August 29, 2019 (Court Day #301)
60th day out playing lefty. Tennis elbow.
I couldn’t escape work immediately, so I arrived in Skypark just before 7 p.m. instead of the 6:30 start time. Parking was impacted so I parked in weeds outside of the courts.
The City of Scotts Valley was doing work on the courts so they’d had cordoned off half the courts where they were patching the cracks and had installed ground sleeves for the permanent pickleball net posts. Fortunately, the patching was dry so we ignored the plastic yellow tape and set up nets as we normally do, so we had plenty of courts to play on.
I’d remembered to pack the new sample safety glasses I’d been gifted earlier in the week from my friend at Coast Paper & Supply. They worked great tonight. I’m sure they are cheap enough to replace as they scratch and not feel guilty about spending a bunch of money.
Sharyl and I got to play a game against Stuart and Dave D. Dave was obviously keeping the ball in play. After I won a point, I told Dave, “If you keep hitting patty-cake shots at me, I’m going to win the point! Hit me here!” as I pointed to my chest! I can’t remember who won the game, maybe it was Sharyl and me, maybe it wasn’t, but the outcome wasn’t really a good evaluation of relative skill with Dave not putting away shots that could have been winners.
Wayne and I played a game against Bruce and Rochelle. We got clobbered, I don’t even know if we scored a single point. It wasn’t my best game. I did miss a few shots that I should have made, no doubt, especially early in the game. Wayne made his share for sure.
The next game, I had my first ever match playing with a 50-ish woman named Sue. Sue said she’s a 4th grade teacher in San Jose. Sue is fairly tall, maybe 5’9″. She said she started playing this summer, mostly at Willowbrook. She’s a solid intermediate player already. She and I were clobbering Wayne and Terry—the male Terry, not the woman. Terry complained, “Wayne told me you were playing badly tonight!” I teased Wayne, “I play badly when a ball is slammed back at my feet!” Wayne tends to not come up to the kitchen line as aggressively as he should and likes to drive every shot. Driving works with weaker players, but is less successful with good players. (There are exceptions at the highest level. The reigning women’s doubles champions, the mother and daughter team, drove around 75% of their third shots in the gold medal match. Unusual, but apparently effective when you have a strong drive and your opponents may not be expecting it.) Sue and I won that game handily.
Sue said she’d taken some lessons with Cal. Coaching always speeds up the learning process, especially with a newbie.
I learned that Shawnte is Carol’s son. Another mother/son “team”! (Robin and Tom are another.) His dad Norm, whom I’d never met, came tonight. He and I played together against his son and Wayne. When it came up that I wasn’t naturally lefty, Norm said his wife Carol had mentioned me as inspirational for her to maybe learn to play lefty.
Later, Sue and I played against Stuart and Dave D. While we did win the close game, I told her later, “Dave was taking it easy on us. He passed on easily attackable shots.” There weren’t a ton of those though and Stuart was playing more seriously—though kidding around between points. It was a good and fun game. Sue had some excellent crosscourt sharply-angled dinks.
One Last Game
Tristan and Juls played the last game of the night against Sue and me. It was a close battle, but Sue and I won. There was a shot where I pulled Juls off the court to her right with a crosscourt shot. Tristan had shifted over, but not enough. Sue hit Juls’ return into the hole between them. I coached young Tristan, “If your partner is off the court, you need to come over more.” “But I was across the line!” “Come over more. Between you is the easy shot. Angling is the hard shot. You should come across the line and fill the hole. I shifted way over onto the other half of the court twice in tournaments and it’s worked both times.” This was another good and fun game.
As we were grabbing our things to leave, I told Sue, “Someday down the road, I’m going to ask you to be my mixed doubles partner for a tournament.” She replied without hesitation, “Yes, please!”
On the way out, Juls said, “You are amazing with your left hand.”
My serving was quite good tonight. (For lefty.) I can’t remember missing any serves. Maybe one, but not sure. It doesn’t stick in my mind. I was regularly serving deeper. That’s a good thing. I’m still nowhere near spinning my shots or consistently and accurately placing my shots though.
I thanked Mark Dettle as he stowed away the last of the equipment. I was in my car at 9:05 then on my way home.
I could probably get away with playing tomorrow morning at Brommer, but I’m taking Saturday off to go to the Scottish highland games in Pleasanton. It’s bad for staff morale if my staff’s boss takes too much time off. I’m going to work.
Number of days on a court: 301
Number of total hours: 832
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