“We’re grandmothers, mothers, massage therapists, and I’m an architect,” said Heather Hatfield.

All of the women are members of “Kitchen Friction,” a two year-old pickleball team that practices at Himmel Park.

There’s former University of Illinois basketball player Cheryl Horvath.

“Cheryl is a really aggressive player,” said Hatfield.

Hatfield is a former competitive soccer player.

“Heather’s footwork is outstanding,” said Horvath. “She plays tremendous defense. You cannot get a ball past Heather.

Captain Jan Garcia is one of the team’s grandmothers.

“They’ve been used to following their grandchildren and can move better than some of the younger players,” joked Hafield.

Kitchen Friction plays in the Arizona Pickleball Players League, which brings team based pickleball to regions across the state.

“League play is more competitive,” remarked Hatfield. “In recreation play, there is not much on the line.”

Kitchen Friction won the Arizona southern region league play, so it was off to the state championships in Phoenix.

“When we went to state, I think we felt confident, solid, and we were really supportive of each other,” said Horvath.

Sure enough, Kitchen Friction was too hot to handle, and became Arizona state champions in the 3.5 level category.

“It was an incredible experience,” said Hatfield. “We worked really hard.”

“It’s cool,” said Horvath. “People in the greater Tucson area have been following us and there is enthusiasm.”

“I thought that was the climax of the season,” said Hatfield. “But, we’re working on the next thing.”

The next thing is a national tournament. Kitchen Friction will compete in South Carolina in September.

“We enjoy playing pickleball,” said Horvath. “It’s just been a fun journey for all of us.”