????” Je suis Charlie “


I never knew that my name would become famous – I do not even have a PB court named after me or tournament named after me as many have. I do however feel a need to comment on actions taken in Paris to Muzzle free speech at the premises of the organization that was world famous for publicizing Charlie Brown’s cartoons and of later fame, ??political satire aimed at leaders who have not acted in a welcoming and fraternal manner worldwide or those who have promoted illogical positions on the world stage.

We have some of this in our Pickleball sport as well. If you are not aware, USAPA and Pickleball Canada do not promote any tournaments or programs that do not support IFP rules which shun players who do not adhere to American rules which discriminate against some Canadian players who use Canadian paddles that are quieter , more colourful, and more fun to play with than theirs. Hence an unwelcoming, illogical, unproven position is displayed on the USAPA website under IFP rules that suggests Canadian paddles are unsafe – yet empiric data proves they are not dangerous . The legal position of Surrey and others, like Quebec, is that they and we cannot bar people from participating in any tournament in Canada or play area because of the paddle they use . There is no proof of impending harm and lots of proof that many players could benefit from a softer paddle, easier to use and more fun and helpful with noise and some elbow and shoulder injuries.

Recently, a member of South Surrey went to Casa Grande, Palm creek to rent a place in the sun and play pickleball. Needless to say in a retirement enclave like Palm Creek – some 40% of players are from Canada. This member of South Surrey was appalled that his ( he thought ) approved paddle would be taken from him – but he is Canadian so he said nothing – and played on. Upon return he asked me to explain their actions based on he said was a ??“deflection” test on a machine that throws a weight at a paddle that is 1) hard as diamonds – graphite or 2) on a softer paddle core like snowbird . Which do you think vibrates more ? Of course the softer one. Therefore the result was known before the test was invented. But does it matter ? No ! In tests done with Pros in Calgary , only 4.5 and above show any difference in speed and since when did 5% extra speed make any difference anyway – just deflect or block or drop the shot – right ! We need to move on from IFP rules and make Pickleball the welcoming sport “” A Game for ALL ” by welcoming all paddles and players and GROW THE SPORT instead of shunning players from other countries, other paddles and lesser skills . In Canada we have only nine years experience in recreational centres and from Day 1 it has been a struggle to keep the 50 year ( this year ) players from the south at bay, while we learn to play and have fun fun fun.

I hope the leaders of programs in Canada will take notice and start pointing their efforts inward to this great country – Canada for their direction and rules. Although I expect no accolades, I will continue to be THE Canadian advocate in BC. Charlie is my name. Be proud Canadians. Parisians today are honking their horns for Freedom.

Chuck Lefaive

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