Lifetime sports opportunities booming in RDU area


Photos by Courtesy of Olivia Cassidy

Cassidy returns serve during match at Green Level High School.

Lifetime sports, activities that can be enjoyed at any time in one’s life such as tennis, golf, pickle ball and more, have had increasing popularity recently.. This explosion in popularity has resulted from more access to lessons, free-play gyms and also the COVID-19 pandemic. Many more that are interested in the sports are not able to compete or play for fun because they are not advertised as much as other sports and do not know where or how to get into them. 

Golf is one of the most popular sports around the world and has become increasingly prominent during the coronavirus pandemic. Due to it being outside, golf courses did not have to close for much time, or at all, and were able to implement COVID-19 precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. One downside of golf is that it can become a very expensive sport over time. A solution to this is acquiring “Youth On Course,” an app that allows golfers under the age of 18 to play numerous courses around their area for only $5, compared to the original prices ranging from $20-$80. A yearly $5 fee must be paid for the subscription but the value of “Youth On Course” is a relatively cheap way to become invested in golf.

“I started playing golf a lot more often during the summer of the pandemic and it’s honestly become one of my favorite sports. I began by playing par 3 courses, as they were less expensive, but then I was introduced to “Youth On Course” which allowed me to play bigger courses for cheaper prices. I definitely recommend trying golf out to anyone that isn’t sure because it’s a great way to get outside and active, not to mention it’s really fun,” said James Owens, senior.

Another lifetime sport that has been gaining a following is tennis. The socially distanced aspect of tennis has driven it to be a popular sport within both the younger and older communities during the pandemic. One that is interested in participating in this sport can go to the nearest park that has tennis courts, including Middle Creek Park, Swift Creek Elementary, Pullen Park and more. Bringing a friend and getting a match going is an easy way to get some physical activity outside and have fun while staying socially distanced. Tennis lessons are also available throughout the Raleigh-Durham area through websites such as “MyTennisLessons,” in which one can see ratings of instructors, how many lessons they have conducted and the rates at which they charge. Along with this, Athens Drive has a tennis team that competes as a spring sport which is a great way to get some instruction technique and meet others that have the same love for the game.

“During the pandemic when everything closed down, me and my family would go out to tennis courts near our house and just start hitting the ball around. Soon enough, we were all improving and were able to have some matches. It was a great way to get some exercise in a time that physical activity with others was hard to come by,” said Olivia Raper, senior. 

Pickle ball has flown under the radar for quite a time now, but has recently been picking up steam in popularity of all crowds. The sport is similar to tennis but the rackets and balls are made out of different material, creating less bounce in pickle ball with smaller courts. Just like in tennis, one can go to many different parks to play pickle ball with family and friends, or join a league. There are many different leagues that one can find online and join in which someone and their partner compete against other pairs to see who comes out victorious. There are 15 pickle ball leagues available in Cary with many more spreading across the RDU area. Just like any other sport, lessons are available to help improve one’s pickle ball game. Through “TennisBloc,” athletes can sign up for clinics to help improve their game. 

“I’ve been playing tennis for years and just started to get into the sport of pickle ball. I find it really similar to tennis and it’s really fun when I’m able to take a break from competitive tennis and just play some relaxed pickle ball with my friends. I’ve noticed that it’s a really underrated sport, kind of in the shadow of tennis, but I definitely think that more people should try it out because I think they’d love it just as much as I have grown to love it,” said Olivia Cassidy, senior.

Taking part in lifetime sports are a great outlet to get outside, get/stay in shape and have fun outdoors. Whether it be individually or with friends and competitors, these activities, plus more help improve mobility, flexibility and overall health. Along with this, lifetime sports help build basic concepts and traits that transfer over into other key aspects of life.