Authored by Gritty
Austin Gridley and Mario Barrientos played in the Eastern Idaho Pickleball Classic over the weekend and won gold. However, I’m not writing a post because of that random result, which was not surprising by the way. I’m writing because of arguably the most creative adaption of the chainsaw serve that Gridley and Barrientos collaborated on. Yes, collaborated on. The legendary Brian Ashworth took a brief video of Gridley serving while Barrientos used his body to shield Gridley during the toss presumably so that their opponents cannot read which way the ball is being spun by the server.
No doubt, this is kind of hilarious. And yes, this is probably the most creative interpretation of the chainsaw serve we have seen to date. Big props to Gridley and/or Barrientos for concocting this little scheme – I am aware that hiding the ball from the opponent on the toss will be illegal next year. Nevertheless, as silly as it sounds that a 4 second clip from an Idaho tourney would have any impact on my opinion, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me on these serves.
We have not taken any time in this space to write about the chainsaw partly because it has been discussed ad naseum and partly because we both waffled back and forth as to whether the chainsaw should stay in the sport. After the Porter Barr golden pickle that went “viral” on the Forum, I thought maybe the serve should only be legal at the pro and 5.0 level, and for amateurs it could be outlawed. In practice, it doesn’t really work to have two different sets of rules based on level.
I’m all for innovation in the sport and letting it grow naturally. As a crazy person, I watched about 5 minutes of the 2014 TOC mixed final. Boy, that is a wild experience to see where the sport was in 2014. But when it comes to the chainsaw serve, I just don’t enjoy watching it play a large role in the sport. Get off my lawn! There was some local streaming from players at the Eastern Idaho Classic. They were playing in the indoor tennis facility where there was not much room behind the baseline, which meant that players like Chuck Taylor had a far more effective than it should have been chainsaw that had a significant impact on the way matches were going.
I will say that we are both very curious to see how many people can put together any sort of effective version of the Morgan Evans spin serve for 2022. The impact on the sport could be limited now that the easier off-hand version of the chainsaw will be banned. Still, I’m not here to get into a drawn out long form piece about why I don’t like spin serves or what it means for the sport going forward.
It’s cool that people can do it very well. It’s very creative and impressive that Morgan Evans and Zane Navratil have far and away the most superior versions of these serves at this point. Ultimately though, it makes watching the sport less fun for me. Do I care that it makes me sound like a crusty old man? Not really.
Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments below or email us ar firstname.lastname@example.org
Side note: Keep an eye out for our MLP Entrance Survey Preview to drop Wednesday morning