Adventures of Andrew Lenz and a Yellow Ball

Month: March 2019 (Page 1 of 3)

Dedicated at 250

Thursday, March 28, 2019 (Court Day #250)

While driving home after work, I was thinking that I was really tired. I was thinking, “Do I really want to go to pickleball?” Of course, once I get there, I always have a good time. I greeted my wife, my son and his friend, quickly changed and drove off at 6:50 p.m.

I was almost to the freeway exit for Scotts Valley when the sky opened up. I remember this happening once before—that time, I took the exit, crossed the overpass, then back onto the onramp headed for home.

This time, as I sat at the traffic light waiting to U-turn back on the freeway for home, I changed my mind. There was blue sky toward the courts. The rain had been heavy but short. I turned left onto an adjoining road, went down a ways to turn around back on the intersection so I could continue to the courts. Then I changed my mind again. It was drizzling just a wee bit. I was considering pulling into the right lane for home, but a couple cars were coming up to fill that lane. Considering I was only about a mile from the courts—about 4-5 stoplights down—I decided to take the chance, hoping that I’d see some dry ground as I got closer. Nope, wet. Closer. Nope, wet. Closer. Nope, wet. The joining side street. Nope, wet. The courts street. Nope, wet. Drat. I saw Janet’s and Bruce’s car. There were pickleball players at the courts still. Maybe they’d be doing dinking games or drills. Something.

The diehard pickleball players out after the brief downpour.

Beth Black and her husband David were dinking with Oleg. “Hey, Andrew! We need a fourth!”

“As long as you don’t mind me playing left-handed!” I went on to explain my battle with tennis elbow, etc.

I dinked back and forth with David who opted to switch to his left hand too. He did quite well. As did I. The net is often my strong suit for playing left-handed. Things got switched up and I did some net/baseline hits with Beth for a few minutes. I’m not nearly as good at that. She gave me some great advice: “Get your right hand back there with the paddle so you can swing your whole body.” I tend to rely on just swinging my arm without using my body for power. “Make sure you are keeping your eye on the ball. It looked like you lifted your head on that last one.” I made an effort to watch the ball into my paddle face. It did help. Thanks, Beth.

We spent about ten minutes wiping off the court with towels. We got into a routine of Oleg and I twisting out the towels as a team and Beth and David dragging towels back and forth over the court. Eventually, we figured it was safe enough to playing a game where we outlawed lobbing. David and I lost. That was even with Beth and Oleg hitting more to David. I did enough damage to our team myself when the ball came to me, I did get in some good shots though. I wasn’t all that horrible. It was 11-7 in the end.

I got in a few games with Stuart, Rochelle, and Lauren—rotating partners. My play is still a mix of completely wild shots with good shots. While my serves weren’t as deep as they should be—some were in deep—I missed only a couple of my serves over the course of the night.

Progress, but a way to go before I can play even at a marginal 3.5 level. I’m playing at a low 3.0 level right now. Frustrating, but that’s the way it goes.

My play wrapped up about 9 p.m. One game was still going, but you need four to play. We only had three, might as well call it a night.

So, how’s the elbow?

If I extend my right arm straight out with my fingers pointed straight out like Superman, my elbow hurts right at the bone. If I leave my arm extended and raise hand with my fingers up like I’m about to push on a wall, then the muscle/ligament/tendon (that extends from the bone up my forearm) hurts as well. Man. It’s crazy. It’s been nearly three months since I’ve played right-handed, and I’m lucky if I’m 1/3 of the way to recovery. It’s still significant pain. That’s with icing a few nights a week and massaging the base of my forearm several times a day.

What’s weird is my upper right arm has been sore for weeks now. But I haven’t been using it. I don’t know if it’s related to my elbow issue or not. One more thing to deal with. Gag.

This was not how I envisioned spending my 250th day on the courts. Dealing with a significant perpetuating elbow injury and playing left-handed.


Number of days on a court: 250
Number of total hours: 687

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


Lefty Loosey

Sunday, March 24, 2019 (Court Day #249)

I arrived at Derby Park at 8:50. I was the first one there—Wayne didn’t beat to the courts me, for a change! It would be a beautiful day with perfect pickleball weather. Sunny and warm enough to be very comfortable in shorts and a T-shirt but cool enough not to get sweaty easily.

The two City of Santa Cruz nets were back. Cal must have returned them after he took them last week.


Attendance topped out at about 32 people today. We had a couple visitors from Montana, a man and an Asian woman named Lynn. I didn’t have much interaction with them, but they seemed very nice when I had them sign the waiver.

James, the excellent player, made an appearance today and I got to play a game with him. James and Gary versus Binh and me. Binh and I both got nailed with the ball by James. I got hit in the hand twice and Binh got one right in the chest. I think it ended 11-7 with us losing. James keeps you on your toes!

Carl hamming it up for the camera as Gary sits and James leans. Wayne in blue and Ted B. in red can be seen at the far left.

My tennis elbow has taken a small turn for the worse this past week. As has my right ankle, it’s not constantly painful, but at certain angles or rotations, it’ll hurt.

A man, whom I don’t play with much, when he was leaving said, ”Oh. You’re playing left handed—I did remember you being better.” He had been puzzled why I wasn’t as good of a player has he recalled. Yeah, left handed.

Just when I was about to leave, the visitor from Montana overheard me mentioning my tennis elbow and how I was playing left handed, he voiced approval and a big “attaboy” grin.

It was almost 1 p.m. I left Stewart in charge, stowing away all that I could in the club storage bins. Cal was teaching on one court using a City net and the Montana visitors were playing at the other City net against two locals. A grandmother and her daughter came to play tennis with two little kids, so we moved one net over to clear a tennis court and accommodate them. They were very patient and nice.

Today was a definite step backward on my serving. While I made most of them, I missed maybe 20-30%. Not good.

As I was winding down in bed, YouTube suggested this video uploaded two days ago:

This new website looks really good. A new modern features-rich interface for is to be rolled out in May. Right now, the current site looks like it was coded 20 years ago by someone with no design sense and no background or training in “user experience”. It’s ugly, clunky, and inefficient. It looks like the websites that I helped construct in the late 1990s when HTML was still a new thing and CSS was yet to come. Of course, it may be next year before I’ll be able to enter a tournament, so for now the update is irrelevant for me. Melody was asking today if was in any upcoming tournaments. Ha! No way.


Monday, March 25, 2019 (No Play)

This may seem a bit weird to talk about cutting toenails. But this morning, I cut the toenails on my right foot. No biggie. Normal. But when it was time for my left foot, I simply moved the clippers to my left hand and started cutting. My immediate thought was, “Woah. That’s an ambidextrous moment!” The playing left handed has flowed over into other aspects of my life. Crazy.

Rain is expected Wednesday, but I have a scheduled meeting with a client that morning, so rain is A-ok with me that day.

Tonight, I saw that Joe Baker released a new pickleball video today. I haven’t seen a bad one from him yet. This one is a good one too.


Number of days on a court: 249
Number of total hours: 685

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


A Little is Better than None

Thursday, March 23, 2019 (Court Day #248)

I had a board meeting and couldn’t get to Scotts Valley until 8 p.m. Late. But any playing is better than nothing. I only got three games in. All were with Bruce and Janet with an assortment of players to fill out the four.

img_2646Under the lights. Stewart, Sharyl, someone, Greg, Christine, Olga.

Bruce and I teamed up for a couple of hysterical games where we both played left handed. Bruce did surprisingly well, though he mentioned he’s been playing ping pong left handed against his wife Janet—otherwise he’d destroy her since he’s been playing ping pong since he was a kid. It translates well to pickleball, plus Bruce is a natural coordinated athlete. Bruce and I lost both games but did better in the second.

The last game was Olga and me against Janet and Bruce, with he and I still both playing left handed. Olga was serving very well and playing very well overall. She’s gotten much better. Olga carried our side to a win, though I did serve some really strong left handed serves that I would have been proud to have served right handed. That’s a first.

Folks were all done about 8:45.

Forum Project

I’ve decided to let my new forum sit. My wife and I will be gone for a week leaving our house and dog in care of a young woman. When we get back, I can see about getting the forum going.

Number of days on a court: 248
Number of total hours: 681

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

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