Definition of a ‘Pickler’:
1: a vegetable (a cucumber or onion) of a suitable size or quality for pickling
2. a pickleball player, particularly someone obsessed with the game
It all started when I heard a podcaster mention pickleball. A quick google search for ‘pickleball’ and ‘sg’ led me to a pickleball group in Bukit Gombak Community Sports Network (CSN). For Fathers’ Day gift, I signed my dad and I up for 2 pickleball beginner lessons. They were to be held in the Lianhua Primary School hall on Sunday.
Student and Pickler in Bukit Gombak
The Sunday in July 2022 when my dad and I walked into the hall of Lianhua Primary school (LPS), I recalled feeling slightly emotional and nostalgic. You see, 30 years ago, I’d graduated from this primary school. Back then, the currently adjoining Hillgrove Secondary School was not built yet. There was only one school hall- we’d assembled there to sing the national anthem on rainy mornings, enjoyed children’s day concerts, and did our NAPFA tests. I have many fond memories of LPS. My education in LPS propelled me to positive growth and experiences that my parents and I never expected me to have. For that, we’ve always been grateful.
Teachers from LPS gave us a McDs treat after PSLE- we will always remember. Photo taken with my primary school best friend, fry kid and hamburglar.
After the 2 lessons, daddy and I continued to join the Bukit Gombak CSN to play pickleball weekly at the adjoining Lianhua-Hillgrove school halls. The more experienced players have been patient to guide us and give us tips to improve. It’s so refreshing to experience great generosity and kindness in this community.
We can truly say that pickleball has enriched our lives in many aspects:
● Fighting spirit
● Family time
One year later, my dad and I are still playing pickleball in Lianhua-Hillgrove school halls
Pickleball in Bukit Gombak and beyond
Under the Dual-Use Scheme by ActiveSG, the school halls are open to public use on weekends.
Since January 2018, the Bukit Gombak CSN reserved courts for picklers every weekend, such that we can play regularly in weatherproof conditions. The membership size in this network has expanded from a mere 46 to more than 150 as of July 2023!
It’s no wonder that there is growing interest in pickleball internationally because it’s easy to pick up and a sustainable sport; it can be enjoyed by young and old, played leisurely or competitively, indoors or outdoors.
Being a fast-growing sport, it is also likely that pickleball will become a common language that connects people and communities.
Thirty years ago, my alma mater Lianhua Primary in Bukit Gombak connected me to unlikely opportunities. It continues to do so now through pickleball. I’m excited to see where this journey will take me years from now.
Enjoying sunset pickleball on an outdoor badminton/ sepak tekraw court.
First pickleball tournament. Photo taken with match officials, my doubles partner and friendly opponents.