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Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket: Silence Is… Not My Style

Murmurs from the Losers' Bracket Frank Cerabino 06-26-2023

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.”

Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket: Silence Is… Not My Style | Pickler Pickleball

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.


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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