I always wanted to play Pickleball which is the worlds fastest growing sport. Would I be embarrassed? Would I be good enough? Am I too old to learn? My friend Billy Ray said it’s easy to play, but he always gets beaten by 20-something’s. I didn’t need to know how to play; I had an idea. I would go to the lake and practice before school began again.
Then a guy in my neighborhood was struggling to learn he said, but he, being short and without hand eye coordination, felt it was hopeless. He had been shown many times, but couldn’t do it. He was to play that Saturday with his wife. I told him how foolish he was thinking he couldn’t do it. The guy said he would like for me to teach him, and, to my surprise, his wife would like to. I said I would.
Mary, his wife, was about half his size. She seemed pretty strong, though in reality she wasn’t. The chair she sat on wasn’t buckled down. I explained how the name came about, but Mary wouldn’t sit on a chair; she just sat on the grass. I didn’t think she would be any good, but I was wrong. She took to it. Mary and Ray played several games a week, but she could have been better if she had learned the rules. I explained the rules.
What do I wear? I wore just my athletic shoes, shorts and t-shirt. I made Mary, wear cover-ups, and she wore a bathing suit. A bathing suit? I told her she would need more than that to play. I made Billy Ray wear a shirt; he begged not to. I wanted to wear a cycling shirt but didn’t. Mary also asked to wear a bike shirt. I said I thought it was “Cheap”. This was to be an expensive deal for them, I asked them if they had balls. They said yes. I shook my head in disgust but obliged.
I told Billy to grab a ball and I handed one to Mary. “Okay people, we are going to play basket ball and then we are going to play ping-pong. She thought that was a good idea. To her I said, “To Win you have to score more points than your opponent.” I beat them both, but it wasn’t close. Never underestimate the power of the cheap shot. Give them nothing. Then I said, “On to pickle-ball, now!”
Mary, had an idea for a French name. She called it “Pickle-ball”, I said “It isn’t French.” She retreated and we would now call the game “Pickleball”. I told them the rules were simple. “It is a cross between tennis and badminton played on a court with a net. I would teach them how to serve, and she scored her first point.
She kept the serve and scored again. I stopped the game. “No Sorry! you are not allowed to keep the serve.” She didn’t understand, so I had her put the ball on the table and hit the ball over the net without serving. Then she got it. I told her he would be the server. I put the test on her husband, he was terrible.
Because of the confusion we had to read the rules again. “When your opponent serves you will place the ball in the center of the table.” “After the first serve the next player will have two ways to win.” “The first; If the serve doesn’t make it over the net it is called a service fault and your opponent scores a point.” The second way is to send the ball over the net any way you want to.”
“Score a point for sending the ball over the net. That covers how to win.” “Except this is going to be a combination of ping-pong and badminton: One person serves, then the other two serve in a rotation.” “On the first serve you have one try, if you miss it, the other person serves” “You must be able to hit the ball over the net with two strikes.”
“For the first two servers, no badminton; you can hit the net or spike the ball as long as it goes over the net.” “Then the last person continues to serve until someone makes an error.” “If you have a ball in your hand at the time of the error you score a point.” So I demonstrated the play. I put it on Mary.
I told Billy to line up his paddle and I tossed the ball up softly, he missed it. I would make it easy for them. “You see Billy, there are ways of scoring points.” “You can spike the ball over the net.” “Or you can hit the ball and it still stays up; like when I spiked it into the air then you came to the net and kept the ball going up.” “When you hit the ball like that and you go to the net to keep it going up you score a point.”
“So here’s how we are going to play this game. What we do is put the ball in the center of the table, and whoever serves serves first.” “We are going to play it in teams.” “My job is to help them with strategy.” “There is only one strategy in this game, To win the point you have to hit the ball over the net.”
“We will mark out the court, there is a line in the back of the court is the back line, the front line is the service line.” ‘When you are on the back line I will tell you to serve.” “Lisa, your job is simple.” “When I say serve you are to serve