By Jeff Ditchek


Jeff Ditchek and Peter Lederman bring home the gold.

You can find it, gold that is, or earn it. We earned it, I guess. Peter Lederman and I entered the New York State Senior Games held in Cortland, NY in the Pickleball competition. It was held on June 9th and we headed up the day before with our wives and friends. We were excited as we took on the responsibility of representing Andes.

The day of the competition we arrived at 8:30 in the morning and finished up at 3:30 in the afternoon. Tired and surprised at our progress as we kept moving up the ladder, closer and closer to the final round. As the day wore on, tiredness and fatigue set in, yet we seemed to find our strength and stride –  after all these were the senior games and we wanted to win. We hit better and more energetic shots in the final round. For the gold, we had to play the only team we lost to up to this point.

Part of the fun was meeting all the other teams and finding out where they were from. Peter and I were proud to say, “Andes”, and the response was universally, “Where?” “The Catskills,” we would reply. We became known as the team from the Catskills. Well our Sunday morning games at the Andes Central School gym seemed to prepare us for the big competition, for we beat the other team in the final round without too much trouble. They were local boys from Cortland. The crowd cheered the good shots and was nice enough not to moan at the poor ones. I will admit Peter and I were surprised we made it to the Gold round, and to win it was just plain fun. And having unadulterated fun is good at any age.

Peter and I intend to enter the National’s this fall in Rochester, NY. Those interested in playing Pickleball should just show up at the Andes Central School at 10:30 on Sunday mornings. Just fun and a great group of people who are all golden. ~