Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ogden pal picks pickle(ball) to pepper parks

Deseret News, Published: Sunday, June 27, 2010
OGDEN — Retired businessman John Gullo is paying to have four pickleball courts built at city-owned Mount Ogden Park and is willing to donate money for training and other activities to see the sport become a smash hit.

"It's a good, physical game but not hard to learn," Gullo said. "It's a great sport, and I fell in love with it. I've been fortunate enough to have a few bucks, so I said, 'Let's do it.' 

Gullo learned about the game at a country club near his winter home in St. George. He began playing during his rehabilitation after nearly dying from a heart attack 17 months ago.

"On a given day, at 9 o'clock in the morning, people show up. Four people play, and then you switch, so you get to meet all your neighbors," Gullo said. "I like the way people welcome you like family. It's not a competitive thing. It's about getting everybody to play. Twenty to 24 people show up to play every day."

While in St. George, Gullo plays an hour-and-a-half before working with a personal trainer and doing up to 40 laps in a swimming pool.

"My stamina has improved," he said. "That's what the game has done for me."

Meanwhile, Gullo's weight has plummeted from 296 to 252 pounds, and his waistline is down six inches.

"I needed this for my health purposes, but since I can't put it in my (Ogden) backyard, I said I do this for the city, to get it going, and potentially, down the road, if it works, we could add more to it and maybe host some senior games up here," he said.

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