Adventures of Andrew Lenz and a Yellow Ball

Month: April 2019 (Page 1 of 4)

Hard Serving Visitor

Sunday, April 28, 2019 (Court Day #260)

Today was Day 21 playing left-handed.

I arrived at Derby Park about 15 minutes before opening time. Some jerk left an empty 2-liter plastic 7-up bottle and a tray of partially-eaten grocery store deli sandwich strewn on the court. There was a flow of spilled brown liquid along the base of tennis net as well. Lovely. Just what I want to deal with as I blow off and set up the courts.

Newbie Chris

Cal showed up early with a newbie named Chris—probably as pupil of his. I’d put Chris in his late 60s or early 70s. There was a woman named Carol whom I’d also never met. When I asked Cal if Chris has signed the waiver, Cal said that this was Chris’ second time out and had signed it previously. I was surprised with Chris—while he made some bad newbie shots, he made some wicked passing shots. He’ll likely need to develop his short game, but he’s already has a solid basic for his groundstrokes.

Monterey Visitors Greg & Dee

There was also a couple I’d never seen. Greg and Dee. Greg is about 6’ with salt and pepper shaggy hair. Dee has a shoulder-length mane of white hair. Greg said they’ve been in Monterey in a mobile home for about five years. They appear to be in their late 50s. Greg asked about Terry. I said that my understanding is that Terry and Karen bought another home in Arizona and had been spending their time there. (They will likely be back very soon when the heat rolls in for summer.) I watched Greg from afar. I’d only seen that kind of serve once before—Terry Long. Hard whipping action resulting in a very fast ball. It took a lot of focus to return those while playing left-handed and even then I lost at least one or two into the net each of the three games I played against him! I asked Greg later if he played tournaments. He said he had. I asked if he was a 4.0 or 4.5 player. He said he was the same as Terry, a 5.0, but he’d dropped to 4.5 due to an injury to his upper paddle arm.

I haven’t played right-handed for almost four months. It’s frustrating at times, but I can manage in the mix with the middle skill group of the club. While playing left-handed, I can clobber the base-level players. Advanced players can take me apart when I’m playing lefty.

Today was a better day serving. I think I missed only 4-5 over nearly 3 1/2 hours. We only had about 30 players today at peak, so there was very little waiting time—if any—between games.

During a game, near the end of the day, with most of the nets down, I raced after a ball quickly rolling across the entire width of the courts. I caught up, and absentmindedly switched hands and whacked the ball back toward our court using my right handed. Ouch! I’d been harboring hopes that my tennis elbow was getting significantly better, but it’s not even close where I’d hoped if a simple action like that cause noticeable pain. Rats.

Greg recommended athletic tape to help absorb the ball impact before it reaches the elbow. Dee showed the tape on her wrist. Greg then very generously gave me two small rolls of athletic tape he said he got from the dollar store. Each looked like it had a few feet on it.

By 12:22 p.m., everyone was done.

Number of days on a court: 260
Number of total hours: 711

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Getting The Hang of It

Thursday, April 25, 2019 (Court Day #259)

Today was Day 20 playing left-handed.

I pulled into the parking lot of Skypark in Scotts Valley right around 7 p.m. There were five courts set up. I didn’t have to wait long to get into a game and played solid through until I went home.

Janet, a woman whose name I can’t recall, Bruce (in blue), someone I can’t tell, Allan (shading his face) and Lauren.

Stuart was there. I have to remind Stuart that I’m playing left-handed on occasion. He likes to coach his partners.

It was a bit breezy, enough to affect lobs and gentle shots.

During one game, Bruce exclaimed from the sideline, “You jumped up in the air and swung and hit that left-handed! You are getting the hang of it!”

It was a frustrating evening. Drop shots were dropping into the net. Serves were inconsistent. Occasional shots were flying sideways off the court. Shots are still not reliably going where I want. And while some strokes are fine, for a few shots tonight, I had my paddle in a completely wrong position—like one quick shot where the end my paddle was pointed at the net . . . you won’t get many balls back that way!

I was in my car by 8:55 p.m. and on my way home.

Number of days on a court: 259
Number of total hours: 707.5

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

“I have a secret…I’m not left-handed!”

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 (Court Day #258)

I have been trying to ride my bike trainer. I rode in the morning as well as the evening yesterday and got a sore right calf as a result.

I got to Derby Park around 8:55 a.m. It was a beautiful day and with no clouds, it was almost too warm. It would climb into the mid-80s today. Attendance would be light . . . I think we hit 24 people, but we never set up the last of the six courts—very unusual.

I missed 6-8 serves today—just one of those off days. Still, I am playing better overall left-handed.

Josh—the older Josh related to one of my college tennis coaches—borrowed my Prince Response Pro paddle then later my Paddletek Tempest Wave paddle. He is considering a purchase. I let him borrow the Prince on Sunday. (I didn’t mention that previously.) He said he found the Tempest to have more “pop.” I don’t find a whole lot of difference between the two. They are similar weights and made by the same manufacturer. The Prince is a more round shape which is supposed to provide a larger sweet spot . . . maybe so. The Prince handle cross-section is more round and the Tempest is more rectangular. Either way, I should add another layer to grip tape to both of them . . . it’s supposed to help with tennis elbow.

I got a game in with a gray-haired man and a blonde woman whom I have never seen. Both were of average height. Josh was my partner. The man used about the most spin I’ve seen on a serve. The woman was decent/reliable, but not a particularly strong player. Afterward, I told the man, “Now I can tell you my secret. I’m not left-handed.”

The crowd thinned out early. It was likely the higher temperatures. I figured it was around noon, but when I checked my phone it was barely 11:30 and most of the players were already gone. I got in one last game and was heading out by 11:50.

My sore right calf didn’t affect my play and I only felt it once during the morning.

Today was my 19th day out playing left-handed. (I was curious, so I figured it out.)

Number of days on a court: 258
Number of total hours: 705.5

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

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