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Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket: Zen and the Art of Pickleball Maintenance

Murmurs from the Losers' Bracket Frank Cerabino 11-14-2022

As you might imagine, we here at Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket often have to process defeat on the pickleball court.

To be quite candid, there have been countless times when we have paddle-tapped while saying “Good game” at the conclusion of sound defeats that were not, by any stretch of the imagination, good games.

And yet, we persist. How do we do it? How do we cheerfully set ourselves up for another whooping at the hands of sandbaggers who claim to be 4.0, but are clearly at least 4.5’s, and eager to dispatch us with the ruthless efficiency of Seal Team Six?

The answer in two words: Zen Buddhism.

Well, not quite unadulterated Zen Buddhism, but a pickleball version of it that we here at Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket have adopted. (*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).

If you plan to nama-stay on the pickleball court through thick and thin, here are some Zen words to live by with their appropriate pickleball modifications.


Zen wisdom: “Guilt, regret, resentment, sadness and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past and not enough presence.”

Zen pickleball modification: … so there’s no point in throwing your paddle after missing that easy put-away.


Zen wisdom: “Things derive their being and nature by mutual dependence and are nothing in themselves.”

Zen pickleball modification: … so let’s play doubles.


Zen wisdom: Wherever you are, be there totally.”

Zen pickleball modification: … because if any part of you lands in the NVZ after a volley, it’s a fault.


Zen wisdom: We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.

Zen pickleball modification: … so, while I did hit that last ball out, partner, it was your fault too for allowing the rally to come to me. So, wipe that look off your face.


Zen wisdom: “Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.”

Zen pickleball modification: … the ultimate way to lose if what you are doing is popping the ball up.


Zen wisdom: “The Buddha talked about saving all beings from delusion, not converting them to a new religion.”

Zen pickleball modification: …so that new $250 paddle is not going to help.


Zen wisdom: Power over others is weakness disguised as strength.”

Zen pickleball modification: … and yet bangers still beat me.


Zen wisdom: Not thinking about anything is Zen.”

Zen pickleball modification: … so, please, don’t ask me the score.


Zen wisdom: You’re never given more pain than you can handle. You never, ever get more than you can take.”

Zen pickleball modification:  … but if it’s your sciatic nerve, do yourself a favor and take a few days off.


Zen wisdom: The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.”

Zen pickleball modification:  … This is what happens when there aren’t enough pickleball courts.


Zen wisdom: Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.”

Zen pickleball modification: … but if it rains on the court, look for a squeegee to get rid of those puddles.


Zen wisdom: “When I feel like dancing, I dance. I don’t care if anyone else is dancing or if everyone else is laughing at me. I dance.”

Zen pickleball modification: … That being said, if you bring a boom box, don’t imagine that everyone in the surrounding courts wants to listen to ABBA, Fleetwood Mac and George Michael while you dance.


Zen wisdom: “Have good trust in yourself, not in the one that you think you should be, but in the one that you are.”

Zen pickleball modification: … then emotionally prepare yourself to be out of the tournament after three games.


Zen wisdom: “I don’t let go of concepts. I meet them with understanding. Then they let go of me.”

Zen pickleball modification: So, don’t keep telling me to move up, partner.


Zen wisdom: Do not seek the truth, only cease to cherish your opinions.”

Zen pickleball modification: … but if you ask me, the ball was (in/out).


Zen wisdom: No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place.”

Zen pickleball modification: … This cannot be said for my third-shot drops.


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

Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket: The PPA, the APP and Monty Python | Pickler Pickleball

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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