The Incredible Rise of Pickleball A Sport for All Ages Becomes a Craze Among Older Adults
You’ve probably heard of pickleball, especially given its rising popularity in the United States and Canada, but you may be wondering what the big deal is about this relatively new fad. Pickleball is an awesome, low-impact sport that people of all ages can enjoy. It’s great exercise and great fun, and it’s the perfect game for family get-togethers. Pickleball originated on Bainbridge Island, Washington, in 1965. It was the creation of three fathers — Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum—who needed to come up with something to keep the little ones entertained and out of their hair. Soon, however, it became popular among the adults, and they ended up spending more time on the court than their children. “Frankly,” McCallum says, “the kids got pushed out.” Since its early days, pickleball has transformed from an ad-hoc game to a full-fledged sport, complete with official rules, equipment, and leagues. Despite the more formal structure in place today, pickleball is incredibly easy to pick up and play. Investing in some paddles and balls won’t cost more than $100, and you can easily convert a tennis or badminton court for pickleball. One of the appeals of pickleball for older adults is that it is not excessively strenuous. It also doesn’t have the steep learning curve and high barrier to entry that sports like tennis or golf do. Due to the nature of a pickleball, which contains strategically placed holes similar
to those of a whiffle ball, the game is much more about finesse than pure power or athleticism. While you can definitely hone your skills with practice, you’ll start having fun from day one. In addition to being a fun form of exercise, pickleball also offers older adults the chance to socialize with their peers. Leagues often lead to long-term friendships. Courts are small, and each game consists of only four players, making it easy to engage in some casual conversation or playful, competitive banter between points. If you’ve never picked up a paddle, consider joining a league or buying a set for your next family outing. You can introduce your grandkids to a fun new sport — and then school them for the bulk of an afternoon.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE GIFT CARD SCAM How It Works and How Retailers Are Combating It
cards or putting an unusually high dollar amount on one card is a likely sign that a customer is following a scammer’s instructions. To help curb this type of scam, some retailers, including Target, Best Buy, and Walmart, have started putting certain restrictions on the cards. This includes lowering the total amount that can be put on one card and banning the use of a gift card to buy more gift cards, which is a tactic scammers use to hide both their paper trail and digital footprint. That brings up another point as to why scammers love gift cards: They are hard to track. Once the victim has purchased the cards and given the scammers the code on the back, it can be next to impossible for the money to be traced. To make matters worse, it’s also nearly impossible to recover the lost money, and the scammer gets off scot-free. Scammers rely heavily on misinformation and lack of education. When posing as an IRS agent, for example, some scammers try to convince their victim to pay back taxes or some other made-up penalty with a gift card. In reality, the IRS would never accept payment in the form of a gift card. Plus, they would never even call you directly. The IRS always communicates via USPS first. If a stranger calls and asks for a gift card to pay for anything , you know it is a scam.
The gift card scam is more common than ever. As we have mentioned in past newsletters,
scammers call would- be victims pretending to be from the IRS, FBI, or another local or federal agency.
Sometimes they pose as a grandchild in distress or someone working for a computer support firm. They tell the victim they owe money or need to pay for a service and the only way to make that payment is with an iTunes or Google Play gift card (or one from another company also sold at every major retailer). The Federal Trade Commission says about 26% of scammers ask for gift cards, though wire transfer is still the most popular request by these swindlers. Many businesses like Target and Best Buy are training employees to watch out for potential scam victims who may be buying an unusual number of iTunes or Google Play gift cards, which are the two most common gift cards associated with the scam. Buying several
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