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. Its 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 womens 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
Why dont 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 didnt limit their rude
behavior to the soccer moms. They routinely body
shamed anyone with any excess weight.
Look at this one Barry. Hes 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 didnt 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 dont change on their
A tournament was arranged, eight teams of men and
eight teams of women. Carol and Susan easily won
the womens bracket, and unfortunately, Jack
and Barry won the mens side.
Why dont we play the girl winners for
an overall champion?, said Jack.
Carol glanced at Susan. Sorry boys, youre
a little too strong for us.
All right, you can go back home and clean
Susan had enough. All right, lets
play in 30 minutes.
Carol and Susan warmed up
for the match. Jack and Barry looked around for
their water bottles, but couldnt 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.
Thats one for civilized behavior
Another one bites the dust Cate.