We believe pickleball is all about letting loose.
My brother and I fell in love with the game on the hottest day of summer 2020. It was at a pickleball tournament—that felt more like a fiesta. Every court showcased new personalities: on one, two big guys with bigger beards and bandanas whooped for joy at an around-the-post shot. On another, girls in matching tutus danced and cheered with every point.
The sound of pickleballs and pop music filled the air and we were hooked. It was hardly a tournament at all: it was a celebration of the people playing. We’ve since learned that this is the norm in the playful world of pickleball.
In pickleball, there’s nothing cooler than being unapologetically you. When you’re between the lines of a pickleball court, you’re free to be whoever you want.
But as pickleball grows, the pressure for it to conform grows, too. You can hear the messages creeping into the sport. Start dressing like an athlete. Dial back the cheering. Act like our cool sponsors. Turn down the music. Buy our “sleek” gear. The most expressive, colorful, social game in the USA is being told to take its image more seriously. It’s time, they say, for pickleball to start behaving like everyone else.
There’s nothing more lame than trying to be something you’re not.
Look at the ErneHead, our logo. He lets his beard flow freely in the summer air. He’s a showman and a sportsman. He fears nothing but the kitchen alone. We like to imagine him slamming a big “erne” shot between your legs, yippee-ki-yay-ing like a cowboy, and high-fiving everyone in the crowd.
Erne began with customizable paddles, because nothing says “express yourself” like making your own pickleball paddle. We spent the year creating pickleball paddles of your friends, families, faces, dogs, teams, and company logos in our apartment warehouse. The inside jokes you had us print were hysterical. 1,000 paddles later, the videos you sent us of gifts given and pickleball friendships made are still the highlights of our every workday. Thank you.
When we hosted our first Erne Pickleball Tourney, we saw pickleball fully unleashed when The Jingleballers, two girls in full elf costume, faced off against Go Canucks, two guys wearing Canadian flag capes. Just imagine it: 128 pickleballers, dinking, driving, and dancing to music all night, point after point, until midnight.
So let loose. Wear the high socks and the short shorts, if that’s your thing. Show us your little dance. We’ll bump the music. Life is too short to be anyone but yourself. Because while everyone else is taking life too seriously, two guys in Florida are unapologetically dancing and chest-bumping for ripping a shot into their buddy’s stomach.
We’re probably doing the same thing right now.
-Scotty and Matt