Staff Notes

A Reminder of the New Discoveries That Autumn Brings

cool air, colored leaves, and an unexpected game of pickleball

Tom Giffey |

PICKLE YOUR POISON. The writer, in khakis, getting a pickleball lesson at McDonough Park. (
PICKLE YOUR POISON. The writer, in khakis, getting a pickleball lesson at McDonough Park. (Photo by Greg Helgeson)

Autumn always makes me a little wistful, and I suspect I’m not the only one. The air is cooler, the leaves are more colorful, and the children have grown a year older. I also grow reflective because this was the time of year I began my first post-college job: it was at the Leader-Telegram 23 autumns ago, or almost exactly half my life.

Autumn also seems an ideal time to publish our Journey Ahead section, which you’ll find inside this print issue as well as online. The section is devoted to what lies ahead for those of us who are aging (i.e., all of us). It’s not a traditional “senior section,” because seniors aren’t as “traditional” as they used to be. They’re more devoted to keeping engaged and active, no matter their age. 

Consider the hundreds of Chippewa Valley folks, most in their 50s, 60s, and older, who are part of the Chippewa Valley Pickleball Club. You’ll find an article about the club and its efforts on page 61. I dropped by one recent morning to check out the pickleball scene at Eau Claire’s McDonough Park, and I was roped into playing a game. A trio of club members – Sandy Johnson, Linda Nicastro, and Bob Brown (who, coincidentally, was a colleague of mine at the Leader-Telegram) – schooled me in the sport (in several senses of the word). In my defense, not only was I wearing long pants, but I’m also utterly lacking in athletic ability. Nonetheless, my introduction to pickleball was a blast, and I can imagine myself trying the sport a little more seriously (after some practice, of course) down the road. It was a good reminder that the journey ahead of us is always full of new discoveries.