Misadventures of Andrew Lenz and a yellow ball

Month: May 2018 (Page 1 of 2)

Overtime. Big time.

Thursday, May 24, 2018 (Court Day #152)

I haven’t been playing much pickleball lately. And it’s not for lack of desire. Staffing at our family’s business took a dramatic turn for the worst some weeks ago. This week, Monday started it off with a 13-hour day. Tuesday, 12. Wednesday, 13. 38 hours in three days. This kind of schedule leaves no time for pickleball. Today was only a 9 hour day. I left to get some exercise.

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I got to Skypark a few minutes after 7 p.m. I spent a few minutes on the bench with Kris until a game opened up. She was playing left-handed. She shared that she’s has severe tendinitis in her right wrist. Obviously, she loves playing pickleball to be out there left-handed.

I played decently tonight. I pushed the envelope on my serves—missing some—and failed a number of times on my forehand slice service returns, but overall, I was satisfied with play. I had some really excellent shots that happened very quickly. Had someone asked in advance if I’d be able to make those shots, I would have said “no way”. Then again, I had some easy shots sail long or wide. Just lame. But still, overall, pretty well.

I asked Rob the time. “8:46.” We stowed the net and hit the road.

Number of days on a court: 152
Number of total hours: 423

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Maybe not luck.

Thursday, May 17, 2018 (Court Day #151)

I had to finish a project at work and couldn’t leave until about 10 minutes to 7, already 20 minutes into the session in Scotts Valley. I raced home, changed, then headed straight out to Skypark. I got there about 7:15.

I pulled up and easily parked right at the courts. Eric was back from his trip out of state. (I’d tried to set up a private game on Tuesday night, but people were gone or busy or didn’t reply soon enough and I just ended up working late instead.)

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Left to right: Olga, Oleg, a man, Lauren, Eric, a woman, Rochelle.

There were four nets set up. I found myself waiting on the bench with two other players. We didn’t have to wait long.

I played a few games. Things got more interesting when I got into a game with Eric. We played a game against Kent and Barb (tall, ponytail) whom Kent was going to be playing mixed doubles with. That was a fun game. Eric and I won fairly handily. Afterward, Kent said we’d been “picking on Barb”—not in a bad way, just that she was getting more balls hit in her direction. As I told him, it wasn’t a conscious decision, it was “whichever player was in the weaker position got the ball.”

In that game, there was one shot where we were all at the net with Barb across from me with Eric to my right. She attacked a ball, driving it outside of my left foot. I reached down, got it and returned it low down the baseline as a winning passing shot. It was a really good shot. I chalked it up to luck. Hours later, however, I realized that I’d executed the exact same winning shot against Oleg about two weeks ago! Hmmm. Once can be luck, but twice, maybe there is some skill involved after all.

The next game was Eric and me against Kent and Mark Dettle. Again, it was a pretty lopsided game. Mark is a decent player, though if he made fewer unforced errors he be more of force.

For the last game, we mixed it up. I offered to play with Mark. Surprisingly, Mark and I took then lead by a few points and held that for much of the game. In the end, we lost 11-9. It was a fun game. While Mark lost the last three points for us, he had a smattering of really, really nice shots in that game that I commended him for at the time they happened.

I felt really good about tonight. My bad shot/good shot ratio was very positive. I can confidently say I was one of the top four players there tonight out of 19. I’d give #1 to Oleg. Kent, Eric, and I would round out the four but I was playing really well. I made my mistakes, but not all that many of them compared to my normal play.

Play ended about 8:50. At least there was access to the court lights this time!

Number of days on a court: 151
Number of total hours: 421.5

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And gone again.

Sunday, May 13, 2018 (Court Day #150)

Today would be a short one. My nephew was having his 1st Communion at 10:30, so I opened Derby Park but needed to leave by 9:45 to get home, shower, get ready and be at the church before 10:30.

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Cathy, Kim, and Tom S. warmed up while I finished blowing off the courts. 

Kim invited me to round out their court and after some additional warm up, Cathy and I were teaming against Kim and Tom. It was a good game. Kim and always challenge to play against. I was not playing sharp. I had a few drop shots fall short into the net. And most of the ones that got over were high enough to be attacked either out of the air or after the bounce. Not good. Cathy and I lost 11-6.

No one was waiting, so we mixed up the teams and played again. Kim and me this time. It should have been a lopsided game. Kim is stronger than Cathy and I’m stronger than Tom. And at first, Kim and I were up 9-4. But they came back and tied it up 9-9. After a little back and forth, Kim and I finally closed out the game 12-10.

I checked my phone for the time: 9:45 a.m. on the nose.

”Andrew can join us.” It was Dean inviting me to play in his game. Drat! That would have been great! Alas. “I’d be honored, but I have to go,” I explained. I called over to Stuart. “Stu! It’s all you!” He called over, “The passing of the torch!” I’d asked Stuart to close Derby for me since Dave Allenbaugh is out of the country and John P. had Mother’s Day plans.

Off I went, a bit disappointed in my play and sad that I couldn’t stay to try and improve on that.

Maybe I can get a private evening game together this week.

Number of days on a court: 150
Number of total hours: 420

To start at the beginning of this blog click on “1st Post” in the menu above.

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