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Is it the Indian or the Arrow?

Updated: Feb 25, 2023

Please answer the multiple choice question below and be prepared to explain/defend:

I have recently experienced the following at open play when someone saw me with my recently parted with paddle:

A) Victim of Unsolicited Advice

B) Constructive Criticism Recipient

C) Internal Stubborn B#itch Survival Mode (a glossing over and some head nodding to appear to agree)

D) All of the Above

The correct answer is:

D) All of the Above

Due to my increased playing time as of late, it has become glaringly obvious that there was a changing of the guard and I was not on my watch. Gone are the days when I would look around and be comforted by the sight of my Z5 Tribe - Roll Call! blue, green, red, pink - we were all there, PRESENT! Somewhere along the way, my Z5 Tribe started to retire, one by one or from a collective buyout, one can never be sure, but there I was standing alone. Blue Z5, reporting for duty amongst strangers.

I started to receive unsolicited advice about moving on from my Z5. Outdated technology, dead spots, feels like a brick were peppered in to conversations on more than one occasion. At first I wrote this off, one of my triggers in this life is when someone tries to impart their opinion on me without permission - if I want it, I'll ask for it, please and thank you. Perhaps it was the planting of the seed or maybe I was just ready to dedicate myself to Pickleball more, but the day finally came that I was ready to break up with my Z5, (it's not me, it's you), Enter my shiny new Diadem Warrior. He's taller, thinner and is made up of all the best pieces parts. The first time I went out with my warrior, I made sure everyone who gave me paddle advice saw me with him. If I made a great shot, I would joke that it was the new paddle - it was a weird compulsion, so very "dad jokey" of me, listen, it's a life practice, not a life perfect. My opponent, (who has a great sense of humor), asked me, "have you ever heard it's the indian, not the arrow?" and I started laughing but man has that resonated with me. My new paddle does feel better, like butter, but is it the paddle aiding my game or is it merely the fact that I have upped my Pickle time and that is is what is sharpening my skills just a little? The world may never know.

I have always found it to be an interesting conundrum that the better you play, the better equipment you require. Shouldn't this be an inverse relationship? If I'm a novice, one might think that I would benefit from all the aids and technologic advances....but if I am an advanced player, should I not be able to play with just about any paddle I'm handed because it is my personal skill level that is my greatest strength and not my arrow, err, I mean my paddle?

The old adage of the indian and the arrow is applicable to so many situations, sports or otherwise. I can confidently say that in my Pickle experience, the answer is BOTH THE INDIAN AND THE ARROW ARE IMPORTANT. We work together like the sea anemone and the clownfish. We have a symbiotic relationship. You put the work in, until it works out - and when you have more tricks in your bag, a more advanced paddle can help you achieve greater touch.

Mic Drop.

The answer is, there is always better equipment out there... the question is whether you're prepared to elevate your game to justify the need for the latest and greatest.

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