The Osmans got their first taste of the game at the Nano Center in Matthews, and soon began playing regularly at the Crews Center, also in Matthews. Desire’ started organizing email communications among Charlotte pickleball players and, in 2015, became a USAPA ambassador for the greater Charlotte area. Dick followed suit and is now the area team liaison, leading eight local ambassadors. “We have an enthusiasm and desire to promote the sport,” said Desire’. In the three years the Osmans have been playing pickleball, the sport’s popularity has increased greatly in the Charlotte area, growing from only a few places to play to 35 current locations in and around Charlotte. “We play three times each week,” said Dick. “There are enough locations now that you can find a place to play every day of the week.” The Osman’s pickleball experiences have expanded beyond Charlotte. They have played in local, state and regional tournaments, and spent a week last September at a USAPA ambassadors’ retreat in Florida, where they honed their playing and teaching skills. “We are intermediate players, not advanced. Pickleball is a fun game for people at all levels,” said Dick. “It’s an easy game for people to learn and become proficient.” The Osmans are doing their part to help folks learn to play. Since the beginning of this year, they have taught seven clinics. They, along with their team, brought pickleball to the Charlotte Health & Fitness Expo, Belle Johnston Community Center in Pineville, Dowd YMCA, Weddington Swim and Racquet Club, Firethorne Country Club in Waxhaw, Raintree Country Club, Palisades Country Club, and the neighborhoods of Dilworth, NoDa and Hunter Oaks, where tennis and pickleball are played on shared courts. They are also in talks with four other country clubs that are interested in bringing pickleball to their residents. “We live across the street from the tennis courts,” said Desire’. “I’m hopeful that BCC will add shadow lines on the hard courts for pickleball, so members can enjoy playing right here in our neighborhood.” Most recently, the Osmans partnered with the Parkinson Association of the Carolinas and Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation department to host Pickleball for Parkinson’s (P4P) at the Marion Diehl Recreation Center on Tyvola Road in Charlotte. According to the National Parkinson Foundation, Parkinson’s disease reduces the amount of dopamine in the brain. One correlating treatment is exercise or movement therapy, which works to increase dopamine levels. “The man who first told us about pickleball had Parkinson’s,” said Dick, as the Osmans’ pickleball journey seems to have come full-circle. “His tremors actually went away on the court and that carried over afterward off the court, as well.”


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