What is Pickleball? Is it about winning or just having fun?

It’s about a mother and a teenage girl team
In one of my recent visits to a pickleball destination, I was privy to a unique one on one interaction between a teenage daughter and her mother.
Oh no ? it’s not THE famous mom and teenage girl of our current pickleball world. But surely one day they might become as famed as the Water team if
The teenage girl was totally upset after losing a game against her mother. Her frustration and anger got the best of her and out came an explosion of all those wonderful words which we never love hearing on a pickleball court or elsewhere.
I asked her mom, what was going on. She replied that her daughter was a being a b$&@%. The daughter felt her partner was being targeted and she hardly received any balls to play. “Mom – All you care about is winning”.
I will not share the rest of the conversation I had with both the daughter and the mother, but that interaction certainly brought up in me a reflection on what was important or not.
What is pickleball and what does a game of pickleball bring in you?
Pickleball over the years has brought a multitude of lasting memories and joy to me.
The mother in her interaction said I don’t see a point of playing pickleball if you cannot win. No wonder her daughter was SO upset. Because her mom cared so much about winning.
In my competitive days, there were times I was extremely focused in winning my matches. Agreed it is what tournaments are for. To match our wits to others and see how our own personal growth in the game stands. So we continue to improve our personal relationship with our game.
But is winning the be all end all ? Is it really what the mother said “what is the point to play if you cannot win?”
Or is it just about playing for fun?
I have also heard this ‘playing for fun’ phrase from my competitive peers who say only losers say that.
The way I see it, no matter what route you choose, ultimately you want to enjoy the journey.
It’s like climbing a steep hill on a bike. Some crank up the gears and put a huge effort to reach the summit. Once they reach it, they relax and cruise downhill. Others just lower the gear, take the climb in relaxed manner ( or is it really that relaxing) to reach the summit and continue in the same vein downhill.
I am not here to preach if one or the other is better. But if I imagine the grimace and tightness on the faces of a former versus the more relaxed composure of the latter, I would certainly enjoy the latter and I do.
Pickleball, like life to me, is enjoying the journey we are on irrelevant of the outcome. Sometimes we might want to go fast and sometimes slow.
It’s a journey and let’s enjoy the ride.
Winning is like a summit, no matter which side you view from the top, all paths lead downhill before ascending other summits. Enjoy the ride!

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