy a house, and when they saw the views of the Catalinas from SaddleBrooke, they were sold. They purchased a home, but they rented it back at the request of the seller. They then drove their RV to the Voyager Park, where they had a space reserved. Sam first played pickleball on a court there. He said that he had seen pickleball before, but had categorized it as a game for old people. Another camper convinced Sam to give pickleball a try. Sam reported that he played against an 82-year-old man, who ran him ragged around the court.

Now that he is living in SaddleBrooke, Sam plays four to five days a week for three to four hours. His other days are occupied with softball. Sam has become a student of the games, watching video after video to improve. He is currently rated 4.0, but he plans to pursue a 4.5 rating and then a 5.0 rating. Since a higher rating requires tournament playing, Sam is partnering with Paul Massara, and they have tentative plans to participate in the Grand Slam in Mesa and El Mirage tournaments.