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WNC Business

A passion for court dates

Feb 19, 2024 11:10AM ● By Randee Brown

Owning her own graphic design business since 1992, Sheri Lalumondier loves being able to integrate her passion of playing pickleball into her schedule of projects and deadlines.

Lalumondier had always belonged to a gym, and when COVID hit, her gym transitioned to providing Zoom exercise classes instead of hosting them on site. One of Lalumondier’s friends wanted to teach her the sport of pickleball, and since outdoor sports were available, she started playing in October of 2020.

“I fell in love,” Lalumondier said. “I played tennis in college, so it was easy to pick it up. Even though I still had a gym membership, I bundled up and played outside all winter long.”

More than an outlet for exercise, pickleball also provides a means for people to build connections.

“I’ve built lots of new friendships through playing pickleball,” Lalumondier said. “We meet for lunch, have parties, and travel to places like Hilton Head to play together. I’m going to Florida in January to play with another group. I belonged to the same gym for 10 years and knew the people going to the same classes as me, but pickleball offers a different level of connection. It could be because we’ve all found the same niche, and playing for three hours or so gives us more time together.”

Pickleball is growing in popularity, according to Lalumondier, and not just among retirees. While many frequent players are no longer working full time, she said others, like her, play to balance their work with recreation. 

“The median age of players is dropping,” Lalumondier said. “It’s a great community and a good way to meet people of all ages. It’s fun to get into a game with different ages. There are always different genders too; it’s people from all walks of life that come to play. Some play during their lunch break, and some meet regularly multiple times a week. It’s a growing sport.”

There are several places to play pickleball around Asheville including courts at public parks and through the Asheville Racquet Club. More members means more dedicated courts, and Lalumondier said there’s a true need in Asheville. Public courts have to split time between pickleball and tennis players, and people have to visit the Asheville Parks & Rec website to check the current schedule to determine which courts are available at what times. She sees more people on the courts than when she first started, and more sessions are scheduled ahead of time than three years ago.

The Asheville Pickleball Association has partnered with the Parks & Recreation department and helped to acquire permanent nets for some area courts. Tennis and pickleball use different nets, and Lalumondier said having permanent, roll-away nets is much easier than players bringing their own temporary nets as they’ve had to do in the past.

Lalumondier has friends that travel around the region to play in tournaments, and many cities have their own specialized pickleball courts. While some metro areas in the state have professional leagues, Asheville does not, and she is hopeful Asheville will sponsor tournaments locally in the future.

“For me and for other players who work remotely, it’s a great social event,” Lalumondier said. “It’s good to build connections, and having friendships and being active is a good combination for mental health.”

When her schedule gets busy and she has to work late hours to complete a project, Lalumondier said it helps knowing she’ll have pickleball the next day. 

“I know it sounds cliché, but even if we don’t hit the ball well, we’re still glad we got out there,” Lalumondier said. “When I do hit the ball right, it feels really good, and I get those moments of ‘that’s why I play pickleball.’ Everyone benefits from having something they’re passionate about for work/life balance; something that makes you excited to get out of bed.”

Sheri Lalumondier is the owner of Indigo Design and is actively involved with the Asheville Pickleball Association. Learn more about pickleball and available court times at