To the Pickleball Bros (at the public courts last Thursday)

Dear Picklers. Or P-ballers. What is it you call yourselves?

A few polite requests from your tennis-playing neighbors regarding on-court etiquette.

1. It is customary to wait until the point is finished before passing behind players on another court. Walking through your neighbors’ court, mid-point, with your rolling net in tow would generally be considered rude.

2. When returning a stray ball to another court, it is polite to lob or roll or lightly hit said ball. Full-wind-up throws and aiming for your neighbor’s “pie hole” are generally discouraged. As are comments about tennis players “loving hairy balls.”

3. Since we’re on the matter of language… We understand the occasional outburst of profanity. We’re prone to it ourselves. We try, however, to limit ourselves to the standard lexicon of curses: shit, fuck, asshole, etc. The following expletives, on the other hand, should be avoided: “cock-stomper,” “corpsefucker,” “jizz-wizard,” “pube-tugger,” “cum-sniffer,” “nut-juggler,” and “Hitler-dick.”

4. While victory dances aren’t typical amongst tennis players, we’re not entirely opposed. That said, fellating the grip of your paddle while fondling its imaginary testicles would, by even lax standards, be considered unsportsmanlike. 

5. Given that your sport is a mix between Ping-Pong and schoolyard four square played with a borderline sex toy, excessive grunting should be avoided.

6. Given that your congratulatory handshakes and high fives often become congratulatory leg humping, ass slapping, and/or groin thrusting excessive grunting should be avoided

7. Vaping on-court should be kept to a minimum. Smoking, as well. In the rare circumstances when this is not possible, acceptable options for paraphernalia disposal do not include flicking your butts and used cartridges into your neighbor’s service box.

8. Acceptable on-court beverages include juice, water, energy drinks, coconut water, and even the occasional discreet beer. That said, “shotgunning” canned alcoholic beverages is discouraged and no, this violation is not nullified by inviting us to join.

9. Discarded bags of dog feces have not, despite your insistence, been left to spice up your game with “landmines.”

10. Urinating on the court is strongly discouraged and urinating through the fence should be reserved for only the most dire bathroom emergencies. Likewise, urinating into your empty Four Loko cans and “piss-bombing” your tennis-playing neighbors may seem a humorous prank but should be restricted to its theoretical phase.

Again, we would like to express that we are perfectly happy sharing the courts with you. And we will embrace this racket/paddle future to the best of our abilities. We appreciate you taking the time to consider our requests and look forward to seeing you on the courts again following your release.

Until then, best wishes.

Tennis Players ❏

Ed Cole is a fiction writer and part-time cartoonist. He lives in Portland, ME where he is at work finishing his first novel. 

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