Adventures of Andrew Lenz and a Yellow Ball

Month: July 2019 (Page 1 of 4)

Ghost Town

Wednesday, July 31, 2019 (Court Day #288)

48th day out playing lefty. Tennis elbow.

I had one of my staff called in sick and I had some communicating to do prior to making a determination of me playing today or having to go to work. But we had just enough people. It was misting and I needed to turn on my windshield wipers on the way. I arrived at Brommer Park at about 9:20. There were only nine people there. Odd. It wasn’t that wet. But maybe it scared everyone off. Or was there some major news event? Like another 9/11 or something. I’ve never seen turnout this light on a club day.

One court had Leslie, Dan Bliss, Oleg, and Jane. A strong court. Another was a group of intermediate women. Patty, Di, and a couple of others that I didn’t stop to get a close enough look at—women I might not have known the names for anyway.

Allan Cable was the odd, ninth man out. He was as happy to see me as I was him. We warmed up and drilled a little bit. Nancy—who was Allan’s tournament partner—showed up about 15-20 minutes later. Soon after, a woman named Jackie appeared. Jackie is tall for a woman. Maybe even 5’10”.

We ended up playing five games of Jackie and me against Allan and Nancy. Jackie and I won the first game 11-2. Early in that game, I had three rocket drives mere inches over the net that they couldn’t successfully return. (I would have been proud to have hit those with my right hand!) Jackie and I won the next two games as well, though by less of a margin. Allan and Nancy won the fourth game 12-10. I made just too many mistakes. Granted, they weren’t all me, but it’s bad when we lose several points in a row due to me. Jackie and I did go on to make up for the bad game and won the last game 11-6, bringing our total to 4 games to 1 game. No question which team was better on the day.

I did fairly well serving. In one of the later games, I missed a serve, too far to the left past the sideline. (Usually, when serving to that court and missing, it’s too far to the right instead.) Jackie said, “I think that’s the first serve you’ve missed all morning.” I missed three more in that game after that. I find that when I hit up on the ball with more lift, I tend to be more accurate. I have to say, for me, serving lefty is by far the hardest part of the game when switching hands. It’s such a pain.

Olga showed up. Allan had to leave to receive a delivery of lumber at his house, so Olga jumped in and took his place. Jackie and I won yet another game, 11-6. Afterward, Olga said, “I think you are ready for tournaments.” Maybe she forgot that we separately won gold medals last month in San Juan Bautista—her in women’s doubles and me in men’s doubles. I was “ready” for that tournament . . . at least in 3.0. Olga won a gold medal this past week in a tournament, she and Patty played in 3.0. That medal was her third gold in the last couple of months. I told her that she really should be in 3.5.

That last game wrapped up around 11:30, and I left about 11:40. Home, then work.

I was still wondering where everyone was. So weird.

Later, I realized what happened. Duh. So simple! Club play was at DERBY PARK today, NOT BROMMER PARK! No wonder there were so few people! Silly! No wonder we only had 13 people there! It wasn’t the correct location!


Tournament – Mixed Doubles

It occurred to me that since men’s doubles is on Sunday instead of Saturday and I’m scheduled off on Saturday, the day of mixed doubles, if I could find a female partner, I could enter that event at the Cabrillo Tournament.

I went to the list of players at and figured out who was not playing but that I had contact information for. They finally redesigned and updated that website. It’s about time. Now, we’ll just have to see where the problems are with the new system, but maybe they nailed it. We’ll see.

My first stop was Sycha. Sycha is a strong intermediate player who could relate to my need to play left-handed, since she did the same thing, swapping hands while an injury healed. Unfortunately, Sycha replied that she was jammed with family stuff and couldn’t play.

Next stop, Angie. Also a strong intermediate player. I Facebook-messaged Angie and she was very quick getting back to me, saying that she was traveling and in France. Ironically, she suggested asking Sycha! She made another reply and asked about my injury and shared that she’s currently dealing with a similar issue in her arm. I was bummed to hear that. I don’t wish this on anyone!

So, two potential female partners down. Ideally, you want to pick someone who isn’t too far from your own skill level. Too far off and it’s not fun for them or for you. Weaker partners get targeted in tournaments. That’s just the way it is. I think I’ll ask Carrie. She’s not as strong of a player as Sycha or Angie, but she has played almost a year and a half now and has gotten pretty decent. I wouldn’t consider her a weak player. She’s not ready to jump to 4.0 and might even be considered a 3.0 player, but—aside from being a nice person—would be one of the strongest available partners.

Number of days on a court: 288
Number of total hours: 795

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


Dang. What do you know?

Monday, July 29, 2019 (Court Day #287)

47th day out playing lefty. Tennis elbow.

I decided to wear two pairs of socks today. The inside of my shoes are wearing out. Now looking for the first time in a while, the bottoms are starting to show significant wear too. Funny, aside from the sole and the interior, the shoes almost look new.

A little worn on the inside.

I ordered another pair on eBay last week—a display model for $15 shipped. Costco isn’t currently carrying the shoes anymore in store or online, so my options are limited for getting the same shoes. (“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” I just stick with what works.)

A full house at Brommer today. The poor dog died waiting for a court. (Kidding!)

It’d been a while since I’d played at Brommer. A few weeks, I believe. A number of people asked how my arm recovery was coming along. I told all of them that I figured it would be at least a few months yet.

Binh and I played a game against Judy—normally seen at Scotts Valley—and Janette, whom I don’t think I’ve met before. Pickleball is the great equalizer. Here are two women older than Binh and me yet, they weren’t pushovers. We finished up 11-6. Respectable. Janette uses a lot of spin and Judy can drive the ball well. Binh and I had taken a 2-0 lead and the game had never truly been in doubt.

In that game, Janette on the right side of her court and me on the right side of my court, she hit a ball across a bit high and to my right sideline. Without even thinking, I switched my paddle to my right hand and hit a sharp/shallow crosscourt winner out of her reach. “Nice shot!” It’s a good thing that wasn’t six months ago, it would have hurt like the dickens. As it was, it didn’t hurt. But we’ll see how it feels tomorrow.

Binh and I played against Mark G. and George twice, beating them both times. The second time 11-7. Both are good intermediate players. I made a number of brilliant drop shots from deep in the court. Something just clicked. It was amazing, I wish I could do that all the time. In that game, I got a few compliments on other shots from Mark and George. The cool thing is that these weren’t nice shots for a left hand, but simply nice shots, regardless.

It was 12:49 when I pulled my phone from my backpack and checked the time. Late! Time to head out then get to work.

The two pairs of socks did turn out to be more comfortable. I might do that more often.

SCPC Signage

Karen and Eric had suggested some verbiage changes to the “Introductory Sessions” court sign which I designed yesterday. I implemented the changes after work and sent it back out for input. The sign got the Leslie and Eric stamps of approval. Now, just waiting to hear back from Karen.


My “display model” Kirkland athletic shoes arrived today. They look just fine and are well worth the $15. I found another display pair on eBay for about the same price and ordered those too.

USAPA Membership

My membership in the USAPA came up for renewal and with everything going on, I didn’t renew immediately. I think it expired on the 18th. But I believe there’s a 30-day grace period before they erase your rating. Regardless, I paid my dues today and I’m back to being a member in good standing.


Tuesday, July 30, 2019 (No Play)

Pickleball appeared on the TODAY! Show on NBC. I watch very little television and didn’t see it live, but with the wonders of the Internet, anyone can watch it:

Tyson McGuffin and Lucy Kovalova were brought in to demonstrate the sport. Tyson took some liberties with the rules to make the game more fun and friendly. Smart move. Tyson and Lucy were touted as “experts” in pickleball. I guess you could say that! Tyson being the reigning singles champion and Lucy, who won the Triple Crown at the Nationals last year. (Gold in singles, doubles, and mixed.) You can’t go too wrong with that and both are photogenic. Tyson was at the Golden State Championships last year here in Northern California. He was partnered with Morgan Evans on the day. Tyson looked very serious while there and I didn’t approach him to sign the paddle I was using at the time. I kind of regret that now.

SCPC Signage

Karen suggested some changes to the SCPC intro sessions sign. Some more minor tweaking for me to do, but pretty much done.

Number of days on a court: 287
Number of total hours: 793

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



Sunday, July 28, 2019 (Court Day #286)

46th day out playing lefty. Tennis elbow.

I arrived at Derby about 8:50. New guy Bill was already there, as was Chris. It was a quick start today, we had three games going just a few minutes after opening time. Nonetheless, it was a quieter day, topping out at about 35 people. The annual Wharf to Wharf race was today and some players participate in that in some fashion.

Janet was celebrating her birthday week by bringing donuts to share with everyone, Binh and I both had two each. I should have had none, but it is what it is—they were good!

Bryan, Mark G.’s friend from San Jose, visited Derby today. Binh said Bryan was down surfing—a new thing for Bryan, Binh said—then stopped afterward to play pickleball with us. Bryan is a 5.0 player and can make us look silly with little effort.

When Bryan would make an great sharp “angle it off the court” winning shot, I would bust up laughing. He does it so well, it just makes us look incompetent! He’d ask, “Why are you laughing?” “It’s just so amazing!”

I have to say, Tristan is really coming along. It’s amazing to be young. He’s just absorbing and adjusting so fast. There are holes in his game, but he’s quick and is already managing to add spin to shots. Binh and I played against him and Ted B. and lost both games—though in the second, Binh and I had lead for nearly the entire game but lost 12-10.

Bryan told me, “You are doing really well with that left hand.” Bryan played a couple games left handed himself. I can say that with my nearly eight months of practice, I’m better than Bryan when we both play left-handed. But both right-handed, he’d wipe the court with me—I know from past experience!

It was just after 1 p.m. when I left. I was thinking I might get one more game, but too many people had to leave.

Graphics/Club Signage

Karen Long sent out a draft for a SCPC sign to be posted at the courts. It had come to Leslie, Eric, and me. I had about 15-20 minutes to kill before my wife and I left the house, so I popped into Adobe InDesign and redesigned it and then sent it back for input.

Number of days on a court: 286
Number of total hours: 789.5

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


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