“I’m bored, there’s nothing to do.” That whiny lament has been heard by parents everywhere, but back in the summer of 1985, little did three dads know that inventing a game in order to entertain their bored children would create a world phenomenon known as Pickleball.
A cross between badminton, table tennis and tennis, this is how Pickleball originated. The smaller court meant less running and helped to make the game so popular. With 37 countries now members of the International Pickleball Federation, it is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. with over 2 million players.
Was the game named after one of the family dogs? Did one of the wives liken the combination of different sports to the pickle boat in crew where oarsman are chosen from leftovers of other boats? Though accounts of how the name originated differ, it is agreed no actual pickles are involved in the playing of the game.
It’s safe to say there will be no golden pickles in my future. According to the official Pickleball dictionary, this is when you win a game on your first serve, never giving the opposing team the chance to serve.
Unfortunately, my clumsiness prevents me from participating. I don’t say that to hear I should just give it a try or with practice, I could become a good player. I know my limitations and awkwardness is just something that has always accompanied me through life.
Years ago when I first met my new boss, who happened to be Mr. Wiz,* I tripped over my own feet as we strolled down New York City’s Fifth Avenue. As I lay there on my stomach in my new suit and matching heels, a crowd formed around us as he helped me up. I tried to brush it off as I brushed myself off, quickly cleaning the blood off my knees with my saliva and trying to turn the rips in my hose off to one side.
The next day, the rain did not deter us and I was feeling great in my new matching raincoat and hat. I was impressed Mr. Wiz wanted to stop in at one of those ritzy Madison Avenue jewelry stores where ringing the bell lets you in and I felt so elegant as we entered. Then, when I looked down, the water that had gathered on the brim of my hat hit the jewelry case and all the security alarms in the store started to screech. As we were quickly escorted back out to the street by the security guards, all I could think to say was “Lunch?”
Preparing to regally walk down the staircase from my bedroom for a first date and then falling, tripping in my garden and on to all the plants; these are just reminders I’m right when I say I have two left feet.
Luckily, it’s all worked out for me. I focus on what I can do, rather than what I can’t and when I ever do misstep, I know Mr. Wiz is always there with a loving smile and a strong arm to lift me up and remind me it’s not about the trip, but about the journey.
*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page.
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