Adventures of Andrew Lenz and a Yellow Ball

Month: May 2019 (Page 1 of 5)

Harbinger of Death

Friday, May 31, 2019 (Court Day #274)

Day 35 playing left-handed. (35th day out.) Tennis elbow.

I went to physical therapy this morning for an 8:30 appointment. Being that I was there early, Ruby saw me at 8:20. She gave me a new exercise: stand in a doorway, face the door frame, elbow down against my ribcage, forearm out with palm up and hand rotated out, rest the pinky side of my hand against the door frame then turn my body away from my hand to stretch out the shoulder. She’s been testing my grip strength with a device each visit and my right arm is improving.

By 8:45, she was done working on my right arm and shoulder and I was off to Brommer Park. I pulled into the lot a few minutes before the 9 a.m. start time. I’d packed some nose tissue. I’m still clearing my throat and blowing my nose from this cold that’s dragging on, but at least I don’t have the sore throat anymore and I don’t have the sinus pressure, only drainage.

First game of the day. Eric S. and Dan take on John P. and Barb.

It got busy quickly and Dan Bliss announced that games were now going to 9 instead of 11. Leslie counted and we had over 50 people before even 10 a.m. rolled around.

My title for this blog post is a bit dramatic! But Binh and I were both not playing well. If we play like this at the tournament, even in 3.0, it’s going to be a miserable day on Sunday.

Binh and I played a game against Leslie and Dean. We were in for it. Dean was taking it easy on us, but even then, we lost 9-0. We were popping up shots, hitting balls into the net . . . it was bad. Subpar for us. Binh said part of the  problem for him was he was trying extra hard and messing up as a result. Maybe that applied to a certain extent with me as well, but playing lefty becomes more and more obvious the stronger your opponents who can take advantage of any little opportunity to attack!

We did get better later, but it was still not a good performance.

A nice surprise today was a visit by Jerry Louis. Jerry had moved to Arizona but was back until Tuesday, he said. I would have loved to show him my improvement, but with my not using my right arm, that’s kind of hard!

I’ve opted to stay with the Prince Response paddle. I think I may return to the Tempest Wave and see if that helps with my play. And see if that makes any different with my wrist. I’ve played a ton in the last week, so it’s been a stress test of sorts.

My last game ended at 12:03, then it was home, then to work.

Number of days on a court: 274
Number of total hours: 754.5

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Frustration at 750

Thursday, May 30, 2019 (Court Day #273)

Day 34 playing left-handed. (34th day out.) Tennis elbow.

I had so many things going on, I forgot about Thursday night pickleball until my calendar reminded me with an email around closing time! At work, we had a customer who appeared 15 minutes before closing and kept us half an hour after closing time. My cashier wanted to go see the first game of the NBA finals with the regional Golden State Warriors playing. Me? I wanted to get to pickleball, though I did listen to the game in my car on the way to Scotts Valley. The Warriors were down by 10 points at halftime, which is when I got to Skypark at about 7:20 p.m.

I played a number of games before I left at about a quarter after 9.

Sharyl noticed my paddle after I played against her and Olga with Shawnte as my partner. (We lost, Shawnte is pretty green yet and I’m playing left-handed!) She said she has a Prince Response paddle for sale—she started experiencing wrist pain when  she started using it so she stopped. This did get me to thinking, Could that be part of the cause of my tennis elbow? When did I switch over from the Tempest Wave? Regardless, I did notice my left wrist aching a bit coming into tonight. I’ve played a lot in the last week, six times in eight days?

The last three games were Olga and me against Oleg and Shawnte. Olga and I lost pretty lopsided games until the last where we actually lead at times and only lost 11-9. To my credit, I only failed to return a few of Oleg’s powerful serves in those three games.

Olga and her husband Oleg pack up as Shawnte gives a smile.

Overall, tonight was frustrating. I was doing my best to get into “tournament mindset” during games, yet still shots occasionally went wild despite my best intentions and focus. I did bestter serving, missing only a handful over the two hours.

Tonight, I didn’t bother to explain to anyone that I was playing left-handed. People either already knew or I didn’t care. It came up regardless. Like Larry asked how the elbow was doing. And Stuart mentioned it during his game with me.

So frustrating.

Number of days on a court: 273
Number of total hours: 751.5

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

Of Bagels and Tournaments

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 (Court Day #272)

Day 33 playing left-handed. (33rd day out.) Tennis elbow.


Yesterday afternoon, Binh texted asking if I had Art’s contact information. I let him know that I didn’t. He said Art had asked him to be his partner on Saturday at the San Juan Bautista tournament. SBJ tournament? I knew nothing about it! In a later text, Binh “confessed” that he is signed up to play with Mark G. in a tournament in Sunnyvale in August the week after Binh and I are to play in the Cabrillo Tournament. I emailed Jen, the organizer for the SJB tournament, asking for details. It turns out men’s doubles is on Sunday, not Saturday. I forwarded that information to Binh’s email.


I got up and my back was sore. I arrived at Derby Park at 9:15. Dave Allenbaugh had jury duty so he got Tom S. to be the site coordinator in his stead.

Binh talked to Art and Art said he was fine with Binh playing with me this weekend. Good news for me.


I played a game with George as my partner. There was one shot down the middle slightly to his side where I got greedy and took the shot. I should have left it for his forehand so he could slam it instead of me simply getting it back over the net with my overly-stretched weaker left-handed forehand. George gave me a polite “talking to” afterward on the bench. He was most certainly right. Truth is, we were losing and I decided to be more aggressive on my shots—the problem was I may have cost us a point by not letting George attack a shot that should have been his.

Binh and I played a game against Karen Long and Gary. Karen, of course, is an advanced player, and Gary is a 3.0 on a good day. Binh and I lost. Karen felt bad after she beaned me in the left shoulder. A “chicken wing” shot is hard enough with your natural arm, let alone trying to play using your non-dominant arm! Afterward, Binh apologized to me for taking it easy on Gary. I laughed and told him that it was fine. (I didn’t take it easy on anyone though I’d made an effort to intentionally hit shots to Karen now and then.)

Binh and I lost several early games in sound fashion. Unfortunately. But we got better. Binh and I beat Eric S. and Grita 11-5. That was impressive, though Eric wasn’t playing his best game.

We went on to beat Wayne and new Dave 11-5. We had a rematch and beat them again, 11-0. (Bagel!) They got just one serve. We scored 5 points on my only service then the rest on Binh’s only service. Game. Binh is doing better with employing a soft game. Wayne likes to bang the ball and our style of play was a very good match to that.

Then we played Eric S. and John P. We lost 11-6. Expected, but we still gave them a fight.

I noticed my ankle between points once or twice. It’s still causing pain at times. I’m not sure why the injury has come back. (I rolled my ankle . . . maybe 18 months ago now? It’s been a while.)

Things to Work On

Low backhand. Serving. Trying to dink volley low semi-drive shots back over the net—I’m taking far too much off the shot and the ball is dropping well short of the net. I noticed today that I did far better serving if I lobbed it a bit more than hitting low over the net, I think I’ll use that more frequently.

I was done and off to work at 12:06. I had a plumber meeting me at work at 1 p.m. Little did I know at the time that he’d be 40 minutes early and would be already asking questions when I was about to step into the shower at home!

San Juan Bautista Tournament

Later, I emailed Jen and told her to sign Binh and me up for 3.0 and to try to give us as much time as possible since we’d be driving down right after Binh got off from his RN job at 7:30 a.m. She confirmed and even said she’d give us a first round bye. Nice!

Dave Allenbaugh responded quickly to my email asking if he’d cover Derby for me so I could play in the tournament. He said since he’s stuck in jury duty instead of playing pickleball, he was happy to cover!

Number of days on a court: 272
Number of total hours: 749.5

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

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