Adventures of Andrew Lenz and a Yellow Ball

Month: December 2018 (Page 1 of 3)

Gorgeous Day

Sunday, December 30, 2018 (Court Day #238)

Over the last 24 hours, we’ve been having some problems with our water heater’s pilot light going out and leaving us with cold water. Just before I was about to leave, my wife said there was no hot water again. I checked the pilot light and it had gone out. I lit it—it has a spark button—and got to the courts late for an opener. As I walked up, Allan and Wayne were already there. Allan teased me, giving me a hard time. “It’s already 9 a.m. When I was the site coordinator, I had everything set up by 9.” I checked my phone, “It’s 8:59 and I had a bit of an emergency.” I explained the situation then added, “You know that saying, right? ‘Happy wife, happy life!’ Yeah.” It was cold—my car read 46 degrees—but it was sunny and would warm up to be a gorgeous day.

After a game with against Tom S. and John P. with Wayne as my partner, Tom commented on my good play and said to me. “I’ve noticed the improvement.” He really liked some of my shots. He emphasized me being able to successfully hit difficult low shots back over the net.

The tennis elbow I’ve been dealing with for a month and a half was evident right from the first game. It’s a nasty lingering condition that doesn’t like to get better.

After I got a break after playing two games, I put on my ankle brace. I didn’t want to take any chances with my ankle giving me some trouble.

Busy day. We had about 45 people there today. Left in gray, is Rudy from south county.

My wife texted that the water heater had stopped working again. There goes any afternoon plans! I’ll be replacing our 10-year-old water heater. *rats*

Kim invited me into a game with her, her friend Cathy and Beth Black.  “We got our fourth!” It’s nice to get invited into a game with advanced players. Beth was a bit rusty. Kim and I beat her and Cathy 11-4.

We had a rematch but with Cathy as my partner.  After that game, I introduced myself to a man I’d see a few times before. His name is Tony—50-something, not the 20-something UCSC grad student Tony. “I’ve been enjoying watching your game.” That was nice to hear. A game that was exciting enough to enjoy watching.

Not long after, Beth and I teamed up against Stuart and Eric. It was a hot mess, as they say. Beth and I lost 11-0. Hey, every once in a while, you are going to get bageled. Beth, as I said was rusty, and we both made mistakes and weren’t meshing well. It happens.

The last game was Bruce (Janet’s husband) against Susie and Harry (whom I’d seen on Friday). It turns out Harry used to live in the area, but lives in Nevada now. He’s visiting for another week. He’s a pretty good player, on par with me.

As the session progressed, my tennis elbow deteriorated. I remember one backhand where my paddle meeting the ball resulted in a particularly noticeable stab of pain in my elbow. I think I missed at least half a dozen shots today from pain. At least my ankle held up better than a couple of days ago. Today, I played only 4 hours—things wrapped up at 1 p.m.—instead of 4 1/2 hours like Friday. Still a long session, of course.

Wrap Up

With my arm injury, it makes it hard to evaluate my play. I missed a good number of drop shots, more than normal, but I’m not hitting quite the same. My soft shots were often way too soft. There were a few points where I wasn’t tracking well enough and left an opportunity for a winner down the middle—that was taken advantage of a few times. It wasn’t chronic, but still, something to continue to work on.

I’m still slicing none of my shots. It’s too painful to do them.


As I watched my recorded game from earlier in the day of my Oakland Raiders losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in decisive fashion, I iced my right elbow. Then I used my 3-pound weight to do some forearm exercises. This tennis elbow is pretty rotten.

Last Sunday evening, while shopping for a speaker with and for my son Nicholas at Fry’s Electronics over in the Silicon Valley, I spied a back massager that slips onto a chair. $59. I texted my wife a photo of the box.


“Good, you can get your own massage.” (She’s far from into giving massages.) When I got home though, she said incredulously, “You bought that?” A few of us in the house tested it out . . . me, my son, my daughter’s boyfriend, then my daughter. It met with universal approval. I used it for the second time tonight. Boy, it felt great on my back which was fatigued from the session this morning. I can see why these types of things are very popular in Japan!

Number of days on a court: 238
Number of total hours: 655.5

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Painful Fun

Friday, December 38, 2018 (Court Day #237)

I pulled into Brommer Park at 9:00 sharp. My car thermometer read 51 degrees. But it was sunny. I headed to the courts in a T-shirt and shorts. When I got to the planter (which acts as a bench), I pulled out my ankle brace and put it on.

I got to warm up with Dan Bliss. Dan’s still recovering from some serious joint surgery and has to limit his play. He was very personable and kind when we warmed up. (Not abnormal, by any stretch.) I was doing very well with my dinking. 

I played an early game with a tall man named Harry. He’s a strong player. I think I’d seen him once before, he’s not a regular. There were quite a number of unfamiliar faces today. Maybe a dozen people that I didn’t know. It was an odd feeling.


The surprise of the day was Kim’s friend Cathy and I beat Leslie and Steve 11-4. That was a real shocker. I was playing well.

Kevin and I played a game against George and Art. Or maybe it was Harry and George or Harry and Art, I can’t remember. I was expecting a lopsided game, but instead, Kevin and I found ourselves having to make a comeback to win. I did get a big smile from Kevin when we walked off the court.

There was a pleasant surprise, Rob, my partner for the Golden State Games, who’s been AWOL for months appeared today. He said he’s just been working a lot do he hasn’t been playing pickleball. That and when the waves are particularly great, he surfs. We got in some games. 

Eric asked if I was going to play in the Paso Robles tournament in March. I told him I hadn’t thought about it yet. He said the registration starts on the 2nd. I asked if he was looking for a partner. He said no, that John P. asked him to be his partner now that Eric qualities for the 60+ bracket. I told him that they should do well.

The last games of the day were Binh and me against Steve and Rob. We lost every game. I figured Steve and Rob were the strongest opponents, so I’d asked Binh to play with me. I don’t mind losing as long as I’m challenged.

The last few games my ankle was starting to consistently bother me. I was dragging.  My tennis elbow was worsening to the point where nearly every shot hurt. 

When we finished the last game, I was stunned at the time, 1:35 p.m.! No wonder I was dragging and my ankle and tennis elbow were painful—I’d been playing for 4 1/2 hours! I was going to be very late getting to work. Oy.


Saturday, December 29, 2018 (No Play)

Today, my right arm was very sore. It gave me trouble. Even last night, just resting my arm on something, it was aching. Not good.

This afternoon, after seeing the suggestion in an old discussion thread on the Pickleball Forum on Facebook, I went next door to the sporting goods store and bought a 3-pound weight. (I asked for 2 pounds as recommended, but they didn’t have any.) Tonight, I rested my forearm across the corner of our dining room table with the weight in my hand. I slowly dropped my hand, flexing at the wrist, and lowered the weight. Boy, did that hurt! I lowered and raised the weight about ten times. I’ll need to continue doing that on a regular basis and strengthen the muscles, tenons, ligaments and whatever else is messed up.

Number of days on a court: 237
Number of total hours: 651.5

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

Limping Back At It

Wednesday, December 26, 2018 (Court Day #236)

I tried to find my ankle brace last night but had no luck. I still had no luck this morning so I opted to risk it and play without it. I was slow getting out of the house. I got to Derby Park about 9:30, a good half an hour after the start of play. Very unlike me, but considering I’m still fighting this lingering cold, I should get some slack. Work was closed today, taking Christmas as well as “Boxing Day” off—as long as I can remember, the family has closed both days to give a break to ourselves as well as to our staff.

It was partly cloudy with the sun peaking in and out. The temperature was good, starting in the mid-50s and climbing into the low 60s.

Rick and Eddie on the near side of the near court. 

I played an assortment of games. Nothing much to write home about. I had a distinct lack of energy. The illness had tapped my endurance. My tennis elbow is still a problem—particularly with overhead slams. Those hurt. I’ve avoided slices since those have proved painful. Still, I played pretty decently. I missed some drop shots and the net tape was too often a magnet for the ball, but not bad.

My right ankle held up ok, barely bothering me until the last game. Then it started to hurting with even some more routine movements.

Eric and I played Oleg and Art, Art being the weakest player. I do have to say that Art is continuing to get better. He’s one who is easy to underestimate. Boy, Oleg does not like to lose. When he’s on a team that is losing game and he makes a mistake, he’ll often verbally berate himself. He’s a great foil since he’s a stronger player, but when he gets heated, even though it’s not directed at anyone else, it can get slightly uncomfortable in the game. It doesn’t last long though. Not too long after the game is over, he’s back to himself.

Play wrapped up at 12:20 p.m.

I think I’m going to see a doctor about my tennis elbow. It might involve some physical therapy. Craig’s wife Leah said today that it took a very long time for her to get over it—a year, she said. Ouch!

I’m getting used to to the clear proteticve glasses. It’s annoying when the sun pops out when you opted for clear glasses instead of sunglasses, but regardless, I’m going to continue to protect my eyes after that close call a few weeks ago.

Number of days on a court: 236
Number of total hours: 647

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

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