Toni Teasdale, 64, won the gold medal for women’s doubles in pickleball at the recent Tampa Bay Senior Games. Pickleball is a sport that combines ping-pong, tennis and badminton. Teasdale has also won a gold in singles before — she has many medals hanging in her living room. Teasdale even goes on pickleball vacations with her husband, Jim. Most recently they traveled to Bermuda for a pickleball cruise, and they are planning a May trip to Jamaica.
When did you first start playing pickleball?
In 2008 I saw a sign on Anna Maria Island that they were offering free lessons at a community center there, so (my husband and I) went. Now, we play six days a week.
To what do you attribute your success?
I have good hand-eye coordination and the ability to move. And agility.
What do you think is the breakfast of champions?
What is the toughest part of playing pickleball and the most enjoyable part?
I’d say the toughest part is anticipating your opponents’ moves. I enjoy the camaraderie.
Do you play any other sports?
I played tennis, but I didn’t excel at it like this. I played off and on for 25 years. We played tennis in Naples for 14 years.
If you could play any sport professionally, what would you play?
Golf. I think there’s a level of professionalism, and it maintains the standards. In basketball and team sports, there’s no decorum. Golf has maintained a standard, and I like that.
Is there anything related to pickleball to which you are looking forward?
My husband and I are going with 100 other pickleballers in May to Jamaica. We are going to an all-inclusive resort with eight courts during the day and four at night. The people going are from 23 different states.