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Are You Playing Wordle and Pickleball?

Wordle and pickleball are popular games, and while they are much more different than alike, do you know how are they alike? 

            The differences are obvious. Wordle is an online five-letter word guessing game, a mental exercise.  Pickleball is an active, hit-the-ball-over-the-net physical game.

            Solving the unknown Wordle word can be a group activity, but is most often a solitary challenge.  Pickleball is played as singles, two people opposing each other, or doubles with two people on a team.

            Wordle was created to be played in two to three minutes; most pickleball games take 15 – 25 minutes.  There are exceptions:  a difficult Wordle puzzle takes longer and a pickleball game might be completed quickly, especially if one player is more skilled than the other.

            To play Wordle, only an electronic device is needed and it can be played anywhere, anytime.  Pickleball is played on a 20’ x 44’ marked court with a 36” high net in the middle of the court.   A small plastic ball is needed, and each player uses a paddle.

            Wordle was created in 2021 and Pickleball started in 1965, yet both are played by many people now. According to two of my friends, everybody is playing. One said, “I want to learn to play pickleball. It’s the fastest growing sport worldwide and everybody I know is playing.”   Another asked, “Will you show me how to play Wordle?  Everybody I know is playing.” 

            Because everybody is playing isn’t really what struck me as how Wordle and pickleball are alike, but it made me think about these two games.  Did you know that both were created by men for their loved ones?  Not to be marketed for the public, but just for family members?

            Josh Wardle, a software engineer, created Wordle for his wife because she loved words games.  Together they worked crossword puzzles and he wanted to her to have a fun, fast word game. 

            Pickleball was created when three men wanted to entertain their young children, who were restless and claimed boredom, so they handed the kids tennis paddles and a wiffle ball.  The men lowered a badminton net and made up the rules as they went along.

            Both games were shared with friends and relatives and then taken to the public by demand. 

On November 1, 2021, ninety people played Wordle, and today claims to have millions of users.  Pickleball has become so popular that every state in the USA and all Canadian provinces have pickleball venues and tournaments are held in most states.

            How did these two games get their names?  Mr. Wardle chose Wordle as a play on his name.  According to one of pickleball’s creators, it was named after a pet, a dog who often ran after the ball.  The dog’s name was Pickle.

            Two very different games. One a five-letter word game.  The other a hit-the-ball-over-the-net game.  The fact that both of these popular games were created for family members at someone’s home makes me smile.  

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