Pickleball is a highly contagious, progressive and incurable disease. The USA Pickleball Association estimates there are currently between 40 and 50 thousand infected people worldwide. Unlike other epidemics of this scale, pickleball occurs primarily in developed countries. While rarely fatal, the disease has enormous impact on the lives of infected individuals and on society as a whole.
Early theories assumed that pickleball is an addictive drug; however recent studies isolated Pickleballfever as the bacteria which causes pickleballmania. This discovery explains why earlier treatment programs such as Pickleball Players Anonymous, were unsuccessful.
ORIGINS OF THE EPIDEMIC
The early epidemic started around 1965 in Washington State. It appears the relatively benign sport of pickleball mutated into pickleballmania. While the reasons for this mutation are not generally known, a likely hypothesis suggests that it resulted from exposure of the tennis, racquetball & badminton bacteria to high doses of boredom in Washington State.
SYMPTOMS AND RELIEF
Stage 1 - is not at all unpleasant; the infected individual enjoys an occasional social game of pickleball, and otherwise does not think of pickleball between games. Only a small area of the brain has been infected at this stage, and there are infrequent reports of a spontaneous arrest of the disease and even of complete recovery, in some cases.
Stage 2 - Usually marked by the victim's starting to analyze the game just played. It can also be recognized by the patients buying a pickleball book, such as The Pickleball Handbook by Mark Friedenberg. During this stage the victim often joins the USA Pickleball Association. The victim may also sign up for a clinic or even enter a tournament. Once this happens, the prognosis is almost always serious.
Stage 3 - is Recognized by the victim's willingness to be an Official Ambassador for the USAPA. They are also willing to conduct clinics and even facilitate the spread of this disease by introducing pickleball to others who are unaware of the contagious nature of the disease. At this stage the infected individual loses interest in other pursuits, and is often willing to spend hundreds of dollars for gas to get to the next tournament. In extreme cases the victim neglects even the most elementary functions such as eating, shopping and personal hygiene.
While there may be periods of marked improvement that lull the patient and concerned relatives into a false sense of optimism (with the patient thinking, "I can walk away anytime"), it is important to recognize that a relapse is unavoidable.
Temporary symptomatic relief might be achieved by treatments such as getting the patient interested in other pursuits (sex, fly-fishing, croquet), taking away their pocket money and keeping the patient locked up during open club play and local tournaments.
Currently the only available cure for pickleballmania is a lobotomy. NOTE, this procedure should be performed only in extreme cases and never without supervision.
The current most recommended preventative is for the patient to avoid any contact with other pickleball players. If complete avoidance is impossible, do not allow the affected individual to even talk about pickleball.
While it is not particularly risky to be in the company of one pickleball carrier, it is extremely dangerous if there are three others. The reasons for this dichotomy are at present unknown and underline our lack of knowledge about Pickleballmania.