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Should Pickleball Crowds Be Quiet?

News Stacie Townsend 08-17-2020

Although sporting events have returned, the fan experience for baseball, basketball, soccer, and other sporting events is certainly not the same without the live crowd. Crowds that inject roars and cheers for their team, and even the occasional jeer (in good fun) to the opposing team, are what help build intensity and excitement and send electricity ripping through the sports stadium. Without the rowdy fans in the stadium, the viewing experience is awfully silent (and the ability to “people watch” is certainly sorely missed), despite broadcasters efforts to pack stadiums with cardboard cutouts and to even pump fake crowd noises into the empty stadiums. 

With that said, not all sports experience the constant roar of fans. Some sports, like golf and tennis, shush fans during play, as chair umpires and organizers exclaim, “Quiet please.” This culture of silence stems from golf’s and tennis’ long tenure and historical beginnings. Golf originated in the 15th century as a “gentlemen’s game” that valued etiquette, respect, and silence in all backswings, while tennis, which began in the 12th century, was reserved for the very few people of affluence – kings, queens, and other aristocrats. Tennis did not originate as a sport for the public, which would have led to large groups of boisterous fans (with some encouraged on by drink). As a result of these historic beginnings, the silence in golf and tennis stands in strong contrast to the shouts of baseball fans to distract a pitcher or the waving arms, balloons, and other shenanigans to distract a basketball player during a free throw or soccer player during a free kick. 

Regardless of the Coronavirus putting a stop on spectators for pickleball, pickleball seems to be following tennis and golf, where silence is the norm during rallies and play. Should the sport of pickleball continue down this path, encouraging silence from all fans during all rallies and play? Or, should the sport of pickleball follow sports like football, baseball, basketball, and soccer, which encourage cheering, yelling, dancing, and even some banter at all times? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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