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Pickleball Derangement Syndrome | Boston Globe

by Thomas Shields on

We've all felt the impact. We've all fallen victim.

And now, it has a name.

The Boston Globe has declared it: Pickleball Derangement Syndrome.

Here's the gist if you don't want to read the whole thing:

The usual blah blah pickleball's growth: Pickleball has grown in popularity and has become the "fastest-growing" sport in the United States, with nearly five million people playing in 2021, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Celebrity investors, etc.

The meat and potatoes: People who play pickleball are showing signs of Pickleball Derangement Syndrome, including joining multiple leagues, flying to pickleball camps, and even buying $145 designer pickleball dresses.

The three best parts:

Karine Marino played pickleball from 8 until midnight on a recent Monday night, drove 11 minutes home to Bedford, took a quick shower, set her alarm for 5 a.m., and drove back to the same indoor courts for her 6:30 a.m. game.

“But I just do that once or twice a week,” Marino, 58, said. “It’s not all the time.”

No, no, of course not. She usually plays a mere three hours a day, unless she’s in a tournament, or she’s coaching a friend from her club, Life Time in Burlington, or...
A South Boston indoor pickleball parlor, where courts rent for as much as $100 per hour, aspiring players need to act fast.

Those who don’t grab a slot within seconds after the online sign-ups begin are unlikely to get a court at the time they want, said owner Brian Weller. “It’s like trying to get Taylor Swift tickets.”
Angela Hayden, 49, an attorney, recently figured out that her boyfriend was graciously giving her son a ride to school — under the guise of being helpful — in part because it is next to pickleball courts.

“He has a whole new social life with retired ladies,” she said.

In summary, pickeball has a knack for becoming an obsession...and quickly. What other sports, hobbies or activities share this characteristic?

I don't know if I can name a single one.

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Summary, via ChatGPT:

Pickleball Derangement Syndrome is a phenomenon where individuals become obsessed with the sport, to the point where it interferes with their daily lives.

This can manifest in playing for hours, joining multiple leagues, and traveling to pickleball camps.

But finding court space is a significant challenge as tennis players also compete for access, with court rentals costing up to $100 per hour.

Despite the challenges, many players find the sport a source of joy and connection. The social aspects of the game provide a sense of community and support, while others enjoy the combination of strategy, athleticism, and socialization.

While Pickleball Derangement Syndrome may be a real issue, many have found meaning and excitement through the sport. As the game's popularity continues to grow, it will be interesting to see how communities and players adapt to the challenges that come with it.

Need some new pickleball gear?

Thomas Shields

Thomas Shields

Founder of The Dink & Upswing Sports. Host of PicklePod with Zane Navratil. Sometimes commentator and show host.