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an indictment of padel

it has come to my attention that many friends from greener times have taken up the practice of padel.

Padel and its sibling pickleball have inundated the world of sports racquets. These days, one can hardly find public tennis courts not seized by this new species: the padel/pickleball player.

On average, they outnumber tennis players by a factor 5, which emboldens them to decline every offer received to vacate the courts they’ve been playing on for hours.

But how did former competitive tennis players fall into the torrent? How could they!

Tennis demands fortitude, intensity, stamina. Not only in terms of physical capabilities, but as (if not more) importantly, in the mental realm. You begin every tournament playing the first round, even if you are champion of the prior week’s event. Your opponent wants to beat you, and you have to impose your will to win over his. You use talent, hard work, aggressiveness, focus.

And how about padel? . . .

To the best of my knowledge, those friends are still healthy and not hindered physically by visible or invisible injuries. Though mature in age, they are not considered elderly by others, and much less by themselves.

So why padel?

Perhaps this racquet-wielding pastime is the equivalent of card games. One the one hand, quoting Samuel Johnson:

I am sorry I have not learnt to play at cards. It is very useful in life: it generates kindness, and consolidates society.

And with the same hand, with brutal force, quoting Samuel Johnson:

The necessity of erecting ourselves to some degree of intellectual dignity… is never more apparent than when we turn our eyes upon those whom fortune has let loose to their own conduct; who… are obliged to find themselves business or diversion, and having nothing within that can entertain or employ them, are compelled to try all the arts of destroying time.

So no, no padel.