During the summers of my middle school years, my dad would drop me off at a tennis clinic at 7am. He’d then return to the courts to play a few sets after work and we’d both head home at around 7pm. During the intervening hours, I was theoretically becoming a great tennis player. Mostly though, our crew spent those hours playing ping pong, exchanging cassette tapes, gambling on backgammon games, ordering snacks using our club membership numbers, and on occasion, getting driven by one of the older kids up to a kid named Jimmy’s house where we’d spend hours playing another racket sport that no one but us seemed to have ever even heard of. While we were behind on our tennis progression, we were ahead of our time when it came to pickleball, a sport now sweeping the country by storm and becoming so big that the already shrinking tennis community is justifiably worried it may drop a deuce on the love anyone still has for the game. In Pickleball, the Kitchen is a slang term for the Non-Volley Zone.​ And these days, if you can’t stand the heat, you better stay out of it. Pickleball, in just about every way, is hot as hell. “There exist two international—feuding—governing bodies … And two domestic professional tours … Meanwhile, a pair of competing Texas-based billionaires seem poised to go to the mattresses over the sport. All of this against a backdrop of well-founded angst among the tennis set that pickleball is usurping both its real estate and its participants.” John Walters in Sports Illustrated: Inside the Fight Over the Fastest-Growing Sport in America.