Friday, September 9, 2022 (Court Day #545)
I had pipe band practice last night. Being that it has been so hot this week—California issued heat warnings—the start time got changed from 6:30 to 7 p.m. and we didn’t finish up practice until about 8:45 p.m. There was no way I was going to drive to Scotts Valley for just 30 minutes of playing, so no pickleball for me last night.
My big debate for today was to play pickleball or not and, if so, for how long in preparation for my tournament with Jason tomorrow. I don’t want to wear myself out, but practice is nearly always good.
I arrived in Brommer at 9:15 a.m. and took the very last parking place. The courts were completely full and people were already waiting to get on to play.
I played a couple games during the mixed skill time. When the skill levels took affect a 10 o’clock, I ended up in a game with Matt (who I’d never met before, but is a very good player) and Hugh against Dave Cox and me. We did a rematch. Dave and I partnered over and over again.
Those were some good challenging games. I was going to leave at 11:30 a.m. then got talked into another game, and then I was going to leave again but then got talked into yet another game. Alan Cable changed out for Hugh in those last two games. I finally left shortly after 12:30 p.m.
LOTS of advice
For good or bad, Dave is always quick with advice—and plenty of it—for his partners. Today, that was obviously me. Dave and I have some differing opinions on certain strategies such as court positioning . . . such as, where we stand when receiving serves—Dave wants me to stand very much to the middle of the court. (As a receiver, I’d hate my partner to do that, it limits where I can return a shot.) Dave’s claim is that it puts pressure on the opponent. If I’m at the net, I typically shift AFTER our return has been made and move to either cover the sideline or cover the middle depending on where the ball is returned to. Dave has taken some workshops, so I always at least listen.
While at the net, I had a hard shot come to me and I popped it back up crosscourt in front of Alan. Dave saw what he thought was coming and turned his back and ducked to the impending slam. (Dave also did this in a tournament once as my partner and I wasn’t super happy about him doing that, but I was the one who popped it up.) The thing was, Alan slammed the ball into the top of the net and the ball dropped near our kitchen line. Dave could easily have returned the ball had he simply been facing the net. Each to his own.
I believe only missed one serve the entire session but my serves were not lollipops either. I was serving fairly fast and later I was focusing a bit more on getting my service very deep as opposed to overly speedy. It’s always nice when you make a serve and their return is back into the net or sails out wide or too deep—that happened a few times.
Tomorrow is coming
As long as I’m not too sore tomorrow, today was a good warm-up. I’ve got to keep my shots low, be patient, and just overall smart when playing.
Tomorrow’s tournament should be a lot of fun, I’m very much looking forward to it.
Tonight is Texas Mike’s going away party in Scotts Valley. It should be an enjoyable event.
I got an bulk email blast from Lance Cowart, and the new Managing Director of Field Operations, and USA Pickleball is looking to hire four salaried “Sector Leaders” to cover four regions of the United States: Western, Southern, Northern, and Eastern. The salary wasn’t given, just that it’s based on experience.
Pickleball in the Media
The New Yorker magazine came with some cartoons about Pickleball Gangs of New York:
I think I laughed at one of the cartoons, the rest were ”eh”. But still, pickleball is the “It” sport right now. Lots of publicity.
Goodbye to Mike Ballard
There were a number of pickleball people at Bruno’s to say goodbye to Mike and and his wife . . . Colleen, Binh, Jon Barlow and his wife, Tim F. and his wife, Jason and his wife, Matt Smith and his wife Carolyn, Debbie Bratby, maybe a couple of others. It was a good turnout. I’ll miss Mike. Good guy, good player.
Number of days on a court: 545
Number of total hours: 2,471
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