Bryan Mitchell, 88, plays pickleball twice a week at Copper Sky. Photo by Victor Moreno

 

Bryan Mitchell will be 89 years old in April. A retired executive, he takes physical fitness seriously. On his own or with new friends, he has a fitness regimen for every week day.

“I watch my diet so that I get the right foods, but I don’t necessarily cut back on the sweets, so I gotta keep working at it,” he said.

A resident of the Redwood neighborhood of Glennwilde, Mitchell came to Maricopa after his 2015 retirement. It was actually his second retirement.

A native of Chicago, he worked his first career there with what was then the A.C. Neilsen Company (now The Neilsen Corporation). As a controller in the mid-‘80s, he was among staff transferred to New York. After two years, the struggling company reorganized and laid off those employees.

Opting not to return to Chicago, Mitchell took early retirement and became a real estate broker. It was his occupation for 28 years in New York, even after his wife died in 2012. He finally called it quits at the age of 86.

His daughter, Susan Bellfield, had moved to Maricopa to be near friends around 2005. She thought the community would be a good fit for her father. So, when she stayed with him after his retirement, she talked him into moving to Arizona.

“I like the weather here,” he said. “And it’s less expensive to live here.”

Attributing Mitchell’s long, independent life at least in part to physical activity is an easy assumption. He used to play tennis and racquetball. Once he moved to Maricopa, he was ready to try something new both for activity and society.

He heard talk at his church about one of the congregants playing pickleball in Province, and he set out to find out what it was and where it might be available to non-Province residents.

That led him to Copper Sky, where he fell in with a motley crew.

“I enjoyed it right from the beginning,” Mitchell said. “It took me a little while to learn it, but it’s really a lot of fun. I look forward to it. They’re a great bunch of people here, too. They’re a lot of fun to play with.”

Now he plays pickleball with a growing group of players at Copper Sky on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, he hits the treadmill at home, where he lives with “a little dog that’s about as old as I am in dog years.”

Mitchell promotes the benefits of pickleball to others looking for light recreation to stay active.

“It’s a great sport for almost any age and any condition,” he said. “You have people who are overweight, people who are underweight, old people, younger people. It’s good for everybody. And you get good exercise from it because they run you around.”


This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

 

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