A great benefit of playing pickleball is the opportunity to
meet amazing people. In fitting with the Picklebilly goal of bringing people together, player profiles allow readers to learn about more players, hopefully bringing our pickleball world just a little bit closer.
Bonnie Sidwell is a welcome beacon at our home courts in Paso Robles, California; many admire her smile and happy attitude, along with her wholehearted enthusiasm for pickleball.
I also feel it's important to profile this athlete who is active and healthy in her late 70s as an inspiration to other seniors to stay active and get out there and try pickleball!
1. You always have a positive outlook. What is your philosophy about living life?
I feel blessed that I have ALWAYS had a positive attitude about life, during good times, and bad. I am lucky in that I don’t worry about things and trust that everything will work out the way it is supposed to. My philosophy is to be happy and grateful for what you have and not to envy anyone. Be thankful for your own special gifts. Everyone is different and has special gifts or talents. The trick is to recognize what you have and pursue it!
2. Tell us a bit about your story. :)
I grew up with a very athletic Father who competed in the Olympic Trials for diving. He played all kinds of sports in high school and college, so consequently, I was exposed to sports at a young age. I started playing sports in High School and loved all the different sports. Loving to be physically active, I was also a cheerleader in high school. In college, I played a little bit of tennis for fun. After getting married and being busy raising three children, I was able to squeeze in dancing, (Jazz and Tap), which has remained a life long passion to this day. My children were all involved in sports so I was very busy with their activities while they were growing up. As my children got older I was able to start working again and did several things. I was a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company, I worked for several cosmetic companies like Clinique and Estee Lauder, and I worked in banking. After I retired from normal jobs, my husband and I bought fixer-up homes and completely transformed them and the landscaping. We did this for several years, moving every 2 years. This was probably my favorite job of all as I love the job of recreating a new home.
3. You've always been straightforward about your age.
Please tell us about playing pickleball at age 77.
Age is just a number and I don’t really think of myself as being 77 years old. I feel like I am a lot younger and that is because playing Pickleball is sooooo much fun and reminds me of WHEN I was a lot younger playing sports. I am lucky in that I have always been physically active my whole life. Even when I wasn’t engaged in sports, I was always walking, gardening, and dancing. I feel it is important for good health, to do some form of exercise on a regular basis. Even just walking is good for you mentally and physically. For me playing Pickleball really keeps me in shape physically and mentally. You have to concentrate when playing so you can make good shots. It is also FABULOUS exercise. I don’t have to watch what I eat I can just play Pickleball. The socialization with friends you meet on the courts is also just wonderful. I have made so many great friends being involved with Pickleball. My husband and I have traveled to Europe several times to play in Tournaments there. Last year we participated in Tournaments in Ireland and also Germany. A great way to travel and play Pickleball!!
4. Any items on your bucket list?
I have a few items on my bucket list. I would love to play Pickleball in as many foreign countries as possible while I still can. I would also like to live in Paris for a year as I love everything FRENCH! Especially the food and wine!!! I would love to get a GOLD MEDAL in any event at the NATIONALS PICKLEBALL CAMPIONSHIPS held yearly!
5. What should we know about Mr. Sidwell? :)
I am fortunate in that I have a husband who shares the love of travel and plans most of our trips. My husband introduced me to Pickleball as he was playing a year before I started.
He is the USAPA Regional Director for California and Hawaii and is responsible for putting on a yearly Regional tournament which usually has 2000 participants. He is also involved with international pickleball activities through his position as Director of Membership for the International Pickleball Federation (IFP). This association has also opened many doors for us internationally & has resulted in many new pickleball friendships worldwide.
Thanks for reading this article on Picklebilly.com, a pickleball community dedicated to growing pickleball connections worldwide. Please share so others can enjoy, and, as always, Happy Pickling!