Sunday, February 6

Broken Dreams

        The world's greatest pickle ball player is down for the count. Tineer Kalmer, the 22 year old Yemeni-American wonder, stumbled last week while lunging for the ball at practice, and tripped over the knee-high net. Only three weeks before the 2005 Nationals, the stadium was packed with fans trying to get autographs from the star. "Before anyone could do more than gasp, her arm had swollen to the size of a tree trunk" one observer noted. While her visibly shaken father shielded the girl from the eyes of her fans, an ambulance swung up, loaded her in, and carted her off to the nearest hospital for x-rays.
        The sport of pickle ball has been gaining followers from all over the world. Extreme popularity is spreading, especially in countries like China, where one official told us they "wanted to get more paddle sports moved outdoors, but don't have enough space for large courts for sports like tennis." Pickle ball fulfills those needs with a court size of only 20 feet by 44 feet, and can be set up without difficulty on any hard, flat surface. It is well on its way to being an Olympic sport in the summer of 2012.
        Tineer joined the sport after a bit of luck in 7th grade P.E. class. It wasn't until two years later, when, as a 15 year old, that she beat the former world champion. It was then that she knew she was really gifted. From that day on, she has been unbeatable - until now. Her coach, Ray Humtricle, assured everyone that it was not a fatal wound during his press conference Friday. "Sure, it'll take some time for her to recover, but we are hoping for the best. Although her doctors aren't 100 percent sure she'll ever be able to continue her competitive play, she is determined to swing that paddle once again for the pride of her country. Yemeni-Americans aren't quitters."
        A sad day for pickle ball lovers everywhere, but it could have been much worse. The prognosis? A multiple fractured humerus. The crack heard round the world.