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Of pickleball, a chapel and teacher pay

By Ernie Williamson

The Bulletin


Advertisers have discovered pickleball.


They might not play themselves, but they have noticed how fast the sport is growing and, never ones to pass up a trend, are featuring pickleball in commercials for their own products.


I first noticed the trend during the recent Super Bowl 58 when E-Trade launched a commercial featuring their picklebabies.


Two of the babies face off in a pickleball match against adults and do some trash talking.


“It is basically tennis for babies, but for adults,” says one.


Since then, I have noticed more ads featuring pickleball scenes. The connection between some of the products being advertised and pickleball is often quite a stretch.


I have seen ads with pickleball themes for such diverse products as the eye medicine Vabysmo, Nissan’s Pathfinder, Metamucil, USAA Insurance and Pedialyte.


I haven’t yet seen a commercial from an orthopedist. At least that would make sense given the growing number of injuries as former couch potatoes try the sport.


There is a reason these advertisers are jumping on the pickleball bandwagon.


The 2023 Sports and Fitness Industry Association reported that pickleball was America’s fastest growing sport for the third year in a row.


The Association of Pickleball Players reports 36.5 million people have played the sport at least once during the year. That is 14 percent of the adult population.


Pickleball is getting more attractive to advertisers because the sport is getting younger.  The 18 - 34 group now is the youngest age group of pickleball players.


AN IMPORTED CHAPEL


If you happen to be in River Oaks checking out how the other half lives, do not miss driving by the mansion on Lazy Lane.


It is the one featured on the recent Azalea Trail that looks like Versailles.


Owned by admitted Francophiles John and Terri Havens, the house sits on 3.5 acres.


What you cannot see from the street, however, is a 200-year-old chapel imported from France.


The Havens, wishing to use the stone chapel for family events, had the chapel taken apart stone by stone, shipped to Houston, and rebuilt at their home.


WELCOME BACK


Facing college tuitions for his kids and rising inflation, an acquaintance decided he could no longer afford his passion:  Teaching English.


So, he gave up his teaching job and got into sales and marketing.


After the school year began, the school decided it wanted him back. Unhappy in his new job, he, too, wanted back, but for more pay and a couple other changes.


So, there is a happy ending. He got what he wanted and is now back teaching.


But how many good teachers are we losing because we are not paying them enough?


(Contact Ernie at williamsonernie@gmail.com.)  Or, send letters in care of The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516).

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