Peace Through Pickleball

Last year I submitted the following article and it appeared I was being opportunistic and it was not published. I had actually been working on it for some time so it was just a coincidence that I submitted it the week before all the news about North Korea. Now all of the noise has dimmed, it really doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, so I thought I would post it.

I have been involved in sports my entire life and don’t think I have ever met a more congenial group than the pickleball crowd.  Initially I thought it might be because like ou we were all recently relocated to coastal and resort communities, and were on best behavior as we met new people.  But it has continued long after the initial bloom.  

Some fellow named Kim in North Korea has been rattling his sword and claiming he wants to vaporize one of our cities.  And he has the backing of some Chinese fellow who could vaporize our entire country if we didn’t owe him so much money.  No offense intended, but it seems the bureaucrats responsible for smooth sailing with these characters have been flailing away for decades.  

Which gave me an idea to save the world, or at least get us out of this current pickle.  I am proposing that President Trump send our Ocean View Crew Pickleball Club to North Korea and teach Kim how to play pickleball.  Like everyone who takes their first lesson, he will love it, and once he gets hooked on the game, he obviously will lose interest in vaporizing any city that has pickleball courts. An additional benefit is that he might begin to grow cucumbers in his pickleball kitchen and start to feed his people.   

Since we only use first names in pickleball, it might even be humorous since Kim has the same name as his sister, and in English the Chinese leader’s name is pronounced She.  Perhaps the introduction might go like this.  “Hello Kim, I am the Baron.” The sister Kim might respond, “Well Baron, I am the Kim-she, and my brother is the Kim-he, and our Chinese friend here is She-he, so we will call you Baron with the bad Knee.”  My response would likely be, “Thank you Kim She, I do have a bad knee, but I brought the entire Ocean View Crew with me.”  

We would give them the standard one hour beginner’s clinic, and if it is like every other pickleball encounter, they will want to play again the following day, and the day after that.  Meanwhile, their internal military meetings to discuss next steps in nuclear bomb development will be postponed day after day while we entertain Kim-he, Kim-she, She-he, and me. Even better than me, maybe I should substitute President Trump, at six foot three inches he won’t even need to jump.  

I would happily umpire the first ever ‘Peace Thru Pickleball’ match.  From the pickleball No-Volley-Zone, NVZ, ( I hesitate to use the word kitchen around so many starving people), I might make the introductions. “Ladies and Gentlemen. This doubles pickleball match will be the best two out of three games between the teams of Kim-he & Kim-she versus She-he & Trump-he. The team of Kim won the toss and have elected to serve, as the press and military officials from the observation tower can observe.”

Before the match, I might tweet some quiet pickleball advice to President Trump. “You probably don’t want to lob the five foot seven inch Kim-he who weighs three hundred pounds and might be embarrassed that he can’t get airborne to hit the lob.”  Then I might send another tweet.  “On second thought, you should lob Kim-he periodically so he considers diverting his military rocket technology to getting his large solid frame airborne to intercept lobs.”  

Meanwhile, the military officers, the press, and the 24 hour news channels in the observation tower in the DMZ would all have their binoculars and television cameras focused towards our NVZ watching the pickleball match.  No doubt some of the fake news folks might be disappointed when they see the leaders with nothing but smiling faces as they romp around the pickleball court.  A Howard Cosell type from ESPN would report the ‘Peace Thru Pickleball’ Match live.  It might sound like this.  ”Suddenly, there is an unexpected lob from She-he over Kim-he’s head …and now the enthusiastic young Kim-he fires off another rocket to get enough lift to intercept the lob….. Kim-he successfully intercepts the lob and slams a muscled overhead toward Trump-he’s feet releasing (hopefully) pent-up tension …. but She-he backs up Trump-he and hits a perfect drive between Kim-he and Kim-she….Trump-he and She-he exchange high fives and then do a hip bump … but golly gee,  the agile Kim-she chases down the pickleball and drops it back over for a winner …..”

Peace through pickleball sounds like a great plan with little downside and tremendous upside. And maybe, just maybe, a war denied!  Instead of threatening bombs that erase, we propose a fun game that we all can embrace.

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