The Light at the End of the ‘No Pickleball’ Tunnel

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BY – Denny The Leaf-blower

The last three weeks have been the most boring weeks of my life.

As of today, April 15, I had been looking forward to playing pickleball again – at least that was my light at the end of the #StayHomeStaySafe, ‘No Pickleball’ Tunnel. 

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Now we are looking at May 1 … or maybe even longer. 


And I was being such a good little citizen.  

To borrow from a popular phrase, today was the light at the end of my ‘No Pickleball’ Tunnel, but the light turned out to be a Coronavirus locomotive.

It’s possibly a pessimistic and selfish view, but a sadly appropriate descriptive of the 2020 Coronavirus epidemic.

Over the last three weeks my friends have been sending me these Temptation Texts, you know the ones:  

“Come on buddy.  It will be just the four of us and we will maintain six feet of distance.”  

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My inner dialogue warned “Could this be … Satan?!” (Yes, my moral compass is heavily influenced by a famous Saturday Night Live character – the Church Lady, and I find her famous refrain “Could it be… Satan?” frequently rattles through my pickled brain.)

Yesterday, one of my closest Pickle-Head friends told me of a local group of players who were certain they could stay immune by wearing gloves, while each player only touched the ball they carried.  

I guess in theory it could work. But I also wondered how many of the world’s Coronavirus cases thought they were being equally careful in their activities.

As of January 2020, I’m officially retired.  Over the previous three years, I longed for the day when my toughest daily decision would be choosing between skiing or playing pickleball.  

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I’m glad to say pickleball has won on most days.

Prior to January, I had been playing mostly in the evenings, after work and had developed wonderful friendships with a number of fellow Pickle-Heads.  

As I began playing in the mornings, I explored new relationships and new Pickle-Friends were made.  

While I love the game itself, I also treasure the quality of the people I play with and our on-going friendships.

Like you, I certainly saw #StayHomeStaySafe coming, but I think the Coronavirus became a reality to me when authorities decided to close the Salt Lake County rec center where I was playing.

OK,” I said to myself.  “Looks like this thing is serious.  I’ll support their self-isolation proposal and stop playing for a couple of weeks.”

In any situation there are facts and there are opinions. 

During an MSNBC virus report a few days ago, they were taking ‘Live Virus’ questions from people all over the United States.  

One woman from Montana saw it as her chance to explain how she and her friends were convinced it was all a hoax perpetrated by Bill Gates and his billionaire buddies to manipulate the stock market.  You should have seen the look on the moderators face – priceless. 

I’m pretty sure that phone-screener is looking for a new job.  

When my wife was still employed as a medical office receptionist, she told me of one disgruntled customer who was calling to get an emergency, same-day orthodontics appointment.  When she tried to explain how the virus had reduced the number of staff working in the office and he couldn’t get in, he hung up while retorting “Well, that’s just a white man’s disease.” No further comment on that one.

As a writer I find the opinions much more interesting and entertaining. 

But with this Corona thing, I’m going to rely on the facts.

Fact is, as of today, the CDC reports 24,582 people in the US have died from the Coronavirus.  

The World Health Organization reports the CoronaVirus mortality rate is 3.4%.  

And it is not just killing people who are older, obese, and diabetic.  The CDC reports 147,00 cases for 45-64 year olds, yet only 94,000 cases for 65 and older.

I know about 100 Pickle-Heads by name. And while it is true many US citizens die from the regular flu every year, this particular strain seems to kill much more efficiently.  

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I hope that doesn’t mean three or four of my friends won’t be standing when this thing is finally over.   

Be careful out there.  

I know we’re all hurting and miss the game.

However, waiting a few more weeks isn’t going to kill us, but playing right now just might.

Hopefully, when this is all over, I’ll be on the court playing with 100 percent of my Pickle-Headed friends, not just 96.4 percent of them.

Edited by TWiP Staff