Friday night Pickleball fun


Andrea Molberg

Looking for fun and fellowship on Friday nights? Try Friday Nite Lites. When SaddleBrooke lost the opportunity to play drop-in pickleball play under the lights at the Preserve courts, players finally found another way to get together for Friday night frolicking – Friday Nite Lites up at the Ranch.

Friday Nite Lites has been a drop-in program at the Ranch on lighted courts 10, 15 and 16 that has been running since the Ranch opened the courts to the SaddleBrooke Pickleball Association (SPA). With the longer-than-Ridgeview Drive to the Ranch plus the chance that you could drive up there and find no one to play, Jon Bailey, now SPA President-elect, volunteered to determine who was planning on playing, sends out a lengthy email list every week and then publishes the list of who was coming to those who said “yes.”

Anyone who just showed up to participate was also certainly included and encouraged. A growing number of SaddleBrooke Ranch pickleball players have begun joining the activity. Players are paired at random, without respect to rating level.

Friday Nite Lites has been averaging about 24 to 28 players, depending on holiday parties and players’ travel schedules. Start times for play shift throughout the year based on sunset times and cold weather. As Jon explains, “In the summer we start at 7:00 p.m. In the fall at 6:00 p.m. (due to the blinding setting sun), and now we are starting at 5:00 p.m. because of the sun and cold weather to get a warmer start.” Reserving Ranch courts, so that no one has to literally sit out in the cold and then rotate in, is being discussed as an alternative to drop-in. Fun and friendly exercise is the goal.

SaddleBrooke Pickleball Association’s agreement to play on Ranch pickleball courts ends next September 2018.