Top MLP-PPA Players Keep Winning

Riley Newman
Riley Newman PPA 2024 (Picture Kerry Pittenger)

Some of the top MLP/PPA players often make it to Championship Sunday. Is there anything wrong with that? Well, no, not that I can find. Good for those players, good for the sport—keep dominating. Winners set the standard, the level to be achieved, sustained, and surpassed. Not to diminish in any way the rest of the players. They work hard too and play at the top and, with luck, perseverance, and timing, will be rewarded. In pickleball, not everyone gets a prize just for entering tournaments, just for showing up, just for playing well. You win, you advance. You lose, you shake it off and try again next match, next point, next rally. Your talent and determination will never go unrecognized. Chin up. 

All players have the same chance, an opportunity to win more matches and take the lead. Respect, admiration, accolades, money, sponsorship come as they are earned. Giving away medals and crowns and Championship Sunday matches to players who haven’t fought and won through the draws would not be right, although many disagree.  As I see it, the best players are mere human beings, not unbeatable, all of them having lost before, but all of them having earned their sparkling trophies.

At the time of writing, the complaint department has been deluged by those saying the tour has become boring, predictable, or uninteresting to watch because only a small number (10? 20?) of elite players have reached the sacred peak of what I like to call Championship Mountain.  Well, as with any competition, anything can happen, anything can change, upsets occur all the time. And when other players have risen to the top, fans will want them torn down too, having grown tired of the winners winning again and again. Besides, those who don’t watch the pros because in their opinion the results have become familiar have been missing out on first-rate play by first-rate players. How about also celebrating and giving attention and credit to the opponents who have fought hard in defeat, pushing the winners to show the world why they have staked the mountaintop? If you are enthusiastic about pickleball, rather than get frustrated and lose interest because of the standings or because some players are better than others and win a lot, perhaps it would be beneficial to all pickleballers and to the sport as a whole to watch the matches and appreciate—and cheer for—the fine athletes on both sides of the net, all of whom rip and dink and strategize until match point is called.  Winners come and go in cycles. Fans will always be seeing new players who win medals and then lose, win medals and then lose, get hot and then slump. On the MLP-PPA tour, abundant talent is going to make it harder for anyone to stay on top without losing more.  That is my opinion, of course, based on fact and observation, not on emotion or my personal wishes. 

In recent tournaments there have been thrilling matches—seesaw battles—in both singles and doubles, the kind of matches that keep us fans pinioned to our seats, sweating, our hearts in a firefight. Those who spend their time and energy grumbling about the most successful players might feel better tuning in and redirecting that energy, intensity, and emotion toward all the athletes on court playing as though each and every match is their last. There is nothing unkind or unbecoming about giving credit where it is due. With this article I say job well done to you, MLP-PPA players, for having the talent, the guts, and the unshakable ambition as well as the mental and physical stamina to compete in tournaments and, win or lose, show the world what you can do.  In  victory and in defeat,  I and many the world over notice and appreciate all of you.

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About David Boyle

A versatile and diversified writer, David Boyle has written three short story collections, published by independent presses. Though he earned his readership by writing reality-based fiction, Boyle has gained a reputation for literary stories, essays, articles, reviews, interviews, analyses, travel writing, reportage, and poems, a good number of which have appeared in both print and online magazines. Inspired by his wife's passion for the sport, David now loves pickleball and aims to illuminate current pickleball events and subjects with a fresh, creative perspective, offering readers something they can't find anywhere else. | My website | | My Pickleball Journal

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