By Phil Goldstein  | North Forty News

I was recently invited to interview with a Timnath-area magazine about the growth of pickleball in the town and my role in it. The publisher said the article was suggested by some residents in my development to acknowledge my ‘contribution’ to the sport, and I was duly flattered. But the theme of this column isn’t pickleball, it’s about the choices we make, and why it’s life-affirming to prioritize that which provides relevance and identity. In my case it’s playing drums in a rock and roll band and recently deciding that I want to be a good drummer more than I want to be a better pickleball player.

Our development opened the first pickleball complex in Larimer County nine years ago. Since then my wife Amy and I’ve had the pleasure of introducing almost 100 other town residents to this fastest growing sport in the country via lessons and tournaments. Timnath Town Council, which I’m honored to serve as a member of its Planning Commission, heeded the interest in the sport in our development to then include pickleball courts in Community Park and the upcoming WildWing Park. Timnath now has more and better pickleball facilities per capita than any other community in Northern Colorado.

I took up drumming and pickleball at about the same time, the former when neighborhood friends needed a drummer for their basement band and taught me simple beats, the latter when I learned that courts were coming and began lessons so I could play and coach. I’d wanted to play the drums since I was 10 years old; pickleball hadn’t even been invented then. Being reasonably fit and with a background in similar sports, my pickleball progressed nicely, my drum playing not so much, and it completely stalled when my bandmates moved away two years later.

After a lengthy hiatus when I almost gave up drumming, I unexpectedly connected with the band GreyRoc, three guitarists in need of a drummer, and we’ve now grown to five with the addition of a keyboardist, practicing weekly in my basement-equipped studio. I also recently enrolled in School of Rock, an advanced music instruction and performance venue. Now I’m improving exponentially and as loud and cool as I’ve wanted to be ever since the Beatles came to American television.

There are 36 million people playing pickleball but only 1 million playing drums, which I’ve considered in weighing priorities. But what is life-affirming for me is a pursuit which gives me the greatest sense of accomplishment and enjoyment in a demanding and uncommonly practiced endeavor. I can certainly do both of course, along with other extracurricular activities. But something’s got to give, because any sport and certainly music both require lots of time to excel, and I’m not inclined to approach either otherwise.

Meanwhile, pickleball—playing, coaching, staging tournaments—and music both provide the relevance and identity that I missed when I retired, and both challenge me considerably. But pickleball’s certainly not the endeavor that I wished I’d pursued 50 years earlier. And while winning a pickleball tournament or even a tough game is rewarding, playing the Eagles’ “Hotel California” for an audience of even a few neighborhood friends, as we do now, is indeed a life-affirming ego boost. So no offense to 36 million pickleballers, especially the ones who learned from me and with whom I play regularly, but I’m reconsidering my priorities: three hours of everybody’s-doing-it or three hours of transcendent rock and roll?

I’ve declined the interview for now; my involvement for others was its own reward, and Timnath pickleball is just fine without me. But if the magazine’s readers want to hear how I’m finally going to learn the drum solo from Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”, I’m their guy.

And GreyRoc is available for your next baby shower.

Phil Goldstein is in his fifth year writing Tales from Timnath for North Forty News. Phil is a 13-year Timnath resident who is finally using his West Virginia University journalism degree after getting sidetracked 51 years ago. The views expressed herein are Phil’s only. Contact him with comments on the column at [email protected].


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