Adventures of Andrew Lenz and a Yellow Ball

Month: January 2019 (Page 1 of 2)

More Playing Lefty

Wednesday, January 30, 2019 (Court Day #242)

I arrived at Derby Park at 9:07 a.m. Being that it’s Wednesday and not Sunday, Dave Allenbaugh was the site coordinator for the day, so I could afford to show up a few minutes after opening time if I felt like it.

My left pointer finger knuckle is still sore from getting hit dead on with a ball, but other than when I touch it, it feels fine. The big issue is the lingering tennis elbow.

Karl was talking to someone on the bench while I was playing, “Andrew is a lot more fun to play against when he’s playing left handed!”

I missed about half my serves today. I have the hardest time serving left-handed. Last time, it was tolerable, but today was not so great. The good news is that my tennis elbow is gradually improving, but I can see it taking another 3-4 months. Shaking hands with people is still painful. Just not as painful.

A new guy named Jerry came today. He’d never played before. I’d say he’s in the middle ground of starters. He can mostly hit the ball over the net, but isn’t great. Yet. There’s promise there. His biggest issue today was not getting up to the kitchen. He admitted it was his tennis background. Baseline.

In the last game of the day, playing against Karl, the new guy Jerry with Wayne as my partner, midway though, Karl said, “If you keep playing like that left-handed, we’ll have to make you play with your left foot!”

They may be impressed, but I’m feeling cumbersome and frustrated at times. I’m a good sport about it—it’s a game after all and I’m not in a tournament—I do find the humor in all of it, but still I want to play better. In the end, when I do eventually switch back to my right hand, it can’t hurt to have a better developed left hand to switch to as I’ve done here and there in the past.


I’ve been working on a pickleball project. I’m not quite ready to spill the beans, but hopefully soon.

Number of days on a court: 242
Number of total hours: 667

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

Is He Really a Righty?

Sunday, January 27, 2019 (Court Day #241)

I got to Derby Park to open up a little before 9 a.m. Wayne was already there. He’s a real early bird. It was a bit chilly—in the mid-50s—but it would warm up some and become perfect pickleball weather. I don’t know how it happened, but my blower battery had no charge. Annoying and embarrassing. Either I messed up or my wife kindly moved it to my “charged” spot. Or the battery spontaneously drained in two weeks. Who knows. Fortunately, there wasn’t too much debris on the courts.


In my very first game of the day, I went to hit a ball—I played lefty all day—but I mistimed it and the ball hit right on my index finger middle knuckle. That hurt. And my finger started swelling up. I used an ice cube from my water bottle to ice my finger. That helped. I iced it between games. Still, later in the afternoon, my finger was somewhat red, tender, and a little swollen.

My lefty serving is getting better, but still bad. I miss 1 in 4 or 5 serves. But I’m decent overall. Most games were close. I intentionally stayed away from the upper echelon players. In one game that later ended 13-11, Wayne and I were playing against Buz and … I’ve forgotten her name. Anyway, I overheard her asking Buz, “Is he really right handed?” He assured her that I was not a lefty, even though I’d just hit a winner against her using my off hand. If she’d ever noticed me playing right-handed, she’d have no question!

I do need to be careful. In one game there was a high ball to the middle with me on the left. I couldn’t get it with my left hand and switched the paddle to my right to reach it and hit it. Big mistake. That was painful. No right hand playing! Tennis elbow is far from healed. Tom S. said that he had it and it never truly goes away—not what I wanted to hear. He still wears a forearm strap while playing.

I was in my car by 1 p.m. heading home to take down Christmas lights. We were out of town last weekend to visit my son Nicholas at UCLA—hence no play last weekend, though it got rained out anyway!—so I didn’t get a chance to take them down last week. Work has been busy. And people who play Thursday nights in Scotts Valley have been meeting at a club gym—there’s a fee and a 20 person cap. I’ve been giving those a miss and just resting my arm and ankle.

Secret Project

I’ve been working on something the last week or two. It may be a complete waste of time, but maybe not. We’ll see.

Number of days on a court: 241
Number of total hours: 664

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

The Rise of Andrew Lefty

Sunday, January 13, 2019 (Court Day #240)

I got to Derby Park about 10 minutes before opening and got to work with my site coordinator duties of setting up. Visor Tom (Tom B.) had walked up just before me and helped.

Chris, Wayne, visor Tom B., Di warm up for their first game. Early arrivers.

It wasn’t long before I was in a game—playing left-handed. Boy. My serves are horrible left-handed, those will take some work. Still, it was great to get back on a court after a 12-day absence.

I was in a game with Janet as my partner against Ted B. and Christine. Janet said she loved my attitude when I missed my serve. I found it hysterical each time my serve went wild. To be honest, I appreciated Janet’s understanding and patience! The game was fairly balanced even with me only getting in about half a dozen serves in during a back and forth game that finally finished with a 17–15 loss for us. My lefty game is tolerable overall, most of the shots I can hit fine—including some winners—but they are countered by my inability to get my serves in!

My next game was with Gary (who’s about 80) against Brian and a woman I don’t know. At Stuart’s prompting, as site coordinator, I’d announced “play to 9, win by 1”—it was a busy morning—and it was merciful since Gary and I were put to rest 9-0!

Some On-Court PT Probing

John P.’s wife Diane—a retired physical therapist—poked around my arm evaluating my tennis elbow. She suggested ice and massaging the muscle as well as doing some exercises when the pain starts subsiding. That may be a while. She also suggested maybe going to a PT for treatment. (Diane is retired after all.)

My third and last game of the day was the four of us again but me paired with the woman against Gary and Brian. After one winner that I hit, Gary said, “You aren’t supposed to be able to hit those!” But outright winners were the exception for my shots. This game was more evenly matched, though I think I was still on the losing side. The score didn’t stick in my mind.

Colleen happened to ask how I was. I told her about my tennis elbow and she said hers went away quickly. Though when I described my symptoms, she realized that my condition was much worse than hers had been: “Mine only hurt when I played.” I told her that it developed after the tournament that we’d played together in November when we’d won the silver medal. “It was my fault!” “Nah, it was my fault. And it was still worth it!”

My wife and I would be leaving town at 11 a.m. to visit her mom, so I was in my car heading home early by 10:30. I left John P. in charge.

My biggest short term concern—aside from getting better—is developing my lefty serve. It’s the glaring weak spot in my game for the time being.

Friday, January 18, 2019 (No Play)

Boy. It feels like forever. I played last Sunday, but it feels like two weeks easy. I’ve played only twice this year—twice in 18 days. That’s the least I’ve played since I took up the sport.

The good news is two-fold. One, the pain is changing. It feels different. It’s hard to finger down exactly, but it’s better. Two, I shook someone’s hand two days ago and I didn’t nearly collapse in pain. As a matter of fact, it didn’t hurt at all. Woah. That’s a big change. Extending out my arm straight still hurts. The tip of the forearm bone at the elbow is still tender. Splaying out my fingers still hurts. But it is definitely getting better. As my doctor said, it’s slow going.

Number of days on a court: 240
Number of total hours: 661

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

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