Adventures of Andrew Lenz and a Yellow Ball

Month: October 2017 (Page 1 of 5)

Eye Ball

Sunday, October 29, 2017 (Court Day #89)

I arrived at Derby Park at 8:45, unlocked the bins and promptly got to work blowing off the courts. Wayne was the first arriver and helped set up a net. The first game was Mike and Tom S. against me and Wayne. I think we lost, but it wasn’t bad.

The second game, we rotated around. Mike and I won against Tom and Wayne, but it was harder than I was expecting. I had to still get warmed up and calibrated.

I got a compliment from Marianne mid morning after I’d played with her against Grita and (female) Terry. I signed up on the board in green (intermediate) and she said, “You aren’t intermediate! You are advanced!” I told her, “It depends on where I am. Here, maybe. Brommer, definitely not!” I remember hearing Terry Long say that in our club, “Advanced” is considered 4.0 and above. I am not a 4.0.

I had a new experience today, a ball flying very face directly at my face! Grita had rocketed a forehand. The ball was going to hit me smack in the left eye–it was just getting bigger and bigger! I got my paddle up and blocked it. The ball flew up somewhere and she won the point. There was no way I was going to do much with that one, it was just self-preservation!

Oleg and I took on Eric and Rolando. I was expecting an easier game, but Oleg and I still won 11-5 or something. Eric and I are fairly evenly matched (though I’d give him the edge) and Oleg (former open tennis player) is far better than Rolando. Rolando is getting better, but still is learning pickleball.

Jeff, the newish tennis guy, who’s appeared a few times now, played a game with me against Stuart and Christina. Christina is a weaker intermediate player. Stuart missed a shot here and there himself, but explained that he didn’t have his regular paddle. Jeff and I won something like 11-5.

Given, the state of the courts, we ended up playing as a group again. This time, I told Christina that I’d play with her against Stuart and Jeff. Stuart swapped for a different paddle, though still not his own. At one point, we were leading 6-2. “You are on fire!”, my partner said. Christina was figuring out the proper paddle position while at the net, as a matter of fact, after the first game, Stuart had giving her some instruction about that. It’ll come with time. We eventually lost 11-9. Their winning point came from me slamming a ball down into our own side of the net. “You didn’t have to hit it hard, you had me!”, said Stuart. Yes, placement over power. Something I’d told Rolando several times in a few games this morning.

Something I’ve heard before, but not for a while, was from Christina. “You are fun to play with!” I’d just made a great shot. I also wasn’t repeatedly correcting her when she made mistakes. We all make mistakes. I never try to give the same advice more than once in a game. And only if I know the person is a rank beginner. Otherwise, I usually just keep quiet or I might offer a subtle suggestion. But, hey, I’m still learning too!

I played fairly well today. But the competition wasn’t as strong. Brommer has the tougher crowd, generally. The Longs were here, but they played with the Blacks and Stuart and maybe Dean before he left. The only “red” i played against was Stuart in those two games. But even intermediate level games are opportunities to improve.

Play wrapped up about 12:45 and I locked up and was in my car at 12:53. Home to watch the recording of the Raiders losing badly to the Buffalo Bills. Not that I knew the result in advanced but painful!

Number of days on a court: 89
Number of total hours: 251

Click here to start at the beginning of this blog: PickleballJourney

Wake Up Call

Friday, October 27, 2017 (Court Day #88)

Amazingly, even with a stop at our business warehouse and a second stop at a local shop to drop off a saw motor for repair, I still got to Brommer by 9:00 a.m.

9:00 sharp. Leslie warming up with Dale (right) and John P. doing the same with a woman.

I was fortunate enough to play a game with Karen Long against her husband Terry and John Connor. An elite court . . . except for me, of course. I could tell during the game that any “opportunity shot” that Terry were offered would go to Karen. Terry wouldn’t clobber me with the ball. Being nice, Terry gave the more-capable Karen most of the work. Karen and I were up 7-6 and she turned to me before serving and said smiling, “Should we stop now? We’re ahead of these two guys.” It didn’t last long, we lost. But it was a good experience to see just how good a 5.0 player is. Terry is solid. Sure, there are shots he can’t make, but they have to be really great shots. Unforced errors are rare. It’s a whole ‘nother level!

Later, Eric and I played a game against Thed (“ted”) and James. We got clobbered 11-2. James was great. It was very difficult to get anything past him. They was his usual solid self. 

We had a rematch and lost 11-3. No question which players were the better team today! Were Eric and I having a bad day? Or just outclassed? Maybe a little of both–like me missing several serves–but mostly outclassed.

Early during that second game, I realized that I should be at work coordinating purchasing sandwiches for the staff. (I decided on an impromptu staff appreciation day and we bought all the staff deli sandwiches.) That second losing game ended at 11:45 and off I went! It turned out that my “right hand gal” was taking care of it and all I had to do was drop off my credit card on my way home to shower. Easy. Nonetheless, I shouldn’t have stayed any longer than I did!

Number of days on a court: 88
Number of total hours: 247.5

Click here to start at the beginning of this blog: PickleballJourney

Return to Skypark

Thursday, October 26, 2017 (Court Day #87)

I checked in with my wife and she had no complaints, so I opted to visit Scotts Valley after quite a while. I arrived at 6:40. Like clockwork, I was sitting on the bench by myself watching four full courts play. What’s that?  Three out of the last four visits? So crazy!

Eric and Dave watch Jerry’s successful passing shot.

I got in a number of games, the second with Alan as my partner. We won. It went to 12-11. As a matter of fact, I was on the winning team in every match I played tonight. The lighting was hard at first—very much affecting my depth perception. It was dark so we were relying on the court lights.

Kristin, the tall lawyer, asked where I’d been. “I’ve been going to Brommer on Friday mornings.”

Eric and I played against Jerry Louis and Terry. (Tall Terry, not Terry Long.) We won 11-5. Jerry wasn’t quite himself. Turns out that he was nursing a pulled hamstring. That makes sense. That and he was back from a tournament and was a little worn out. He was a sporting a new paddle that he really liked. It had Riverside printed on it and images of foxes. He said when bouncing balls off the paddle into the air, the new paddle was lively everywhere on the face and his old one was much more dead. So he replaced his old one.

In a game of Eric and me against Dave Cox and Terry, we were down 6-2. We went on a 9 point run and won 11-6. Terry said, “I let you win with all my mistakes!” While Dave wasn’t perfect, it definitely wasn’t Terry’s best game.

Though the last game was a tough battle and a long game. Eric and me against Dave Cox and Alan. 13-11. And it was back and forth. One side would break the other’s serve and vice versa, with the score staying the same or a team gaining one point, only to let the other team creep back. I got some crazy shots back over the net. I wish I had that game on video. We all had shot we’d want over, but there were some pretty cool rallies!

We wrapped up that last game at 8:25. Since I shorted myself the last couple of times, I’m counting this one as a full two hours.

I have to fix my “depower” shot. A player rifles a hit to me and runs up to the net. I have to drop it back over, but sometimes, I take off far too much and the ball drops a foot in front of me!

Eric and I both took shots that we should have left to each other. “Were you there?” “Yep.” “Oops!” It doesn’t happen super often, but maybe once each game tonight. Sometimes, it doesn’t happen at all.


I just have to share. It’s no secret that I’m a piper. Mark Renneson of Third Shot Sports included an interesting background for his latest video about serving “like you mean it”:

Number of days on a court: 87
Number of total hours: 245

Click here to start at the beginning of this blog: PickleballJourney

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