Thursday, September 28, 2017 8:00 am
Due to the rising popularity of pickleball — a racquet sport that combines the elements of tennis, badminton and pingpong — among members of the first Oklahoma City MAPS 3 Senior Health and Wellness Center, Healthy Living OKC leaders decided to complete a minor gymnasium improvement project.
When the gym reopened the morning of Sept. 22, the center’s executive director arrived at the facility to see three games of pickleball being played on the gym floor that previously accommodated two games.
He also witnessed “a big group of folks waiting on the benches next in line.”
That’s how a typical story starts for Jefferson Killgore, Healthy Living OKC’s executive director. Around the northwest OKC facility, Killgore often sees arts classes in which every easel is taken or a water aerobics class with several rows of swimmers facing a single instructor. Members are present, involved and active inside the 40,272 square-foot facility built by the city and operated by the nonprofit Healthy Living OKC.
“People are pleased with the product, and the product certainly isn’t pickleball,” Killgore said. “It’s not double pinochle or bocce ball either. The product is relationships. We have members that are finding a renewed sense of identity, belonging and meaning in these relationships.”