Why NML?

Embrace debate?

Authored by Slim

The Freestyle Boys with Ben Johns and Rob Nunnery, kindly gave us a mention again in their latest episode. They were very complimentary of us, but they did seem to question our motives for the blog. So I thought this might be as good as time as any to talk about how the blog came to be, and a bit about us. We certainly do not work in pickleball as they queried, as we both have full time jobs as paper pushers, but we love playing and talking about pickleball.

Long before pickleball became an obsession, we were a couple of sports lovers and fans. We played every sport we could and watched all of our favorite teams games, like a lot of sports fans, but we also consumed a lot of sports content. I mean blogs, podcasts, message boards you name it. It’s one of the many reasons we became such good friends. How many people do you know whose Spotify account looks almost identical to yours, just filled with the latest sports podcasts? Now? Our sports consumption is mostly pickleball.

Needless to say we have always enjoyed sports analysis and commentary, and all the silly debates, lists and rankings that come along with it. We have always enjoyed wading into these conversations, with our own thoughts and opinions. I (Slim) have mainly done this through conversations with friends and the occasional message board post or Twitter comment, while Gritty has definitely gotten some blogging experience putting out his thoughts on other sports, and briefly “starred” on television with sports commentary before abandoning that dream (but I’ll let him tell that story another time).

As our interest and passion for the game gradually shifted from watching a couple Youtube videos to figure out what good players do to scouring Facebook for every live stream possible, we were surprised by the complete absence of opinion or analysis pieces out there in the pickleball world. All the content that we have enjoyed consuming with our other sports just wasn’t there.

Our text conversations for the last couple years have been filled with takes on who we think is rising and falling in the pickleball world etc. When traveling to play our own tournaments, our conversations in the car would roughly resemble our own weird and personal freestyle pickleball podcast. If you want the actual hot takes Rob and Ben, they are in these text chains and on those road trips.

After joking, for almost a couple years now, that we should start our blog with all of these opinions, thoughts and takes, we finally decided to just go ahead and do it. Part of this may have been driven by the lack of ability to get enough of actual pickleball play in the last little while, but that is also another story for another day.

So we started this blog because it is fun for us. Simple as that. It’s literally the conversations we have every day in a public forum. We are also hoping it sparks more discussions and debates in the pickleball world, especially with casual fans, because we figure we can’t be the only ones out there desperate for more opinions and discussions in pickleball. In the words of Pardon My Take, “Embrace Debate”.

4 thoughts on “Why NML?

  • Pingback: Random Thoughts – More Freestyle Boys | No Man's Land Pickleball

  • January 3, 2022 at 6:50 am

    I share your enthusiasm to discuss pickleball’s future

  • January 3, 2022 at 7:13 am

    As a 50 year tournament level racket sports player and former kinesiology professor, I am interested in Pickleball not only as a player, but also as a sociological observer. Pickleball is at an interesting time in its life. As you know, it’s participation numbers are through the roof. However, the pro tour ultimately will guide its direction, as pro tours do in most sports. Over the last five decades I have watched badminton, racket and squash fail to develop healthy pro tours. The pro tour tennis tour, internationally, however, has flourished. There are various reasons for its success, but one reason is that it solved television logistical reasons for viewing. Most racket sports are terribly underappreciated because of poor tv viewing angles. But tv coverage is expensive. U.S. tennis is struggling right now. My old tennis partner is the chair of the USTA this year. I mentioned that his strategic planning committee should at least discuss the idea of partnering with pickleball(U.S. tennis has deep pockets). I think the statement was viewed as heretical and not worth mentioning to the establishment. Keep up the good dialogue!


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