What do mixed martial arts and football have in common? What do the rival coaches of Gonzaga's and Baylor's basketball teams have in common? Why, it's pickleball, of course!
During his TV interview after winning a fight earlier this month, MMA fighter and Kansas City native Julian Marquez issued a challenge to Kansas City Chief players Trevis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill – "I’m the baddest man from Kansas City, the baddest middleweight in Missouri ... I challenge you guys to a badminton or pickleball competition ... [to determine who is the] pound-for-pound champion from Kansas City." And the challenge was quickly accepted!
And behind the scenes during March Madness, the two coaches of what turned out to be the opposing teams in the national championship game became unbeatable pickleball partners. Gonzaga Bulldogs coach Mark Few and Baylor Bears coach Scott Drew spent much of their free time playing pickleball in the NCAA "bubble"during the 3-week tournament. Like many friendships that start on the pickleball courts, theirs has developed off the court, too, and Drew and his father hope to visit Few in the Spokane area to "play pickleball and go fishing."
In totally unrelated but interesting news stories about pickleball, here are a few more –
What Pickleball Can Teach You About Investing (kiplinger.com)
2021 PPA Tour Rules Update (ppatour.com) – For those of you thinking of going pro (or watch pro matches on TV/YouTube), you'll want to know that professionals are not adopting the new or provisional 2021 USAPA rules regarding drop serves and and let serves.