5. March 2015


Pickleball gaining more fans

It’s like ping-pong if you were on top of the table.

That’s how Al Schlueter described the fast-growing racquet sport with a silly name that is a whacking success at the Antioch College Wellness Center.

It’s called pickleball, and enthusiasts describe it as a cross between tennis, racquetball and ping-pong. Played with a wiffle ball and solid paddle, the game is fast-moving and fun — and it’s a good workout, according to Franklin Halley.

“It’s quick, it takes hand-eye coordination, it’s a reasonable workout, it’s really social, and it gets you smiling,” Halley said of the sport’s benefits.

With six courts striped for play at the new wellness center, pickleball is attracting lots of players. Enthusiasts say that anyone of any age or ability can pick up the game quickly and start to compete. And since it’s usually played as doubles, it’s very social.

The makeup of the dozen or so villagers who came out for the popular Sunday pick-up game included three newbies and a host of regulars eager to teach them. There were young adults and septuagenarians. It included pickleball player of six years and Senior Olympic competitor Deloria Jacobs, who donned her own high-tech paddle and gloves; Halley, a swimmer who started offering pickleball clinics at the center, and Tjioe Kwan, who now plays pickleball three times per week between the wellness center and the Xenia YMCA, where he first picked up the sport. A longtime tennis player, Kwan finds pickleball similar but with its own benefits.

“It’s good exercise, it’s a very social game and it’s easier than tennis because the paddle is shorter,” Kwan explained.

Pickleball is on the rise in the U.S. in part due to its attraction to seniors. The U.S.A. Pickleball Association claims it is the fastest-growing sport in the country with more than 100,000 players and 5,600 courts in the U.S., according to its website.

Wellness Center Director Monica Hasek said recently that they chose to offer pickleball because they had heard from area YMCAs how popular the sport was with seniors, while it attracts players of all ages. In the last month, pickleball has become huge at the center, which surprised her since hardly anyone had heard of the sport when she gave tours of the newly-renovated center.

“In the last month it has gone rampant,” Hasek said. “People are excited.”

Currently there are three times for pickleball pick-up games, where anyone is welcome. The most popular is Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. in the South Gym. The game is also set up Monday and Wednesday from 1 to 3 p.m. in the upstairs gym. Members can come during any open gym time and check out the pickleball equipment from the front desk. There are three additional pickleball courts striped in the East Gym.

While pickleball is easy to pick up, the rules can be a bit perplexing. Games are played to 11, only the serving team can score and an area just in front of the net is off-limits for volleying. A pickleball player who violates the no-volley zone, also known as the “kitchen” or “danger zone,” is a “volley llama.” Another difficult rule is the “double bounce” rule, where both a return serve and the return of the return must first bounce before a player strikes them. Balls that must bounce are called “flapjacks.” Otherwise, it is similar to tennis and ping-pong.

Pickleball can be played indoors or outdoors. In fact, Halley and a small group of other locals have played pickleball on the tennis courts for the past five years, marking out the smaller court in chalk or tape and dropping the net slightly. But the pickleball community is now growing fast.

Among the regulars is Tod Tyslan, who learned pickleball while a student at Antioch College in the mid-90s. It wasn’t too popular then, but Tyslan got his start. He went on to competitive badminton before returning to pickleball recently when the community just “sprouted up,” he said. Tennis player Reggie Stratton recently started playing pickleball for a good workout but also believes it could be helping his tennis game.

“You sweat and sometimes you go to bed sore,” Stratton said. “It’s also going to help with my net reaction in tennis.”

In a particularly competitive game last Sunday, Tyslan and Stratton were down 10–3 to Kwan and Jim Johnson. The plastic wiffle ball on the wooden paddles was delivering a satisfying whack sound, and as the volleys quickened, the waiting players on the sidelines became rapt.

“You guys are getting greedy on points,” Stratton joked when the score was called out.

“You’re not so good at math,” Tyslan added.

Tyslan and Stratton won back-to-back game points to keep themselves alive, then lost three straight, with Tyslan barely missing a volley into the net on game point. Even in defeat, Tyslan had what Halley calls the “pickleball smile,” saying of his fault:

“I got most of it.”

Pickleball was started in the mid-1960s in Bainbridge Island, Wash, according to the U.S.A. Pickleball Association. The game was first improvised using a badminton court, ping-pong paddles and a wiffle ball. Eventually they lowered the net and started playing on a hard surface. The name is shrouded in legend, but according to some accounts, it was named after the inventor’s cocker spaniel, Pickles.

The Antioch Wellness Center, which opened in September 2014 after an $8 million renovation, has 1,753 members, including Antioch students, faculty and staff, according to Hasek.

Continue reading...

5. March 2015


Antioch College seeks input on campus homes

Organizers of the Antioch College Village Charrette hope that many villagers participate in the opening event of the five-day process this Sunday, March 1, 6–9 p.m. in the South Gym in the Wellness Center.

“We want anyone who is interested in the future of the community and the college to join us,” Sandy Wiggins, the planning consultant overseeing the project, said last week.

The charrette is the first step toward moving ahead with the Antioch College Village, a proposed multigenerational residential project on the college campus. Organizers have described the project as a minimum of 160 units of mixed housing models, including rentals, town houses and perhaps some co-housing, located at various locations on campus. The project will be unique in the country due to its location directly on campus and also for incorporating into the units the highest standards of green design and construction, Wiggins said.

The Sunday event will be led by representatives of the design firm Dover Kohl, of Coral Gables, Fla.. The event is a hands-on, collaborative design activity during which participants will break into small groups to offer their ideas and preferences for the project, as well as look at possible locations, Participants might be asked to weigh in regarding their priorities for the project, the best ways to incorporate walkability or bikeability, or how to incorporate both shared and private facilities, among other possible topics.

“This is the beginning of the project, and we’ll be brainstorming about what’s important to people and how this project can benefit not just the college but the community,” Dover Kohl planner Amy Groves said this week.

Light finger food will be provided during the Sunday design session.

Following the Sunday event, the designers will hold an open design studio in the South Gym from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day Monday, March 2 through Thursday, March 5, during which villagers are invited to drop in and make comments in a more informal way. On Tuesday evening, March 3, from 6 to 8 p.m., organizers will host an open house for villagers to see the work done to that point. And on Thursday, March 5, from 6 to 8 p.m., the designers will present their work from the week, with opportunity for feedback.

The purpose of the five-day charrette is to create a plan for the project, Wiggins previously said. And according to College Vice President for Finance and Operations Andi Adkins in a recent article, the design plan will next be presented to the Antioch College Board of Trustees, who will decide whether the project will move ahead.

If it does, the addition of 160 new housing units on campus will be a substantial change to the village, Wiggins said.

“This is potentially a big development for Yellow Springs,” he said.

Villagers interested

Some villagers have already expressed their interest in the housing project. After Pat Brown wrote a letter to the editor for the News several months ago seeking others interested in co-housing, a group of about 12 has met, and has also met with Wiggins. Most are interested in downsizing and some aspects of living in a community, Brown said.

“My house is too big,” said Brown. But she’s very interested in living in a smaller space on campus, because “a college is always a seat of learning and new ideas. I’d like to be in touch with people like that.”

The college project also interests Brown because of the presence of the Antioch Farm. An avid gardener, Brown has discovered that maintaining her own large garden is too much, but she’d love to keep gardening.

“Then I don’t have to be responsible for the whole thing,” she said.

Another villager nterested in the Antioch College Village is Maggie Morrison, who hopes to see a co-housing component to the project. Co-housing allows people to benefit from both a private living space and areas for engagement with a community, a situation she has seen work well for her sister-in-law in California.

And Morrison is also attracted to the prospect of being a part of campus.

“I love the idea of being involved with Antioch,” she said. “I love the energy and vitality of young people.”

A new kind of housing

In a previous interview, Antioch College President Mark Roosevelt said he initially envisioned the housing as meeting the needs of a new niche market: those Baby Boomers who want to downsize but also want to be engaged in, and useful to the community. Living on campus and potentially being involved in college classes and activities could meet that market’s needs, and could also help the college become more financially sustainable, Roosevelt said.

However, a 10-month feasibility study showed that other age groups also showed interest in the Village, according to Wiggins, so the vision has been broadened to become a multigenerational project.

What makes the Antioch College Village unique will be its location directly on a college campus, rather than tangential to campus, as with housing projects at other colleges. And the project aims to use the Living Community Challenge standards for its design and construction, which requires the most stringent standards of environmental sustainability, according to Wiggins, a principal in the green planning firm Consilience and former chair of the U.S. Green Building Council. Specifically, these standards require that the units produce all their own energy, are nontoxic, and source building materials from as close as possible to the construction site.

While many variables of the Antioch College Village are unknown at this point, it’s clear that the project, if it moves ahead, will be significant to Yellow Springs, Wiggins said. More housing means more people moving to town and more economic development, among other benefits to the village. So he hopes villagers respond to the college’s invitation to this week’s planning event.

“The object is to create a community of lifelong learners connected to the resources of the college,” he said.

Continue reading...

27. February 2015


Villager input sought for Antioch College Village

The kick-off events of the Antioch College Village Charrette will take place this Sunday, March 1.

Continue reading...

24. February 2015


Dream of spring at Pollinator Pathway Project event

Antioch College will host a Pollinator Pathway native plant seed saving event and project open house on Friday, Feb. 27, 4–6 p.m. in room 106 of the newly renovated Science Building.

Continue reading...

16. February 2015


Antioch College Campus Transformation

During the last four years, Antioch College has been hard at work renovating existing historic buildings on campus, bringing them back to their former glory. Haven’t been on campus in awhile? Take a look at what we’ve been up to!

Continue reading...

12. February 2015


Teach In – Nonstop History and Antioch College – December 4th, 2014


Statement of Intent from the Antioch Student Union for the Teach-In: 1. To illuminate the history surrounding the causes of Antioch College’s closure. 2. Through this analysis, to construct a counter-narrative to the simplistic “toxic culture” understanding of Antioch College prior and after its closure. 3. To clearly identify the chief challenges and successes of […]

Continue reading...