We here at Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket are, as you might expect, devoted to the game of pickleball. (*For those new to Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket, this is a (mostly) humorous tongue-in-cheek opinion piece - don't take us too seriously).
OK, maybe even obsessed. We can’t get enough.
But in the interest of fairness, we’ve decided to turn over today’s installment to a fellow pickleballer who claims that he has conquered his pickleball obsession and he is happier because of it.
I know. Heresy! Who in their right mind would advocate playing less pickleball?
Well, I’d tell you his name, but I’ve granted him anonymity after he assured me that if he was outed, his pickleball friends would shun him.
So, I’m going to call him “Bob”, because if I called him “Erne”, it would just be too confusing. Let’s just say that Bob lives in the Southeastern United States, and that he is 67 years old.
He started playing pickleball a few years ago, and much to his surprise, it didn’t take him long before he was playing six or seven days a week, and sometimes twice a day.
In other words, he was your average pickleball player. And then the world changed with the COVID pandemic. And about the same time, his body started complaining.
“I had aches and pains in all sorts of spots,” he said. “My shoulders started bothering me from the smashes, and then I got plantar fasciitis in my feet. I got up in the morning, and when I stepped out of bed I could barely walk,” he said.
“But it didn’t stop me from playing.”
Naturally. But because he liked to play indoors to avoid the heat, the COVID shutdowns temporarily closed the indoor courts he frequented. And it was that, not his body, that altered his leisure-time schedule.
“I sort of quit playing, and I thought to myself, ‘What am I going to do with my day without pickleball?’”
He started doing a lot of walking and he threw himself more into landscaping outside his home.
“And then I realized that I missed walking. I used to like to walk, but when I started playing pickleball, I didn’t have time for walks.
“I even started enjoying the yard work more. Instead of squeezing the yard work around my pickleball schedule, I took my time and I enjoyed yard work more.”
“The weeds looked better.”
Yes, this sounds crazy. We can’t imagine preferring pruning to dinking, or plucking dandelions to playing doubles.
We here at Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket prefer to look at Bob’s condition as a disturbing case of PTSD – Pickleball Temporary Stoppage Disorder.
But Bob said that being suddenly deprived of pickleball put him on the other side of his pickleball addiction, although he prefers to use the word, “obsession”, because it sounds less like a medical problem.
And now, he claims, this pickleball deprivation has led to an epiphany of sorts, a new outsider’s-look of the game that he found revelatory.
“What impresses me is how many people take pride in being obsessed with pickleball,” he said. “But there’s (allegedly) a whole lot more to life than pickleball.”
“Pickleball is a great thing, but if that’s all you’ve got to do for your retirement, just look around,” he said.
We are. We’re looking around for doubles players. And in other news, the weeds aren’t beckoning us with their siren song of mulch.
“The problem is when you play pickleball you feel like you’ve gone out and done something,” Bob said. “But it’s an escapist thing of not having to deal with whatever else you could be dealing with.”
We don’t buy that argument. And to bolster our dissent, we turn to the esteemed words of the great American novelist, Kurt Vonnegut.
“We are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you any different,” Vonnegut once opined.
That is, perhaps, the best argument for pickleball that has ever been made.
We wish Bob well with his post-pickleball-obsessed life. But we already see signs of trouble.
Now that the COVID pandemic has subsided, and Bob’s aches and pains have faded, he says he’s back to playing pickleball. But he’s consciously trying to play less to free up his life for more fulfilling pursuits.
“I told myself no more than two times a week,” he said. “But then friends call up and say they’ve got a good game. So, now I’m up to four times a week.”
Sounds like the opening overtures of a relapse.
MURMURS FROM THE LOSERS' BRACKET
Read past editions of Murmurs from the Losers' Bracket, including:
- The Ozempic Ad
- Ball On Court? Maybe Not
- The PPA, the APP and Monty Python
- Time to Get Help at Bangers Anonymous
- "It's an Injury Sport"
- A Pickleball Translation Guide
- What's Your Pickleball Nickname?
- Tennis the Menace
- Is There Such a Thing as "Pickleball Torture"?
- How to Be an Effective Pickleball Snob
- All You Need Is Glove
- The Lesson McDonald’s French Fries Have for Pickleball
- Tunes on the Court
- The Poetry of Empty Courts
- “Head Targeting” Rule Change Not a Brainy Idea
- Getting Beyond "Good Game"
- Why Are Pickleball Trophies Such a Big Deal?
- Stop Messing with the ATP
- When Discussions of Rules Turn Unruly
Frank Cerabino is a long-time columnist for the Palm Beach Post in Florida, a pickleball addict like the rest of us, and a newly published author. Check out Frank's newly released book, I Dink, Therefore I Am: Coming to Grips with My Pickleball Addiction (available on Amazon and a great read (or gift!) for any pickleball player), for pickleball tips and laughs!