Empty pickleball court
Pickleball court Shutterstock

Hot Take: My date should let me win at pickleball

DALLAS, TX – I recently went on a pickleball first date with this guy I met online.

I’m a big advocate of pickleball dates because they can be scheduled in safe, public locations and you can really learn a lot about the person across the court from you, like if they’re a ball hog or a sore loser. And if it all goes south, you can leave pretty quickly.

I’m just a single girl who’s looking for that lifelong doubles partner, but I won't officially join forces with someone until we go head-to-head in singles - and there's a very good reason why: I want to see if he'll let me win a game.

If he doesn't, it's an immediate red flag... and I will politely never talk to him again and avoid that specific court at all costs.

He should let me win. 

Before you angrily come after me and leave comments on Pickleball.com’s Instagram account, hear me out. Read on. Be open-minded, my fellow pickleball friend. 

Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova playing mixed doubles at Desert Ridge Open
Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova at the Desert Ridge Open. PPA Tour

Don’t look up me up on DUPR, okay? But, let’s just assume that my date is far better at pickleball than I am. At this point, I’m better at writing about America's fastest-growing sport than actually playing it, so my gameplay could use a little love, too. 

Needless to say, I’m outmatched. 

And that’s exactly why he should let me win, since he and I both know that if we were playing a real game, I wouldn't stand a chance.

Maybe I’d make a couple of sweet shots, but failing to register a point and getting pickled is a real possibility.

Go easy on me, please, because while it is a “competition” from a scoring standpoint, is it really? No.

I’m here to assess if this is a potential partner for life - both on and off the court. 

If this guy just started off hot, leaving me sprinting back and forth, or slamming it at me and suddenly I’m taking a tumble like Anna Bright at the Veolia Austin Open, I could leave feeling winded, annoyed, and embarrassed, which isn't how you want to wrap up any first date. 

I love that pickleball courts are hot spots for first dates and new loves, but it’s also the perfect venue to assess someone’s character. If he’s overly competitive, then I don’t think this is going to work out, buddy. At least it won’t work out with me.

Tyson McGuffin sticking his tongue out at the Desert Ridge Open
Tyson McGuffin at the 2024 Desert Ridge Open. PPA Tour

I talked this over with some of the guys and gals at Pickleball Inc. HQ, and apparently my opinion is in the minority. 

“I can’t just let her win,” the majority of my male co-workers said with a scoff.

“Why not?”

“Because then it’s not a good game,” they said. 

Some of the women also said that if the guy goes easy on them, it’s boring. They don’t want to be pitied.

It all comes down to whether or not you enjoy competing with your partner. Some couples love the battle. They enjoy the friendly competition, banter, and teasing that comes after one of them wins and the other loses. 

I’m the opposite. I don’t want to compete with my partner. I take the competition personally, and if he absolutely makes a fool of me on the court, I take that as a personal attack. It’s just not for me. 

As the great University of Michigan head football coach, Bo Schembechler, once said: “It’s about the team, the team, the team.”

For me and my partner, it’s all about the team, so maybe this guy and I should play mixed doubles next. 

Either way, he let me win so he got a second date.

What do you think? Is your date letting you win a red flag or a green flag? Let us know on Instagram and X (formerly Twitter).