CANE BAY, S.C. — As children, we enjoy all kinds of activities and sports are sometimes a big part of growing up. Having just enjoyed a good bit of the Winter Olympics back in February, it was wonderful watching all the athletes competing and enjoying their sport of choice. However, as we age, many people become less active and walk away from competitive sports. Not Rae Carlers. Rae is 65-years-old and as active as can be.
Rae is a veteran and retired in 2015 from the US Census Bureau. Rae lives in the Four Seasons community in Cane Bay and spends lots of her time involved in several activities: playing pickleball, cycling, sailing and dragon boating. I love meeting new people and finding out more about them because I didn’t even know what dragon boating was until I met Rae.
For this interview we basically spoke about pickleball. Rae is on a mission to play pickleball at a Pro Senior Level. The levels of experience in pickleball range from 2.0, a beginner level, to 5.0, Pro Senior Level, (Senior being over the age of 55). Rae currently plays at a 4.0 level and is excited to improve. She enjoys playing often but it is sometimes difficult finding people in her age range and skill level who are willing to play tournaments.
There are many reasons to spend time on this sport. Pickleball is a sport for all ages and is fun, provides exercise, a time for socialization, a competitive opportunity and there is even wheelchair pickleball. You can play singles, or doubles.
When I asked Rae what kind of advice she would give new players, she said that it is important to develop a good foundation and if they can, take some private lessons. Rae shared that she loves pickleball because it is a game that can be played by people of all ages. Pickleball can boost the cardiovascular system which helps prevent many of the unwanted problems that happen to older adults.
To prepare for play, Rae does some stretching to prevent injuries. Once on the court, she tries to warmup for 10 – 15 minutes before the game starts. Rae is committed to strength and cardio workouts at the gym, so pickleball is just a great extension of her exercise routine. She also shared that the best advice she has received while learning this sport was, practice…practice…practice and that is what she does.
There is something to say for a natural competitive spirit and Rae has just that. She loves the tournaments and has competed with many different players. When asking about lessons learned, Rae said that “while competing, if I was ahead in the game, I might start to relax or start thinking about the next match. When I find myself losing focus in the now game, I play harder so that I can move to the next match”.
Rae also shared that unlike other sports that require a massive amount of equipment when you’re traveling, for Pickleball all you need to pack is a small paddle and a pair of court shoes. “Have paddle, will travel.”
So today, we salute Rae Carlers and her love of pickleball and fitness.
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