PIckleball Problems!

Who knew!  One of my new favorite sports, pickleball, is making news, and it seems some have a vendetta against it. If you are not aware, pickleball is a hybrid between ping pong, badminton, and tennis. The court is larger than a ping pong table but smaller than a tennis court, and you use wood, plastic, or fiberglass paddles with what is basically a wiffle ball. Our family has been hooked for a couple of years, bought the equipment, and we love to get out on nice Indiana evenings and play a few games. The sport, which until recently had been a niche, began to gain momentum around 2020 with an estimated four million players. It has exploded with new estimates suggesting that over 23 million people are playing pickleball, a 150% increase in three years. If you’re a player, this explains why it’s become so difficult to find a court! But some of the news of late is not good, there are those who are right down irate about pickleball.

First, I was reading a report on noise pollution and how it is increasing in major cities and suburbs. Reading the list of noise complaints, I wasn’t surprised by the obvious factors, noises such as loud neighbors, barking dogs, and car alarms. It also listed the volume of traffic and accidents, but then came this, the number of outdoor pickleball courts and players. I was shocked! Pickleball, a noise pollution issue? It is a problem, and some people are seriously annoyed. The internet is filled with articles with people fuming and groups with disdain for pickleball. Communities are writing ordinances, neighborhood HOA’s are setting policies, and there are loads of websites suggesting how to curb the noise created by pickle ballers. They want noiseless pickleballs, carbon fiber or padded paddles, sound panels around the courts, and restricted pickleball hours. These people are serious, and they are radically charged about stopping pickleball noise.

The second issue, and one that is a bit disturbing if you are a pickleball player, has to do with the healthcare industry. It seems that pickleball injuries are creating an extraordinary amount of financial drain on insurance companies. One company, United Health, recently reported a higher-than-expected frequency of hip replacements, knee surgeries, and other procedures and believes many injuries are due to pickleball. One company is projecting that pickleball injuries are going to cost healthcare companies between 250 and 500 million dollars in 2023 alone. I am afraid they won’t let this continue. Can you see it coming? Name, address, email, do you smoke, do you drink, and do you play pickleball? Oh, you play pickleball, there will be a 25% fee added to your policy.

I say enjoy the sport. Exercise is good, good for the body and good for the mind. Being with friends and family, having fun and laughing, is as good as the exercise. If you don’t play, pick up some paddles, a couple of pickleballs, and get to a court. Do so wisely and considerately. Warm up, stretch before you play and if you play in an area where there is housing, be thoughtful. Finally, be watchful of trash talkers, most often they’re all bluff with no stuff, and watch out for ambidextrous players, they change the way you play the game.



For some reason for most of my life I have been on the receiving end of pranks. Here are just a few, and believe me, this is just a sampling of some of the stunts that have been pulled on me.

In seminary, I was the student body vice president, and while setting a vision casting message in chapel, I suddenly began to hear voices, gathering my wits and trying to figure out where they were coming from, I stepped back from the podium to see a walkie talkie on the stand. In the audience was my “best friend” with the other walkie talkie, critiquing me and cracking jokes as I spoke. 

One day during our pastorate I hopped into my car to the foulest smell. It was summer and the stench was somewhere between that of limburger cheese and spoiled garbage. I search for days for the source, with no success. On one particular Sunday when I had to pick up a guest speaker the smell was so bad that I went through a car wash and asked for extra scent to mask the smell. I picked up my guest, made it to church, but when we came out after service, I realized I was in trouble. I borrowed a car, made it through the afternoon, and the next day once again began the search for the source. It was a few days later, after leaving a hospital call, that I found the problem. My brother-in-law had taken one of his daughters’ dirty diapers and stuffed it up under my seat. 

On another occasion, not to be outdone by her uncle, my daughter Risa, who’s foot odor could be used as a weapon of mass destruction, once stuffed her dirty socks inside my pillowcase. The first night I must have been too tired to care but by the second night I was once again on the prowl for the source of the stink. The smell was nauseating and the more I sniffed for the source the worse it got. When I found her socks in the pillowcase, not only did I have to wash the pillowcase, but the pillow too. The latest stunt is still an ongoing mystery. One of my favorite things about our current home is that it backs up to a golf course. After a long day, I love to walk through the woods and gather lost golf balls. Last week I was excited to get out after Memorial Day when the weekend golfers had played. As I was retrieving golf balls, I noticed that I had found several of them that looked the same, seemed odd, but I didn’t have my glasses on, so I wasn’t able to discern the logo. The next day our kids came over for the evening and were looking at my haul. I should have known that something was up because rarely are they interested in my discoveries, but as they surveyed my treasures, Gentry remarked, “hey dad, look at this one.” The golf balls that had looked curiously similar were golf balls with my face on them, and not only my face, but personalized with my name too. I still don’t know who the prankster is, I have my list of suspects, but I did surmise my kids were in on the prank. I have questions. First, who’s mind is this demented? Second, who chose the horrific picture? Third, who has time to think of this kind of prank. Fourth, who came out and shanked golf balls in the woods and when? And finally, did they hit more than the six golf balls I found?

As usual there is a life lesson in all this. Like the pranksters in my life, you will always have adversaries and situations in your life. Their goal? To get you out of rhythm, to continually attempt to distract you from your purpose, and to create chaos in your life. While you can’t stop these attacks and distractions, you do have a choice in how you respond. You can become angry. You can give up. You can become bitter. Or learn to take them head on. Laugh them off, learn from them, and move on. Perspective is important in life, and when it comes to pranks, I view them as a sign that someone loves me, the pranksters know I can take their shenanigans and they know that I will laugh it off.  I also love that I can be the object that causes someone to laugh, that I can make someone else’s day a little lighter. Plus, they’ve made for some incredible illustrations and gave me some great stories to tell.Just for kids, vote for your favorite prank pulled on me and share a favorite pulled on you!

Celebrate Life

Evidently God likes to celebrate. We don’t get too far into the Bible before God gives Moses his Law. While much attention is put on the negative elements of the Law, there was also some good aspects. That includes the Feast, or celebrations, that God called for each year. The major purpose of these Feast was to remember and give thanks to God for all He had done, and to bring people together. The Passover Feast was to remember and celebrate God bringing people out of bondage, and the Feast of Pentecost was to remind them to celebrate God’s holiness and power. But it’s the third Feast, the Feast of Booths, that I draw your attention to. This celebration took place in the fall and was a time of giving thanks for a good harvest, recognizing God as their provider, and celebrating the goodness of life. People basically camped out, ate good food, listened to music, and partied for seven days. It was open, not only to the people of Israel, but to all people who trusted in God. It was a festival where God wanted people to enjoy His blessings. I love that! Too often we lose focus on the goodness of God and great blessings of life. We allow social media and doomsday broadcasters to control our emotions and thoughts. We forget to look around at all the good, the good people God has put in our lives, and the blessings that we do enjoy. Today, our Chili Cook-Off is our Feast of Booths. It’s a moment to celebrate life, to celebrate the friendships we have, and to make new memories. It’s a time to reminisce, laugh and make new friends. So today, eat more chili than you should, trash talk more than you can live up to and make your circle bigger than normal. Celebrate life with your Life Community and remember, the best is yet to come!