As in politics, a few famous families dominate pickleball, the fastest-growing sport in America. One is the Johnsons, of Florida. In January, on a breezy afternoon in Boca Raton, J. W. Johnson, a strapping nineteen-year-old with short brown bangs and a leather necklace, took to the court for a semifinal match at a tournament.
Johnson is taciturn, with an often impenetrable expression. He was seeded second in the tournament; his opponent, Zane Navratil, a twenty-six-year-old former C.P.A. from Wisconsin, was seeded first.
Pickleball, a tennis-like sport played on a smaller court, places a gentle strain on the body, and both men had the oxygenated flush of a long day of exercise. They began by dinking—softly bouncing the ball back and forth—before Navratil, with gazelle-like grace, executed two snazzy moves at once: an Erne (which involved a flying leap) and a body shot (which involved hitting Johnson in the gut).
He chuckled with contentment. Then, as a storm front moved in, the tide began to turn. “Wow, what an inside-out dink there from J. W. Johnson!” a commentator at a nearby media booth said. Johnson, jaw slack with concentration, took control.
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Courtesy of https://www.newyorker.com/magazine