March 12, 2010

Hartland High School Seniors VS Hartland Senior Center Picklers ::: March 12, 2010

By Frank Konkel • DAILY PRESS & ARGUS

 The pickleballers from the Hartland Senior Center are not to be messed with.

Hartland High School seniors learned that lesson the hard way March 4, making good on a challenge they issued to face the pickleballers from the senior center in a series of doubles matches.

The senior center players schooled their younger counterparts in doubles matches, 8-1, in front of senior center "cheer gals" and bleachers full of spectators at Hartland High School.

"Oh, my Lord, we mopped the floor with them, but we knew we would," said senior center pickleball player Connie Anderson, who acknowledged most of the high school seniors didn't have much pickleball experience. On the contrary, some of the senior center players have won pickleball tournaments. Pickleball is a relatively new game that's a cross between pingpong, badminton, racquetball and tennis.

"We all had so much fun, you wouldn't believe," Anderson said. "The kids were fantastic, as polite as could be and gracious, too. They kept challenging us, and we just stopped counting at 8-1. They were proud to get that one point."

The challenge was set up by Anderson's granddaughter, high school student Erika Paajanen, for her senior project.

Paajanen volunteered at the center over the summer, and she said she wanted to do something that would bring both generations together. Paajanen said she knew her classmates were going to have a difficult time facing the seniors, having witnessed many of them dominate the courts over the summer.

But by the time the nine doubles matches were over, winning or losing didn't really matter.

"I think it's cool to get the two generations together," Paajanen said. "Besides hanging out with our grandmas and grandpas, we don't get a lot of interaction with seniors. This was definitely fun."

Paajanen said she received tons of feedback from her peers March 5 at school, despite the beat-down she and her 11 classmates took. It's an event she'd like to see happen again — though she would like to see the Hartland High School seniors exact a little revenge.

"I hope so," Paajanen said. "But they're very good."

  • CLICK HERE to visit the Hartland Senior Center Pickleball website