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We Just Want to Have Fun!

Fun: enjoyment, amusement, lighthearted pleasure
– Oxford Languages

Some words are so familiar that I am hard-pressed to explain what they mean. When I sat down this morning to write about fun, I realized I’d run into one of those words. I am so pleased to have looked it up. Isn’t the definition of fun lovely? Makes me want to have a little of it!

A fun new game

My husband and I, thanks to fun-loving friends, have discovered pickleball. If you, like we, are late to this particular game, to me it feels like a cross between ping-pong, doubles tennis, and badminton, with a dash of volleyball thrown in for the scoring. I know it sounds impossible, but when you put it all together, somehow it works!

The first time we played I was buzzing from what could be described as a fun hangover for days. As I bounced around the court that night, I was filled with energy. I don’t think I stopped smiling and cannot remember laughing so much. We played for 90 minutes, and it felt like an instant. I got in the car afterward thinking, “That was fun! Fun is FUN!”

Pickleball has been just as fun the other two times we’ve played. I’m hooked. On pickleball, yes. But, even more so, on having fun for fun’s sake. Which has me thinking that pickleball may have a thing or two to teach me about having fun.

Moving is fun

First, it is fun to hop and bounce and to run and spin. In short, it is fun to move! I move a lot every day but running around a pickleball court feels different. I am not trying to get exercise. I am not trying to get stronger or more limber or to develop more endurance. I’m only doing it because it is – to go back to the above definition of fun – enjoyable, amusing, and 100% lighthearted.

Focusing is fun

Second, it is fun to concentrate on something that absolutely does not matter. As I play, I am focused on the ball, on my swing, on my stance, on where my partner is on the court, on the incredibly byzantine scoring system. As I play, I am not worrying about what happened a moment ago or what could happen next. I am in the moment and the moment is – you guessed it – fun!

Playing with friends is fun

Third, it is fun to play with other people. As an introvert, this is a really important discovery for me. I often joke that I could quite easily look up from what I’m happily doing and realize that I haven’t spoken to another person for the entire day, but it’s true! While I’m enjoying myself on my own, I am not having the fun – laughing, joking, and teamwork – that I have on the pickleball court with friends.

Win or lose – fun is fun

Finally, my foray into pickleball is teaching me that fun is not dependent on being good. And fun is not dependent on winning. Is winning fun? Heck yeah. Do I have any less fun playing when I lose? Actually, (and I’m a little astonished to be writing this) no. Not one whit of my enjoyment, amusement, and lighthearted pleasure has been dampened by not winning.

Take a time-out for fun – you won’t be sorry

As someone who loves to work, and who loves her work, this lesson in fun feels really important. It is good to take a time-out – to hop and bounce like a kid, to focus on something silly, to play with friends, to set aside goals, growth, and gains for some good, old-fashioned fun.

So, if you ever need a fourth, please ask me to play! But I beg you, protect my fun and don’t tell me if there are pickleball leagues and ladders. My hope is to keep playing for enjoyment, amusement, and lighthearted pleasure.

For years, my spiritual director has been encouraging me to make play more of a priority. I am so grateful for her wisdom – even when I can’t hear it until I’m ready. 😊