I’m sorry, but I like to talk while playing pickleball.
I know. I know. It’s annoying to some, but I can’t help myself.
I’m referring to offering running commentary during low-stakes recreational play, where nothing is on the line but dignity. I like playing so much, I find myself narrating the game I’m in.
“Look at you!” I’ll say to my partner as he or she makes a good return. Or, “great dink” I’ll say to an opponent, as I am scrambling to return it.
Or even as I’m racing to return a possible winner, shot, I’ll be narrating: “What a shot! But can I get it?”
Frequently, with the ball still in play, I am offering commentary that goes beyond court tactics to my partner.
“Oh, no. I’m sorry,” I will say before an opponent has the opportunity to smash back one of my all-too-frequent pop ups.
I realize that if this were in tournament play, I could possibly be assessed a fault for “hindering” my opponent by shouting something deemed distracting while he or she is about to swing at the ball.
But, like I said, this is rec play, and well, this is how I have a good time.
And yes, sometimes – depending on the familiarity with the players in the game – I’ll descend into a little trash talk too.
Often times, I do this to motivate myself.
“That’s it!” I’ll announce after falling behind, say, 8-1, and regaining the serve.
“No more Mr. Nice Guy,” I’ll declare across the net. “Say your prayers. You’re in a lot of trouble now.”
My favorite bit of banter comes when, let’s say, my team is serving and losing 5-10-1, and then we get three points, making the score, 8-10-1.
Rather than just continuing to serve, I’ll pause and announce, “I just want you guys to know that now, I’d rather be us than you in this game. I think we’re now in a better position to win than you are. I’m just letting you know, in case you haven’t realized it.”
I’m not sure that’s true. But I want to believe it.
I’d try to let this sink in before serving. Unfortunately, sometimes it just motivates the other team, and they win that rally, making it 8-10-2.
Being mostly honest, I would then issue a heartfelt update on my last announcement.
“I am revising my previous statement. I would now rather be you than us,” I’ll say.
Don’t take me seriously. Just humor me. I grew up as an avid baseball fan, and as a kid I spent countless hours swinging a bat in my backyard, narrating my crucial ninth-inning at-bat in an imaginary game.
So, I’m just reverting to my childhood again. But this time I’m holding a pickleball paddle instead of a baseball bat. And the games are real.
I hope you don’t mind.
At least I’m not one of those players who subjects everybody on the courts to a jambox blaring yacht rock.
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
- A Former Pickleball Addict Speaks Out
- Separating the Drinkers from the Dinkers
- Turning Every Magazine into a Pickleball Magazine
- Zen and the Art of Pickleball Maintenance
- Spirited Pickleball Poetry
- Making Pickleball Less "Devastating" to Amateurs
- Finding Romance on the Pickleball Court: Top 10 Pickup Lines
- Sign of the Times: Pickleball License Plates
- Red Light, Green Light: Playing Traffic Cop on the Court
- The Pickler Limerick Challenge
- The Pickler Limerick Challenge Heats Up
- The Pickler Limerick Challenge Wraps Up
- Pickleball & the $100 Hamburger
- Before We Play, Partner, Please Sign This...
- Pickleball's Most Powerful Spoken Word
- It's Been a Hard Day's Night for Pickleball Skeptics
- Be Kind to Your Local "Paddle Sheriff"
Is There Such a Thing as Too Many Paddles?
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!