Pickler's Paradox By Dave Schwartz
The great pickleball rally started with blistering spin serve answered with a long slow return just inside the baseline followed devastating third shot drop resulting in a fantastic get/dink followed by a cross-court dink which was dinked back over the net. Then dink, dink, dink. Finally, someone someone pops it up too high. Smash! Returned. Smash! Returned again. Lightning reflexes and amazing finesse on full display by all 4 players The rally goes on and on. Finally, a beautiful lob just inside the back corner is lobbed back too short. Head high at the kitchen line, half the opponents’ court uncovered. It’s a gift. Smash!…. Straight into the net! We’ve all been there in some variation. A great rally is ended by a colossal flub. Sometimes the easiest shots are the hardest. To me, hat’s the Pickleball paradox.
A few years ago when I first found out that Pickleball was being played in Kenora, my reaction was, “Pickleball! The game must really suck to deserve a name like that.” Eventually, curiosity got the best of me. Not wanting to show up unprepared, I went downtown and bought myself the cheapest wooden racquet available and showed up ready to play. When I stepped onto the court one of the club organizers ripped the racquet out of my hands, saying something to the tune of, “You can’t play with that” and replaced it with a more modern snazzy ball-whacker reputed to be able to go out and play all by itself if only the rules would allow it.
Properly shamed, I headed for my favourite source of mediocre stuff and purchased a Head Extreme Elite… a hyperbolic title for the cheapest paddle that I figured wouldn’t get ripped out of my hands. Maybe if I fell off my wallet and shelled out the big bucks for the latest in miracle titanium-coated graphite, spidy-silk, proprietary miracle-goo embedded paddle with flex system technology, I might make the occasional better shot.
On the other hand, I have never been able to blame my paddle for a missed shot, although a good excuse would have been warmly welcomed on far too many disastrous flubs. Disaster takes on a whole new meaning in pickleball. The worse the screw-up, the louder the laughter!
I can’t say enough good things about the Kenora Pickleball Club. They welcome drop-ins at any of their open play sessions. Just show up and you will soon be out on the court regardless of your experience. The club has sessions for lessons and skill development as well as advanced play, They also host ladder play in which players are ranked and compete with others of similar ability. The club’s open and competitive play sessions use an ingenious player rotation system which gets everyone involved, playing with different partners, meeting new people and having great chats when its your turn to sit out. Thanks to the people who work hard to make it all happen.