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PPA Tour’s Travis Rettenmaier gives his take on a recent article about pickleball in the Washington Post. See the original article here.

“I hate pickleball” is the introduction to the column.

“Hate” is such a strong word, but one’s enjoyment of the sport is subjective and therefore just an opinion.

Personally, I think tennis sucks, even though it was a huge part of my life for more than three decades. Does it bother you that thousands, wait, millions of people around the country have found something that gives them more joy than anything they can remember?

Maybe instead of focusing on the stupidities of the sport, it would be better to focus on the joy it brings. In my community, I have seen obese people lose weight, have seen lonely people make friends, and have seen depressed people find happiness.

I have seen myself find purpose and community.

Without question, Rick, I would be one of those annoying people begging you to play what I think is the greatest sport of all time. 

Now, there are certain parts of your column a bit detached from reality. You compare the sport to crochet. I also see your independent Canadian study saying that an hour of pickleball is half the steps of an hour of walking. This may be true on a very small scale, but the speed and intensity of these steps is what makes the sport challenging. As a previous professional tennis player, I know an hour of pickleball burns the same amount of calories as an hour of tennis.

I would challenge you to come play pickleball with me for a few hours but my guess is you would puke after 30 minutes here in the hot Florida sun. Your perspective is based on being bitter, not based on fact.

We do agree on one thing – and fortunately, I have always found agreeing with someone disillusioned can often bring them around to seeing more clearly.

The sound of pickleball is a real pain in the ass to some people. As a pickleball junkie, it doesn’t bother me, but if I were to live next to a court and not partake in the game, then undoubtedly it would piss me off a bit. To me, the sound of a pickleball hitting a paddle means my friends are out on the court talking, laughing, and having fun.

Now let’s get to the injuries portion of your column. Doesn’t this single-handedly prove the sport is indeed a sport?  

It is tough on the body and, although it is easier than tennis or basketball to some extent, it undoubtedly puts stress on the joints. I have no doubt, however, that if any of these soon-to-be patients played tennis or basketball, their injuries would likely be more severe. 

My favorite argument of yours is about the courts. The courts I play on in Saint Petersburg, Fla, at the Crescent Lake have six pickleball courts and two tennis courts. Every evening, we have about 60 people waiting for 6 courts, and the two tennis courts are either empty, except for the birds using it as a waste disposal, or they have people playing pickleball on them waiting for a game on the real courts. 

Tennis and basketball do not encourage people to get together as pickleball does. In tennis, you have to be so close in skill to your opponent for it to be enjoyable. In basketball, if I see an older guy, (and rarely are there women playing rec games), then he has a brace on his knee and is struggling to keep up. I also don’t see a lot of elderly people hooping it up. 

In pickleball, everyone is welcome and anyone can have fun with just about any person. 

I am gonna close with this because I have to go play pickleball, smile, and have fun with my friends: 

Please don’t ever reference this sport as a fad. A sport that brings families and people of all ages, political backgrounds, and races together is not a fad, it is a gift. As my great buddy, Steve Kuhn, has said:

“Pickleball can save the world.”

He’s right! Don’t be bitter. Embrace it, accept it. And any time you want to come play with me, you will be embraced with open arms by some great people.

-Travis Rettenmaier


  • Gary says:

    Great rely with facts Travis. 👍👏👏

  • Nick Wynen says:

    Well thought out. Well stated. Nothing else need be said.

  • Ron Balezantis says:

    Very Well said!!!

  • Arun s says:

    Pickleball is what you make of it. It’s that simple. It is something that brings people who may have never met if it weren’t on a Pickleball court or even just outside of it while waiting to play. It’s easy to play, not too expensive in comparison and many ways to watch it being played at the pro level. You take away a lot of important things and rules that help you get to:the next level. It is truly multi generational and unlike too many sports or activities that are.
    The health benefits are important for a wide range of people. You don’t even realize it while under the spell of it’s good addiction, and then one day you realize you can’t recall the last time you felt so good and fit.
    Be forewarned though, you are wide open to injuries to the face/eyes so use protection. Other stress injuries even if you’re wearing appropriate footwear commensurate w/ the surface you’re playing on. Keep your mind open to all of the things in play and enjoy all the benefits of a social activity that’s exploding in popularity. Cheers!

    • Linda Scott says:

      I read that article in the Washington Post and just smiled. It sounded like a Rodney Dangerfield monologue from years past.

      Your answer and tribute to our wonderful sport was priceless.

      Thank you

  • Cuong Huynh says:

    Such a classy response from Travis. BRAVO!

  • John Solema says:

    Embrace the Sport, play the game, help others grow with it, and by all means keep happiness blooming on & off the courts.

    Thank you Travis for being an outstanding voice to stand up to those that are watching from behind the fences with distaste. It only takes some time & openness to experience a special activity like this in our lives.

  • Rob says:

    Well said!!!

  • Bill says:

    Hey. The WP column was tongue in cheek. Relax.

  • Nan says:

    Thank you for the well written and poignant response, Travis. Our Pickleball community of millions needed to say something to the previous negative article. But perhaps the jabbing and poking in the other article, was meant to give us a pickleballers, a voice!
    I must point out, too, that I have been playing 11 years and if this is a fad, it is sure a long running fad.
    I am convinced that injuries occur because Pickleball is the first sport that many people have ever played and they do not know how to listen to their bodies and they are not familiar with how to stretch and condition.
    I appreciate your comments, wholeheartedly and thank you again for setting things straight with Rick

  • Travis highlights all the terrific benefits of pickleball. I’d add that it brings people together that otherwise would never interact due to their political or religious affiliations. All those beliefs just don’t matter when you’re playing pickleball, a sport which is easy to learn, but difficult to master.

    Personally, I see it as the beginning of the Age of Aquarius, where people of all genders, ages, and skill levels can play and have fun and/or compete. Aquarius is a highly social sign, and associated with equality. The advent of pickleball coincides with the entrance of Pluto into Aquarius, which marks this as a new phase, a new age. The last time Pluto entered Aquarius was in 1777 when the US was forming its own government, separate from the absolute power of the British monarchy. The 13 states each had their own constitution and were loosely tied with a central federal government. In the same way, these days pickleball de-centralizes social, political, and financial power. We can all play on the same court.

  • Dr Frank C Seitz says:

    Pickleball detractors and enthusiasts both need to read “Pickleball at a Glance” published on Amazon. It provides a chuckled or two while introducing the reader to the “guts” of what makes Pickleball fun.

  • Cheryl (Cha’real) says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
    When I read the Washington Post article, I thought, “Is this guy a moron? Has he even played?” I totally agree with every word in your response, including the sound of the paddle hitting the ball. Sure, I can see how it would bother some, but, I hear the sound of joy and want to join in! This sport is addictive and until you have tried it, don’t bad mouth it.

  • John says:

    Pickleball is awesome, the WAPO writer sounds like Scrooge to me. I have met so many people inside and outside my community from playing pickleball I can’t count them. That’s in just 6 months of playing. I am 68 years old and have beaten people in their 20s and have been beaten by people in their ’80s. It is the most multi-generational and inclusive sport I’ve ever played. Throw in the health benefits, and I have proof that my measurable health statistics have all improved dramatically in 6 months from playing pickleball, and you have a sport that is going to be here for a long long time. I played tennis growing up and even lived in a tennis booster community, Tennis was fun but I found it to be too exclusive and a little snooty at times. Pickleball is just the opposite.

  • Terri says:

    Amen! I belong to fancy grass court club in BOS and most members feel the same as WP. There wrong! I put done my tennis racket after 3 decades and have become addicted to PB for all same reasons as Travis. I have so many new friends that I never would have met if not for PB. It’s here to stay. All you negative Nellies your fighting a losing battle.

  • Lisa Sichz says:

    Travis! Yes! As an ‘OG’ on the crescent lake courts, this is where my husband and I first met many of the same friends as you there and we are a family now. This sport is so much more than a game to play. Well said on every aspect!

  • D.J. Bowen says:

    Great response, Travis!

  • Karen Coyne says:

    Very well stated, Travis!

  • Rose Eicke says:

    Fabulous response and 100% spot on! I was very taken aback at the negativity in the article penned by the Washington Post!
    Reminds me of a song… shake it off! Haters gonna hate….

  • Victor betancourt says:

    Excellent reply Travis. Thanks!

  • Tony Tes says:

    A GREAT, INSIGHTFUL Response to Another Hateful, Joyless” “Contributer” of that RAG known as the Wasington Post.

  • Reha Duzel says:

    Very well said Travis; no need to apologize for anyone who doesn’t get the positive side of Pickleball brings to the masses. I have always had a good network of people to connect and live with throughout my 60 years of life; both professionally and personally; but for the last 2 1/2 years, I’ve never had a totally diverse group of people added to my network so quickly like through Pickleball ( all ages, genders, social backgrounds, professions etc.) Pickleball brings people together like no other activity in the world ( well, may be music does to an extend). We need political leaders in this world, who are pickleball players and world will be a much better place !

  • Tony Mendez says:

    I absolutely agree with your article. I was skeptical about the sport until I started to play. Now, I’m totally hooked on the sport and can’t wait to play. My wife and I play four times a week against other couples and we love the game.

  • As someone hailing from Europe (who came to the US 23 years ago), where many countries boast vibrant communities that foster connections and bring people together through activities like Bocce ball in the South of France or lively card games at small Italian cafes, I can wholeheartedly relate to the transformative power of communal activities.

    Pickleball, beyond being a health revolution, has become a social phenomenon in the United States. With a high obesity rate and a significant number of individuals feeling isolated, the emergence of pickleball as a widely embraced sport is truly remarkable. It provides an avenue for people to come together, forge connections, and create vibrant communities that uplift and support one another.

    I am grateful that pickleball has found its place in the hearts of so many individuals, as it fills a void by offering both physical and emotional well-being. It warms my heart to hear stories like that of the veteran who credited pickleball with saving his life. Such anecdotes serve as a poignant reminder of the profound impact this sport can have on individuals, fostering hope, resilience, and a sense of belonging.

    I firmly believe that pickleball has the power to combat loneliness, empower individuals, and create a sense of community that is much needed in today’s world.

    I even wrote a blog about it:

  • Maggie C says:

    Pickleball has been the saving-grace in my life! It’s been my gym, my therapy, my social outlet, and is played on every continent. If there is one sport that can unite folks and bridge the world, Pickleball will do it and it’s here to stay! Enough of the negativity-Get up, get out, and get playing!

  • Sara Strickland says:

    I was a tennis snob. Thought that Pickleball was just for old people. Then I went to a pickleball clinic and found that there was/is a huge age range in players and people interested in playing. I saw that it was indeed far more social than tennis and I need that aspect of the sport. Tennis is not readily available where I am. I was spoiled in CA with being able to reserve a court for $4.50/hour, 3 tennis centers where I lived, and know that I had a court. Here no reservations or the courts with reservations are so far away they aren’t convenient. Pickleball courts for me are within walking distance. The people I have met just briefly are fun and easy going. Hope to get out there playing as soon as I get a decent serve going.

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