Roger Binette describes himself as an intense, competitive, yet sensitive guy. These traits will serve him well when he represents Florida in the men's and mixed doubles pickleball competition at the National Senior Games in Cleveland this week.
Binette has the distinction of having qualified for this year's nationals in three states; New Hampshire, Maine and Florida. He has chosen to represent Florida as he is so fond of his Tanglewood playing partners, Tom Stadler & Diane Reynolds.
Born and raised in New Hampshire, Binette played baseball in school. He was a second baseman on his elementary and secondary school teams. He played competitive softball into his late forties as well as recreational tennis.
Binette had a career in technology. He first worked as a computer operator of large mainframes then built desktop PCs and installed hardware and software. When hand-helds emerged, he helped people with their Blackberries. Having four children within five years meant for a very active home. Binette worked the second or third shift and then worked in construction during the day so that his wife, Pat, could stay at home to raise the children.
Binette and Pat have two daughters and two sons and are now the proud grandparents of eleven, including a set of triplets and a set of twins.
They recently purchased a new home in Newton, N.H. to be close to their family which was once dubbed "The Waltons" by others because the whole family was so actively involved in each of the children's sporting activities. The girls excelled in softball, basketball and field hockey while the boys mastered baseball, basketball and football. In the winters, the family enjoyed snowshoeing, cross country and downhill skiing.
Unlike many in Tanglewood, Binette had played pickleball before arriving in Sebring. A friend suggested the game as a great alternative to tennis when Pat's arthritis made it very difficult for her to hold a tennis racquet. The couple play indoors in New Hampshire but have to drive 45 minutes to compete. Binette likes the way that the ball reacts indoors and the fact that weather doesn't impact the game. He notes that the lighting in many indoor facilities makes it difficult to see the ball well.
Binette really likes tournament play with the chance to meet new people and study the styles of play his opponents use. One of his favorite pickleball moments came when he was asked by fellow Tanglewood resident, Diane Reynolds, to be his partner.
Binette felt inadequate paired with such a talented player. With Diane's encouragement, support and tutelage his skills improved rapidly. Her confidence in him boosted his self-confidence. He was thrilled to be asked to play on the Tanglewood Travelling Team that competes in the South Central Florida Pickleball League. He looks up to his fellow team members with their great pickleball skills.
Binette is excited to be going to the Nationals where he feels that he and his partners, Tom Stadler and Diane Reynolds, will do well.
He thinks that part of the strength of these partnerships is the mutual respect for one another and the fact that they have fun both on and off the court. Binette will have all of Tanglewood cheering for him as he plays in the men's doubles on Monday and mixed doubles on Wednesday.