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Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket: The Pickler Limerick Challenge Wraps Up

Murmurs from the Losers' Bracket Frank Cerabino 03-20-2023

It’s time to bring the Pickler Limerick Challenge in for a landing.

We here at Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket have enjoyed reading your pickleball rhymes during the past month. Your ability to amuse has been greatly appreciated.

Clearly, many of you have way too much time on your hands.

And I’m not just talking to you, Chad Griffith, from Poway, California, who keeps sending repeated submissions with the header “MORE LIMERICKS !!!!!” – when four exclamation points would have been quite enough.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m in awe of the limericks you’ve all sent.

And some of you, I’ve discovered, are wordsmith professionals, like Jayne Brown, a retired creative writing teacher near Fleetwood, Pennsylvania.

Her partner persistently coached her,
Though she told him distinctly, ‘Hell no, sir.”
But he just wouldn’t stop
Til’ she employed her drop shot
The third time he reached out to poach her

Well done, Jayne.

People advise writers to write about what they know. But I had to call Jim Hackenberg of Kalamazoo, Michigan, just to verify that this was an absolutely true story about his mother-in-law.

My mother-in-law is 97
Most people her age are in heaven
But she plays pickleball
Taking on one and all
And is usually the first to 11

Minnie Hackenberg, the 97-year-old mother-in-law in question, is the mother of Pickleball Hall of Famer, Yvonne Hackenberg.

Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket: The Pickler Limerick Challenge Wraps Up | Pickler Pickleball

And what would a pickleball rhyme be without a reference to an injury? Jeff Gaunt, of Phoenix, Arizona, covered that quite well:

I played in a pickleball tourney
You could say it was quite the journey
Though I’m 4.0 rated
Played 3.0 and was hated
Got the trophy but left on a gurney

Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket: The Pickler Limerick Challenge Wraps Up | Pickler Pickleball

Mike Matthews, a recreational pickleball player from Mesa, Arizona, called pickleball his “main outlet for exercise and fun.”

Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket: The Pickler Limerick Challenge Wraps Up | Pickler Pickleball

“Pickleball may no longer be just for geezers, but it’s still really great for geezers!”

He claims to have never written a limerick before this contest, and yet, he penned this beauty:

On games, I can sometimes be fickle
For most, I won’t give you a nickel
But I’ll say with a shrug
I’ve been bit by the bug
And now I’m just tickled to pickle

Kathy Hudson, a pickleball referee in Southwest Florida, wrote a limerick that encapsulates her court duties:

A short tale of the ref’s long day
Call the score for break-even pay
Done for love of the game
And certainly not fame
Be assured, we’d much rather play

One of the strangest entries I received was from Paulette Ryder, of Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. Then again, she was sleep deprived at the time.

Paulette wrote that after a fitful attempt at falling asleep one night, she decided to search for pickleball tips online. Naturally.

“This brought me to your pickleball limerick challenge, which probably caused me to stay up even later, but was much more enjoyable than snoring,” Paulette wrote me. “Here, then, is the nonsense I came up with.”

On the contrary, it wasn’t nonsense. But it was … um, er … different.

Among the four poems she sent was one that involved the deceased former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Margaret Thatcher. It’s safe to assume that this may be the first time in the history of Western Literature that The Iron Lady and pickleball have appeared in the same poetic space.

There once was a perpetual smasher
Who did something couldn’t be rasher
The ball he did bang
Into Maggie’s left ‘thang’
He learned not to mess with a Thatcher

Glen Geda wrote that he and his wife have had fun playing pickleball around the country. And his poems are derived from his experiences on the court.

If that’s the case, I hope you’ve recovered from this one, Glen:

The lob can be such a mean trick
But I turned and moved real quick
I did hit the ball,
Then my head hit the wall,
I wish that it wasn’t made of brick

OK, it’s time to announce the winners. And while it’s trite to say that all of you are winners, I will nonetheless say it. Anybody who writes a poem for the heck of it is taking the time to enjoy life.

If you don’t believe me, consider these words from the novelist Kurt Vonnegut:

“The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”

So, I hope you all got at least a smidgeon of that reward.

As promised, two of you will also get copies of my pickleball book, I Dink Therefore I Am: Coming to Grips with my Pickleball Addiction.

The first-place winner, who will receive one copy of the book, is Randy Hurwitz, a self-described “pickleholic” from Goodyear, Arizona, who dragged his wife and mother on the court.

Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket: The Pickler Limerick Challenge Wraps Up | Pickler Pickleball

“I could make up a ton of poems,” Randy wrote me, “but the court beckons.”

He did manage to carve out enough time to write this doozy:

There was a young lady from Brewster
Who dreamt Tyson had seduced her
She woke up to find
It was all in her mind
T’was a pickleball on her mattress that goosed ‘er.

On behalf of Tyson McGuffin, who couldn’t be here today, I’d like to congratulate you on this fitting achievement for a guy named Randy.

On to the second-place winner, who will get two copies of my book.

This award goes to Michele Brich, from Pierre, South Dakota.

Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket: The Pickler Limerick Challenge Wraps Up | Pickler Pickleball

Michele’s limerick was everything Randy’s poem was not. It was sincere, touching and wonderful in a completely different way. It was personal.

There once was a beginner, Michele
Who started as a banger from hell
Though she’s practicing dinks
Her game still stinks
But her goal is to someday play well

We’re rooting for you, Michele. You’re going to get there.


Read past editions of Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket, including:

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!

I Dink, Therefore I Am | Frank Cerabino


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