We here at Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket (for those new to Murmurs, this is a humorous tongue-and-cheek opinion piece – don’t take us too seriously… we are trying to have fun, just like we do on the pickleball court) have been observing with detached amusement the turf war going on between the Profession Pickleball Association and the Association of Pickleball Professionals.
Yes, for those of you keeping score at home, it’s the PPA vs. the APP.
This brings to mind that scene in the Monty Python movie, Life of Brian (a must watch if you have never seen this movie before! – see below), when the character played by John Cleese is offended by being asked by a roving colosseum salesman of larks’ tongues, otters’ noses and ocelot spleens if he and his rebel friends are members of the “Judean People’s Front.”
Cleese’s character blurts out an obscenity, then corrects the dried-animal-snacks salesman by saying, “We’re the People’s Front of Judea.”
Then still miffed, he utters, “Judean People’s Front” as if he can’t imagine how anybody could be so clueless as to confuse the “People’s Front of Judea” with the “Judean People’s Front.”
Before the scene is over, a third group named the “Judean Popular People’s Front” is ridiculed, and then one of the rebels asks, “Whatever happened to the Popular Front?”
“He’s over there,” the Cleese character says, pointing to one angry old man sitting alone.
Pickleball, a sport with an otherwise genteel reputation, is running the risk of turning itself into a parody of a Monty Python bit.
Not only are the PPA and the APP doing their best impression of a pro-wrestling “loser leave town cage match”, as they schedule competing tours and try to tie up the game’s biggest stars with multi-year exclusivity contracts. But, USA Pickleball surprised the pickleball world early last year by announcing a USA Pickleball Hall of Fame “to recognize those players and contributors who have demonstrated by their leadership positions in the sport to have significantly advanced and promoted pickleball throughout the years.”
How thoughtful. Except that there was already a Pickleball Hall of Fame that had been established since 2017, and was in the process of opening an actual museum at The Austin Pickleball Ranch.
Nevertheless, USA Pickleball sent individual letters to the already-inducted 17 members of the existing Pickleball Hall of Fame, asking them to be inducted into the fledgling rival Hall of Fame.
In the lingo of Monty Python movies, that would be called “cheeky.”
The inductees to the original Pickleball Hall of Fame declined induction into the new one, writing as a group that “a duplicate hall of fame is detrimental to our burgeoning sport.”
The board members of the original Pickleball Hall of Fame didn’t like the idea either, saying that their hall of fame didn’t deserve having to compete with another hall of fame.
Per the board members of the original Pickleball Hall of Fame: “From the day it was founded, the Pickleball Hall of Fame has operated with an integrity-first approach, creating an unbiased, transparent organization that preserves the history of our amazing sport.”
It was Monty Python all over again.
What sport needs two halls of fame?
Major League Baseball has been around for 153 years and it has managed to have one hall of fame.
With two halls of fame, pickleball might just not have enough famous players to go around. And before long, you’d have to start letting in the less-than-famous players who lose a lot of 11-9 games, and the next thing you know, we’d have a Hall of Pretty Good, but Forgettable PIckleball Players – aka the HOPGBFPP.
Try getting that on a commemorative plaque.
Fortunately, It looks like the duplicate halls of fame issue may be worked out, at least according to a recent announcement that USA Pickleball, the USA Pickleball Hall of Fame and the Pickleball Hall of Fame “have reached an understanding, that if completed, would result in one Pickleball Hall of Fame.”
Although to be candid, we here at Murmurs from the Losers Bracket Headquarters were never really that interested in a pickleball hall of fame to start with, considering that mediocrity has always been our passion.
And now that it looks like we’ll be spared a second pickleball hall of fame, maybe the building plans for the second hall can be adjusted to something that’s more familiar to the other 99 percent of pickleball players.
It would be a celebration of the game as played by the vast majority of people – the bumblers, the foot faulters, the kings and queens of dead dinks, weak returns and relentless pop-ups.
It would be a long overdue recognition of unforced errors, and underwritten through a generous donation from Hyland’s Leg Cramps tablets.
We could call it the Pickleball People’s Front.
What’s that? You think it should be called the People’s Front of Pickleball?
MURMURS FROM THE LOSERS’ BRACKET
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!