Since experts insist that once you’re over 50 you must, “Keep, learning something new,” I took up Pickle ball last week. Well, let me re-phrase that; I have only played two games. Since there is only one court at the Y, and usually a dozen, avid players, one has to sign in and wait.
As I picked out a wooden paddle and watched the proceedings, three older (and I mean older) men came up to me. Each said one sentence apiece:
“Hi. I’m Dave. Does your husband play?”
“No,” I replied. He abruptly walked off.
“Hey, my name’s Joe, I just wanted you to know that we only have one rule here.”
“What’s that?” I asked hopefully.
“Spouses are not allowed to play together.”
The third guy didn’t even tell me his name. He just walked up and said, “Are you married?”
“Yes,” I smiled, “very.”
Perhaps it is not a game of social graces. Although, my first partner was British and arrived in dress whites with an ascot around his neck. He immediately chose the server position and for the next 10 minutes constantly told me where to stand, how to hit, and what I was doing wrong. He also made most of our errors. We lost, 11-5. At the end, he said, “Not bahhd . . .for your fuhst time.”
If you’re thinking this sounds like too much fun, I should add that Pickle ballers are highly opinionated, despite the fact that most of them can barely move at all. As a tennis player, I felt that I had an advantage. Apparently not.
During my 2nd game ever, EVERY time I hit the ball, some guy yelled at me from the bench:
“Don’t take such a wide swing!”
“Don’t power the ball. It’s all in your wrist. Keep your wrist loose.”
“No, no, no, the ball has to bounce first before you hit it!”
Finally, he screamed: “Don’t go into the kitchen!!!”
At that point, I thought he was insulting my cooking. Apparently, ‘the kitchen’ is the narrow rectangular area closest to the net. One toe over that line disqualifies your point.
So here’s the kicker; my partner was 85 and we won 11-7 against an established team. Their reply? “Well, it’s probably just because you’re both tennis players.”
I’ve decided to invent my own sport; Whiffle toe.There are no rules and no one yells at you. It might catch on.