2023 Predictions

I am late for making 2023 predictions but this is mainly a fun exercise as no one is very good at figuring out the future. Based on my mediocre abilities to pick winners in my NFL pool, the reader should not expect great foresight here either.

Politics:

  • Neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump will run for president in 2024.
  • The leading candidates as 2024 Presidential nominees will be Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida (who will be helped by vaccination scandal, see below) and Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of Michigan.
  • President Joe Biden will pardon Donald Trump in the fall of 2023 as a result of multiple convictions against Trump. Biden will say that the pardons were initiated “to promote national healing and unity.” The pardon and subsequent agreements not to imprison Trump and members of his family will be a result of negotiations and agreements between the Department of Justice, the New York Attorney General, the Atlanta Attorney General and Trump’s attorney team. Disgraced, Trump will fade from public view.
  • Melania Trump will divorce Donald Trump.
  • In retaliation for the conviction and imprisonment of January 6 conspirators, a devastating domestic terroristic attack will occur and kill thousands of US citizens.
  • Vladimir Putin will suffer a “health issue” mid year and negotiations between Russia and Ukraine will begin in mid 2023.

Photo by Virgil Cayasa

Sports

  • The Phillies will finish as a wildcard team in 2023 but they will not make it to the World Series.
  • The Eagles will make it to the NFC championship game against the 49ers and will lose due to key injuries in the offensive line and defensive secondary.
  • Tom Brady announces retirement after Tampa Bay loss in NFL playoffs.
  • The 76ers will lose in the second round of the NBA playoffs. 4 games to 1. This will be James Harden’s last season with the team. Joel Embid will request a trade at the end of the season. Doc Rivers gets fired.

Business

  • The Dow will finish at 36000 on 12/31/23; NYSE at 4300.
  • Twitter files bankruptcy.

Science

  • Scandal and controversy regarding the rollout, safety and efficacy of the various Covid vaccinations.
  • Frenzy will occur when an UFO sighting is witnessed by thousands and documented through video and radar.
  • No progress in finding treatment or prevention of Alzheimer’s.

Think, not Dink Pickleballs

Since I could not play pickleball this weekend, I chose to write about it…

The Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP), and Professional Pickleball Association (PPA), similar to the the battle between the American Football Conference vs. the National Football Conference in the 1960s are trying to “poach” players for their respective organizations. The PPA is offering three year contracts to various pro players. This may provide the financial opportunities for many pickleball players to leave their day jobs and focus on their sport. The expectation, is that like football, these organizations will find both business and financial reasons to merge at some point.

Commercialization of pickleball will continue to expand. There will be more playing venues, tournaments, clinics, clothing lines, paddles, magazines and podcasts to attract an affluent and receptive customer base. I don’t doubt that we will soon see $300 pickleball paddles…

On that note, I wonder when there will be online gambling on professional pickleball tournaments?

Recommended pickleball podcast: Dink Pickleball

Recommended YouTube pickleball instruction videos: anything by Morgan Evans. He has this crazy serve that is almost unreturnable. He is also the best commentator on pickleball.

I hope that Simone Jardim has a successful 2022. She announced that she would retire at the end of this year. She has been beset with injuries, personal difficulties and former tournament partners abandoning her. I remember the verbal online abuse when she withdrew from parts of tournaments last year. Turns out she had to withdraw from all her injuries, not from sandbagging.

Personal Thoughts and Reflections:

My 2022 Resolution: Invest time in drilling and practice. I have witnessed players who probably have increased their ratings by .25 to .50 by participating in weekly pickleball drills.

Presents I wish I found under my Xmas Pickleball Tree:

Willie Palm’s lobs
Linda Zarrilli’s temperament
Liz TE’s energy
Sean McCloskey’s serve
Jay Doskis drop shot
Manny Lai’s forehand drive
Troy Clemmer’s court coverage
Lee Collins’s backhand volley
Julie Close’s angled shots
Reuven Cohen’s spin shots
Lucy Kovalova

The local game is changing exponentially. On the plus side, we have more places to play, increased opportunities for clinics and training, more tournaments and membership in South Jersey Pickleball continues to grow. However with the growth comes challenges. Even with the additional venues, there are still sizable waitlists at various Meet-ups frustrating many. The wide community of South Jersey pickleball is slowly being re-organized into smaller units of informal pickleball groups where you can only play or participate by invitation only. In some cases, the criteria is not how you play, but how you fit in. I understand the exclusivity, up to a point, if it is based on competitive criteria. I just hope that South Jersey Pickleball does not become a group of smaller locked communities.

My Predictions for 2021 (12% Chance of Being 100% Right)

Everyone makes predictions though most people don’t document or publish them. People make predictions as to if and when it will rain, when the mail will arrive, whether the driver with the right turn signal on will actually make a right turn etc. One bases their lifestyle on spending based on their prediction of how the economy will do and the security of their job.

Many of my predictions are contingent on our progress or lack of regarding the Covid pandemic. Most “experts” are predicting that things will normalize by late Spring or early Summer. They are counting on most people getting the vaccine and a herd immunity taking place. I am not that confident given how so called experts whether they are doctors, scientists, Fox News hosts, U.S. Presidents and epidemiologists have not been very accurate in their projections and timetables so far.

I’ve polished my crystal ball and here are my 2021 predictions: 

photo by Gantas Vaičiulėnas
  1. The vaccination rollout will be slower than projected and many (maybe most) adults will not get the vaccination. In addition, I think we are in for more unpleasant surprises and strains with the virus. I think that the rate of infections and deaths will drastically decrease by the beginning of summer 2021 but that another 600,000-700,000 American lives will be lost by the end of 2021 bringing the Covid death total in the United States to over 1 million.
  2. Next huge medical challenge is addressing patients experiencing long term effects from Covid infection affecting their quality of life. 
  3. People will still be reluctant to travel. Cruise line industries will resume voyages in fits and starts beginning mid summer 2021. Hotels and tourist destinations may regain 50-60% of anticipated traffic in summer 2021.
  4. Republicans will win Senate seats in Georgia even if they have to contest it to the U.S. Supreme Court. Another two years of legislative gridlock guaranteed!
  5. The stock market has factored in a full or almost full recovery from Covid. Expect some bumps along the way! What if the vaccine does not deliver the expected immunity or the number of adults getting the vaccination falls below 50%? Will people who got the vaccine go into stores, restaurants or other public places with those who refuse to get vaccinated? Hoping for a 5-7% increase in the S&P by year’s end but will not be surprised if it dives by those percentages.
  6. Expect some unusual drama or disturbances around January 20, Joe Biden’s inauguration.
  7. Contingent if Joe Biden is sworn in, expect that his three main priorities are organizing the fight against Covid relying heavily on Dr. Fauci and scientists; rebuilding alliances with our friends in Canada, France, Mexico and Germany; and providing additional aid and stimulus to small businesses and individuals suffering from the pandemic.
  8. No tax increases for anyone this year.
  9. A plethora of books, documentaries, articles and speeches will begin about the Trump presidency. Many Trump appointees, spokespeople and supporters will try to distance themselves from Trump to save their own reputations, careers and credibility. Their efforts at redemption will largely fail.
  10. Kansas City Chiefs will win Super Bowl again.
  11. Gonzaga is the best NCAA Men’s basketball team as I write. However they won’t win the NCAA title. Expect an “underdog” with 7-8 losses to come in and surprise.
  12. Expect limited seatings (30-50% capacity) for sporting and other entertainment events starting in Spring 2021.
  13. Eagles won’t trade Carson Wentz. Wentz will start for the Eagles in the 2021-22 season.
  14. Expect a fourth or fifth place seed for the 76ers in the NBA Eastern Division playoffs. If Kevin Durant stays healthy, it will be the Nets vs. The Lakers in the Finals.
  15. Crystal ball looks to a good playoff run by the Flyers; a dismal season for the Phillies.
  16. There will be more credible sightings and documentation of UFOs.
  17. Pickleball will continue to rise in popularity as more 30-40 year olds play. The drop serve rule will be permanent as it creates more drama (and aces) around the serve and return. 
  18. Pickleball singles will increase in popularity and singles matches will be showcased on telecasts and streaming services. Tyson McGuffin vs. Ben Johns is to pickleball singles what Borg-McEnroe was to tennis. South Jersey player Frank Anthony Davis is very competitive.
  19. The effects of quarantining schools and students due to Covid will be felt for decades. How many careers for scientists, entrepreneurs and researchers were lost due to the interruptions in education?