Pickleball: Some Reasons for Concern

America’s fastest growing sport has troubling origins

Paul Greenberg

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Photo by Aleksander Saks on Unsplash

For the last two years pickleball has been gaining momentum, rising to surpass even frisbee as a pastime of choice for many Americans. As more and more “ballers” swell pickle’s ranks societal norms have been tested with the sport’s irritating noises jarring nerves during nights and setting up turf battles with tennis players during daylight hours.

But much more disturbing, new research has come to light revealing troubling origins and serious consequences connected to the nascent sport. Though this research has yet to be peer reviewed it’s important in these early phases to identify public health concerns derived from the meta-analysis of over 14,000 pickleball studies before pickleball puts down permanent roots in the American recreational community.

Here then are some key findings:

  • A pickleball is actually a Wiffle Ball.
  • A pickleball racquet is in fact a spare part originating from a waffle iron.
  • Pickleball was invented by the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency as a method for undermining American physical fitness.
  • In a related finding more calories are often burned getting to pickleball than playing pickleball.
  • Pickleball may at times be deployed as a discussion topic to fill gaps in boring or halting conversation. Though initial results suggested a less-boring conversation quotient of P ≤ 0.05 , the comprehensive findings of the meta-analysis revealed that the resulting pickleball conversation is typically more boring than the boring conversation it supplanted by a factor of 7.
  • When playing pickleball, pickleball players are often invited to merge their pickleball game with the game of another pickleball pair thus creating dangerous opportunities for even more boring and awkward conversations.
  • While pickleball is considered to be socially distant enough to be COVID safe, the study indicated that during merged pickleball games, snarky asides often precipitated spittle exchanges which could lead to higher infection rates should pickleball game-merging become common practice.
  • There is at least one more statistically significant way to derive pleasure from a rapid up-and-down wrist motion.
  • Pickleball is being considered as a future Olympic sport, raising the specter of the Olympics becoming entirely irrelevant.
  • Pickleball tends to remind people of actual pickles which can lead to unproductive analyses of sweetness, sourness and relish.
  • Your great aunt can beat you at pickleball.
  • Pickleball can be played anywhere.
  • Anyone can play pickleball.

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Paul Greenberg

New York Times bestselling author of Four Fish as well as The Climate Diet and Goodbye Phone, Hello World paulgreenberg.org