Player Profile: Linda Hook

Retirement gave Linda Hook, a “regular” player at Upper Noe Rec Center, the time to exercise, improve her golf game, and see friends. But that wasn’t enough for Linda, she wanted more. So when a friend suggested pickleball, she eagerly checked out Upper Noe.

That’s where she met Rick Casse, who “had been playing for a while and introduced me to the game.” While Linda had been “a good tennis player and won a lot of doubles,” it took her a while to pick up the new game. “I had a pretty good backhand and overhand, but pickleball is different from tennis.”

Linda had only played Upper Noe for six months before COVID closed the indoor courts. “After a while we began playing outside with masks. It was good for what it was, but it certainly wasn’t the same.”

So when Rec & Park re-opened the indoor courts for Tuesday and Thursday morning play, Linda was at the front of the line.   Linda will also play on the outdoor Pickleball courts on the Rec Center’s dual-lined tennis court,  which are also reserved for open play on TU/TH mornings.

This past year, Linda generously consented to be a volunteer coordinator on play days. “Coordination is not a difficult job,” Linda says, “and I only commit to once a week.”  So every Tuesday at 10 am, Linda can be found setting up the four pickleball nets in the gym. After that it’s time to pick up her paddle and play, talk with friends, and check in with the Rec Center staff. At 1 pm, closing time finds her reminding the players it’s time to take down the nets. “There’s a little monitoring when there’s tension around the rules – but really that hasn’t been a problem here.”

“I love this place,” she says. “It’s a mixed group you won’t find anywhere else. Everyone is so nice. All ages play together. We’re all doing something we enjoy. It helps that Cheryl Woltjen (the SFR&P director at Noe) and her people are so supportive.”  Linda also plays outdoors courts at Louis Sutter once a week, another “friendly court with special people.”

Players like Linda, dedicated to the sport help assure that the community is inclusive, friendly and a responsible user of the court facilities.  People like Linda are vital to creating the supportive environment that recreational players love about Pickleball.  Thanks for doing your duty, Linda !!

- Judy Goddess