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Paul Meets Pickles
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"Finally," said Paul, "5th grade is over."
All year long, Paul endured daily ridicule about his weight, with comments such as: When was the last time you saw your whole body in the mirror?'
He was not only the object of mean comments, but also plenty of snickering during physical education class.
Paul's older brother, Steve, starred in the tennis team, he also excelled at badminton and ping pong.
After repeatedly begging his brother to teach him these sports, Steve reluctantly agreed.
Unfortunately, Paul was too slow, too uncoordinated, and too easily winded to make much progress and soon gave up.
'There must be something I can do,' he thought.
That night, Paul dreamed he was running in the heat.
To quench his thirst he walked to an outdoor water fountain.
When he arrived, he saw a sign that said: Pickleball Palace.
He heard a banging sound and walked a little farther.
He watched kids, around his age, batting a strange looking ball back and forth across a net with a strange looking racket.
'Where's the palace?' he wondered.
When they hit the ball out of bounds, a dog grabbed the green ball and hid under the nearest bush, with players chasing after him.
"Funny," said Paul, "the dog has trained the humans to fetch."
Then suddenly a ball landed next to him, with the cocker spaniel close behind, followed by two kids.
Paul picked it up and the dog approached, panting, and sat patiently before him.
"Good boy, Pickles," said the girl.
Paul petted Pickles. Pickles extended his paw and Paul shook it.
"Hi, my name is Jenny."
"Hi, I am Paul."
"And I am Joel; all balls are Pickle's balls, at least that's what he thinks. That's why we call it Pickleball."
Pickles playfully pulled the ball from Paul's hand and stayed put.
"You must be new in town," said Joel, "do you play?"
"No, but I would like to learn."
Jenny and Joel taught Paul how to serve, how to hit forehands, backhands, dinks and overheads, and how to score.
Paul surprised himself by catching on fairly quickly. He even shed some pounds while playing and did not feel fat for a change.
"I wish we had this game in my world," he said.
"If you don't, you can make it happen," said Jenny.
"Good luck," said Joel.
When Paul awoke, he hurried out of bed and searched 'Pickleball' on the internet.
"Why didn't I know about this game before?"
He watched video after video, featuring Pickleball players of all shapes and sizes.
An excited Paul emailed his PE teacher, who directed him to the local community centre.
Paul spent the summer playing Pickleball with Steve, who said, "This game is like badminton, ping pong, and tennis combined."
While Paul could not beat his brother, he always gave him a good game.
Paul became the Pickleball ambassador at his school and before long, kids were playing five days a week and on weekends at the community centre.
Some called him Pickleball Paul.
Paul lost a lot of weight during the summer and even grew a couple of inches.
His classmates hardly recognized him and best of all, no more insults.
In fact, many kids apologized for their past comments.
Paul now understood that, for Pickleball players, the palace is anyplace they have the opportunity to play.
So he made a poster for the school gym: Pickleball Palace.
Soon after, Paul went online to research the origin of Pickleball for a school project.
He felt chills go up and down his spine when he read about Pickles the dog; back in 1966!
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