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Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket: When Discussions of the Rules Turn Unruly

Murmurs from the Losers' Bracket Frank Cerabino 09-19-2022

We here at Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket are often talking about the rules of the game. 

Like most pickleball players, we are more than happy to jump at the chance to discuss the rules of the game, especially to players on the next court in situations where they don’t ask for advice.

This ought to be codified as a written rule of the game. Call it The Unsolicited Advice Rule.

Rule 4.Q.5: “A player shall offer unsolicited guidance on a rule to players on the next court so long as that advice is delivered with certainty, whether or not it is correct.
Players receiving this advice, shall say “Thank you,” but then do whatever they planned to do before the advice was offered.
If the players receiving the advice say, “Mind your own beeswax” or words to that effect, players on both courts will take a five-minute break to discuss either calming frayed nerves or “taking it out to the parking lot.”

You know what I’m talking about. For example, you just can’t help observing that a rally on the next court is continuing after the ball strikes the post.

So, naturally, you make them stop play and tell them that it’s a fault to hit the post, and the team that did it lost the rally at that point.

Or maybe the server on the next court is announcing the score after striking the ball or hitting the serve with an illegal sidearm motion that appears to be below the navel. Or that player’s teammate violates the double-bounce rule on the return from the receiving team. 

Once again, you stop play on the next court to correct them. (See my Rule 4.Q.5)

You’re welcome.

Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket: When Discussions of the Rules Turn Unruly | Pickler Pickleball

Speaking of rules, we here at MFTLB suspect that there may already exist some secret rule that is being followed by people who post comments or questions on pickleball social media groups.

We have noticed that it is apparently a rule that on every pickleball website, that on a regular basis, a poster will profess to be confused as to when he or she is allowed to stand in the kitchen.

This can also take the form of the poster pretending to have a disagreement with another player over the non-volley zone rules.

As per this secret rule, the first responder to this call for help will give the wrong answer, by writing something like, “You can only set foot in the kitchen once the ball bounces in it.”

And then this will be followed by at least 150 uncivil responses about how that’s the wrong answer. Some of these responses will also draw petulant addendums from others who point out the missing discussion of the momentum scenario, which will then lead to more disagreement as to when that momentum becomes moot.

This will take a day or two to play out. Once that thread subsides, another poster will come along and innocently ask a version of this same question, and the cycle will repeat itself.

We’re not sure why this happens, but we have a hunch that this must be the way many pickleball players amuse themselves when the courts are unplayable due to bad weather.   


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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