The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

Death by Pickleball
by Jerry Guarino

Knock, knock, knock. The slow staccato beat, like popcorn popping or drunk woodpeckers is unlike any sport. It can only be pickleball, that ubiquitous activity of the 21st century. But all is not lightness and romance. No, pickleball attracts two kinds of players, genteel ladies and gentlemen out for exercise and friendship and vicious, ex-military, right wing types who live to destroy. Light versus dark. Good versus Evil.

Our story begins at the YMCA, in an upper-class harbor town of the Northwest. It’s the central meeting place for pickleball players, some well-heeled and some interlopers. A large basketball court was converted to four pickleball courts, sixteen people playing at a time, with others waiting to play the winners.

The best women’s team, Carol and Susan, two soccer moms, were playing against their daughters, Heather and Cate. Next to them were the meanest of bullies, Jack and Barry. They took their pleasure on humiliating and hurting their opponents.

“Why don’t you girls get us some drinks while we do some cooking with your moms?” Repulsive as the suggestion was, Carol and Susan ignored them. The teenage girls left in a huff, unable to hide their disdain.

Jack and Barry didn’t limit their rude behavior to the soccer moms. They routinely body shamed anyone with any excess weight.

“Look at this one Barry. He’s training for the couch potato Olympics.”

“And this one Jack. His glasses are so thick, he can barely find the court.”

The administrators knew Jack and Barry were trouble, but others never filed a formal complaint. The genteel members didn’t want to chance running into them in the parking lot, especially at night.

On the court, Jack and Barry were particularly loathsome. They hit back the ball as hard as they could, often at their opponents. More than one person had to get first aid from a whipped pickleball in the leg or stomach. They were warned, but bullies don’t change on their own.

A tournament was arranged, eight teams of men and eight teams of women. Carol and Susan easily won the women’s bracket, and unfortunately, Jack and Barry won the men’s side.

“Why don’t we play the girl winners for an overall champion?”, said Jack.

Carol glanced at Susan. “Sorry boys, you’re a little too strong for us.”

“All right, you can go back home and clean the house.”

Susan had enough. “All right, let’s play in 30 minutes.”


Carol and Susan warmed up for the match. Jack and Barry looked around for their water bottles, but couldn’t find them.

Heather and Cate arrived with their bottles.

“Here you go boys. Good luck.”

In typical macho fashion, Jack and Barry downed their entire bottle in a few gulps, then grunted their way onto the court to dispatch the women.

Suddenly, the men collapsed, writhing in pain. The EMTs were called and the men were transported to the hospital.

The soccer moms were awarded the championship, as their daughters stood and cheered. The daughters high fived their Gatorade bottles.

“That’s one for civilized behavior Heather.”

“Another one bites the dust Cate.”