Player Profile: Anson Moon

A working life well spent, but comes retirement and how to fill the hours?

For Anson Moon, the first response was: “get my house in order.” But a year later, after the cracks were puttied, the rooms painted, the weeds whacked and the bulbs planted, what then? That’s when his friend asked the question that changed his life. “How about pickleball?”

A former tennis player, Anson took to the smaller court, hard paddle and plastic ball. But he discovered that pickleball, though similar to tennis, is a different game. “Six years ago when I started playing, we were all beginners. We didn’t know about strategy; there was no one to help us improve our game. You couldn’t watch pickleball on YouTube. We just adapted what we knew from tennis. It’s different now.” Gradually the beginners improved; some, like Anson, began studying strategy: “It’s more than just getting the ball over the net.”

Anson plays two days a week at the Upper Noe Recreation Center and once a week at the Bay Club. “We have a good community at Upper Noe. The players are from all over; they’re nice people, helpful, good. They look out for each other. When a teacher brought some kids with disabilities, our people cleared a court and pitched in to help them play. No one had to be asked.”

Anson reflected on the purported epidemic of loneliness among older people. “That doesn’t happen here, you make friends. I know about 50 people just through playing pickleball at Upper Noe.” I look forward to seeing and playing with them.” He’s even travelled to Mexico with one of the players he met at the Court. “You shouldn’t write about me,” he said after a pause. You should write about our community and the support Cheryl Woltjen, the director, gives us. That’s what special about this place.”

Pickleball isn’t the only activity Anson picked up in retirement. He has become a committed potter. Four mornings a week, he’s at his studio in Pacifica creating pots and vases and designing dishes for his young relatives. Once he even sold his pottery, “made a thousand dollars – and donated the money. I was surprised someone wanted to buy it. It feels strange to get money for something you love to do.”

As Anson pulled out his phone to show me some of his pottery,  another player walked by. Hearing that Anson was a potter, she pulled out her phone to share her photos. “My daughter is a potter, too.” Anson smiled. “That’s what I mean, that’s how it happens, we build community.” Ten minutes later, when a court emptied, we picked up our paddles and introduced ourselves to two players visiting Upper Noe for the first time. “Hi,” Anson said, walking up to the net, “I’m Anson, let’s dink.”

- Judy Goddess