Poaching in Phoenix, AZ
"They" say, "Home is where the heart is." Our philosophy has always been more along the lines of "Home is where you hang your hat (or pickleball cap)". For 15 years, we hung our caps in Phoenix, AZ the majority of the time. If we're forced to call just one place home (governments are so narrow minded), we say Phoenix.
We arrived in 2002 in August, and let's just say we must be hardy or crazy (or a bit of both), because we stayed even after one of the kids left a Crayon in the back seat while we dashed in to Lowes Home Improvement. It completely melted into the fabric in less than 15 minutes! Back in we went, to get a roll of paper towels to wick the Crayon out as best we could, before using the rest of the roll to mop the sweat off ourselves.
There are those of you who are thinking "I could never take that heat". You're probably the ones who live in some area of the country where it's colder than a witch's bosom (PC here), in a brass bra on the shady side of an iceberg. Just as most people don't stand about outside in Chicago for two months out of the year... I digress, Phoenix is awesome for 8 months of the year, and two months are seriously warm. For the remaining "inclement" two months people play pickleball outdoors starting when it's still dark, or indoors (where there is air conditioning - there is a LOT of A/C in Arizona). After 9 am if you're playing outside in August, stop! Go indoors so the Durafast 40s don't melt on the court. There are so many court options in Phoenix both inside and out year round - perfect for all us pickleholics!
The next stop on our pickleball road trip, after Tucson, was "home", to Phoenix, the fifth largest city in the U.S., and the capital of Arizona. Tempe, a Phoenix suburb, is home to a fine group of eight brand new purpose built spectacular pickleball courts at the Tempe Sports Complex. Most courts are individually fenced to keep balls from wandering too far. Two of the courts are the first in the state to follow the recommended dimensions to accommodate players in wheelchairs. There is LED lighting for evening play.
The courts filled up and we had great challenging play for several hours before I pulled out the DJI Mavic Pro to get some shots. By 11 am, as you can see in the photo below, are the few who were still playing, who had to stop after every point for water breaks ;-) But seriously folks, remember to stay well hydrated. There are water fountains and a water bottle filling station with cold water just outside the fence.
It was fun to go out with pickleball friends to Mellow Mushroom to rehydrate even more and to replace some spent calories. Anyone else besides me that is famished after playing? Thanks Ruby, Barry, Janice, Ken and Victoria!
The next morning, we visited our beloved Pecos Park in the Phoenix suburb of Ahwatukee. Sixteen beautiful courts were just dedicated on April 21, 2018. It is free to play, and open to the public (as are the Tempe courts). Instructional classes with an IPTPA instructor are available through the City of Phoenix. Additionally, there are 8 more courts, shared on the tennis courts. To play on one of these extra courts, one needs to bring a portable net.
It was great to see Denise on the courts with Harley. She is a USAPA Ambassador and certified ref who has fervently worked with others to get these and other courts around town installed. Look for her reffing at Margaritaville this year.
We did a Swag Swap with Janice and Barry. Barry is now sporting a cool new hat from San Carlos, Mexico, and Janice gave me an awesome Pecos Pickleball Club T-shirt to pass on at our next stop! It will be tough not to keep it for myself ;-)
If, heaven forbid, you have a spouse, significant other or travel partner who gasp... doesn't play pickleball, then there are a few other things to do nearby. It is less than two and a half hours to Sedona, home of the red rocks and fabulous hiking.
And under four hours from Ahwatukee to that little hole in the ground, the Grand Canyon. Something for everyone!
If you go:
Tempe Sports Complex
8402 S. Hardy, Tempe, AZ 85284
17010 S. 48th Street, 48 St And Pecos Blvd, Phoenix 85048