Adventures of Andrew Lenz and a Yellow Ball

Month: September 2019 (Page 1 of 4)

Witch Doctor

Thursday, September 26, 2019 (Court Day #311)

I arrived at Chiro-Kinetics  a few minutes before my appointment. When you walk in, one of the first things you see is a large collection of autographed photos of athletes. Runners, a few archers, and a number you couldn’t tell their sport.

With the help of the very nice receptionist Michelle, I filled out paperwork that Rachael hadn’t email to me in advance or paperwork that I hadn’t fully completed. When I got to meet Rachael in person she shook my hand, involuntarily, I said, “Ouch.” Yes, after two days of right-handed play in the last five days, it hurts to shake hands again.

Yes, waiting for the doc for evaluation.


Dr. Bergman did some resistance checking on my arm to see where my strength is and isn’t. “Try to push your arm this way.” We repeated that a bunch of different ways on both arms. He said most elbow problems are a result of the shoulder. After a few minutes of this, he pronounced almost to himself, “I know what’s wrong.” He pointed to a bone chart and said one of my ribs was out of position from the . . . I think he said 2nd or 3rd vertebrae. After that, I went out and waited in one of the chairs by the receptionist.

Massage or Torture?

I waited for the soft tissue lady to return from her break. I think they said her name was Tess. When she got back, she talked to the doctor then came back and took me to a small room with low light and soft music. I should have been taken that as a sign! She asked me to take of my shirt so it wouldn’t get wet. When I lied down on the padded table, in my right hand, she had me hold a cold towel with a wire coming from it. Then she put another cold towel with a wire around my shoulder at the armpit. Dr. Bergman opened the door and popped his head in with a comment and she then moved it across my back at my shoulders.

She applied some gel to my right arm and shoulder then got to work massaging. It hurts a bit as she pushed down hard with the butt of the palm of her hand along my forearm and bicep. She chatted during the process. “Do you like me so far?” I responded, “Yeah…?” “Remember this moment. It’s about to get worse.”

She applied more and more pressure. She did deep massage on my right arm and shoulder and neck. Pain. She used a metal blade like tool that she ran up and down my arm, shoulder, and neck. Also pain. This took about 30 minutes. A lot of it was intensely painful. Like so painful, my head popped up from the table on several occasions as I winced in pain. She also used these super suction cups to pull up my skin and she ran these over my my arm, shoulder and neck. Painful. She said she’s been doing it for 26 years. “You’ll have some bruises.”

A newish player (I believe I’d seen him once before) named Robby on Sunday said his wife had bad tennis elbow and nothing helped until she went to a specialist who ran something that she described as a table knife up and down her arm. Now I know what she—and her husband—was talking about. I hope it works for me too.

When the woman was done, she told me I could do a similar thing on my arm using something like a wooden handle spatula.

Bone Adjustment

Once she was done, she took me out to a bench in the open area where there were several of them. There I would wait for a short time. A woman was next to me on one side and another woman was on the other. The first woman knew exactly what to do—she moved into the exactly correct position when asked to turn over. The doctor was done with her start to finish in about 2 minutes. I was next. I took a bit longer.

He had me face down on a bench. He felt around on my ribs on either side of my spine with the palms of both his hands then applied sudden heavy pressure.

Then he had me turn over. He pushed on my shoulder. He made some comment almost to himself about it being stiff. He went to the divider half wall that separated us and the reception are and grabbed an electric tool that looked like a mini pile driver with the pushing part the diameter of a cigar. He used this on my collar bone, then my shoulder, then my forearm. After a minute of that, he put it back and came back with a mallet and a dowel. He lined up the dowel . . . tap, tap, tap, WHACK! Then another. Tap, tap, tap, WHACK!

Then he gripped my hand with both of his and waved my arm up and down. Then pushed on the forearm bones. He messed with my arm then finally got my elbow bone to crack. “Your elbow was really locked up.”

Then he too a wide rubber band and wrapped it around and around very tightly about 4″ above my elbow to about 4″ below my elbow. Then he had me move my arm all around in “every imaginable position” including imitation bicep curls. I did my best to mirror his example of arm movements. At this, we were done.

As stood at the reception desk, Dr. Bergman said, “I think one more treatment and you’ll be well on your way.” I hope he’s right. The way he said it, it didn’t across as super convincing. But Chris Yoder said it was a couple of trips that did it. Finger crossed.


It was a much faster drive home than it had been to get up there. Driving up was about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Home was about an hour and 20. I made a quick lunch then iced my elbow.

How bad was this bruising going to be? Huh, yeah…

Boy. They did a number on me! Ow. Now you can see why it hurt!!

Dentist or this deep tissue work? I think I’d prefer the dentist every time! Man.


Scotts Valley Play

68th day out playing lefty. Tennis elbow.

I arrived at Skypark at 7 p.m. Boy! It was busy! There were cars everywhere. I had to park off the road next to the path on wild grass, like some others, though I had to get even more creative!

Back to lefty for my play. I wasn’t about to go back to right-handed with the pain I was experiencing in my arm.

A boatload of people! Maybe even 35! All eight courts in use with people waiting!

Bill and I beat Allan K. and Karen. 11-4. Time to buy a lottery ticket. “You played very well,” complimented Allan afterward.

Adrian brought a friend, Charmaine. Tonight was her third night out. She’s got a great attitude and is humble. Thankfully, she’s a player who can hit the ball over the net and occasionally hit winners. For every winner, there are probably 2-3 errant shots, but everyone has to start somewhere.

Bruce and I played his wife Janet and Terry (Gary’s wife). Bruce and I won 11-0.

After a fierce rally at the net when Bruce and I were playing our second game against Terry and Janet, Colleen happened to watch it on the way out. “That was a good rally . . . did you play that left-handed, Andrew?” I nodded and silently pointed to my left arm. “That’s impressive!” Bruce and I ended up losing that game 11-8. Janet made three excellent crosscourt hard-angle shots off to my left side that I couldn’t get to. Brilliant shots.

When I got home, I iced my elbow one more time.


Friday, September 27, 2019 (No Play)

Boy. Sore. Even where there are no bruises. Sometimes, I’ll fold my left arm across my chest and rest my right arm on my left hand. But not this week! No dice. Too painful.

I was hoping to play this morning, but work is always the priority.

I popped next door from work to Outdoor World to see if they had any tennis racket grip tape to beef up my pickleball paddle grips. They did but it was synthetic leather and $18 for a single one-handle package. More than I wanted to spend. I told Tony, the manager—we know each other, manager to manager—why I was there and he asked if I’d seen the white wrapping. Nope. Well, he found it was sold out, that why! But he showed me that they had a pickleball set now. They had a couple of cheap tennis rackets and one pickleball set. Wow, that’s a shock. They don’t have a ton of sporting goods, really.


When I got home later, I got out the ice and iced my elbow again.


Saturday, September 28, 2019 (No Play)

Finally, one of my pet peeves about the poor quality of typical warm-ups brought to video! This is a BIG DEAL in my book. We tend to be very sloppy in our warmups and then are surprised when we get attacked on those same shots in a game. Duh!

I didn’t think it was possible for my bruises to get worse, but they appear sure appear more colorful than two days ago. There are green areas on my right bicep! Still very sore too.

Number of days on a court: 311
Number of total hours: 866

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


Angels Singing, Righty Righty

Wednesday, September 25, 2019 (Court Day #310)

I walked out my door and my first thought was, “Oooo. It’s going to be hot today. Usually it’s around 60 when I walk out. Today, it felt like the mid-70s. I arrived at Derby Park a few minutes before 9. Dave Allenbaugh was still setting up along with a few others helping him.

I played right-handed all morning. If I’m going to a doctor far outside my area for tennis elbow, I don’t want all the symptoms to be minor. I need it to be noticeable.

My second game was with Bill against Ted and Wayne. With Bill being a fairly weak player, I was expecting us to get wiped out. But I played very well and we scored 5 or 6 points. It would be the only game of the day I would lose. Bill is playing better. He’s not fast and doesn’t bend over, but he can get the ball back over the net and sometimes can even make an unreturnable shot.

John P. and I played a game against Ted and Tony. Mid-game, John said, “There’s the old Andrew we know!” It was a lopsided win. 11-3, maybe? As we walked off, John said, “You are on fire!” And Tony and Ted shortly after, almost in unison: “You’re playing great!”

Tony was impressed with my right-handed playing, “I feel like we’re breaking in the new stallion!”

I was sweating. It was hot. Only four courts were in use by 11:15, which is unheard of. Players were bailing out in the heat. It had to be in the 80s, easily.

The last game was Ted and me against Tony and Walker. I had come off the bench after sitting down waiting for a game to open up on one of the two remaining courts in use. I was a bit “cold”—obviously not in the literal sense—and missed a number of shots in the early part of the game. They pulled out ahead, something like 10-3. But Ted and I clawed back. It was quite the game—sure, there were lame points, but there were also 15+ hit rallies. Soon it was 10-10. Then 11-11. Then 12-12. Finally, we won 14-12. Jazmine and Deshen were enjoying the game from the bench. (Especially Jasmine, I think, since this level of play is well beyond her at this time.) A flurry of volleys would break out followed by a reset and some dinking, then another flurry of shots. It was impressive. Walker said he was impressed with all of our play. We all played a reasonably solid game overall.

One notable comment by Ted was, “You like those low shots.” He was referring to me taking balls as low half volleys—half volley, that is, by definition, hitting after the bounce but before the ball reaches its peak height. Only sometimes for me, it’s before the peak but really before the peak, like an instant after the bounce, just above the ground. An example was Walker hitting a dink crosscourt from my left to my forehand. Only it’s fast and deep to the sideline. To get it higher on the bounce, I’d need to shift out and a touch back. That’s hard, but sometimes that’s the best that some can do. I’d rather take it low from where I am and get it back over that way. I have the understanding of where the ball will be and have the skill to do that very low half volley. And it usually works. (There was one that I hit past the sideline, but no one is perfect!)

Dave called over partway through my last game and said, “Congratulations! You’re closing up!” He saluted and I acknowledged. And so I did.

12:03 and I was out.


While at work, I shook an applicant’s hand. Oh, oh. Some pain.

I left work about 4:15, on my way to Walnut Creek to stay with my mother-in-law (who lives nearby) for my tennis elbow appointment tomorrow morning with the Witch Doctor. I hope he lives up to his name!

Number of days on a court: 310
Number of total hours: 864

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


Zero Lefty, Alrighty Then…

Sunday, September 22, 2019 (Court Day #309)

First day back playing fully right-handed.

I was at the courts early, a little after 8:30. Walking in, I noticed that they’d trimmed the edges of the grass growing over the walkway. It looked very nice! As I stood in front of the storage bins, the lids were covered with little gravel-like rocks. I’d never seen this before. When I walked into the courts themselves, the courts were covered with an amazing and frustrating amount of little jagged rocks of all sizes. I did my best, but my battery died before I got all of them off. I can only figure that the edge trimming and the rocks all over the place are related.

Newbie Jan (black) Tom B. (nearest), Art (white) partially blocking Dale from Santa Rosa, George (purple), a couple newbies, a regular whose name I forget, Rick, Patty, woman sitting, Bruce (yellow), Ray (blue), and Maria who regularly plays in Scotts Valley.

Tom B. and I played a game against Tristan and Cal. Tom and I had a solid lead, but ended up losing by a few points. Hats off to Cal and Tristan for a good comeback. It was a fun game. Tom didn’t play his best as the game went on, but those game happen. Just look at my game with Grita recently where I made a ton of mistakes. I will say that my tracking placement was off a bit. Cal hit 2-3 winners down the middle off to my left. With the paddle in my left hand, I would have had the reach, but with it in my right, I left a hole!

George asked if I was getting good hip rotation now that I was back to playing righty. I thought so, but George is good at objectively spotting that. I did tell him about the tracking problem and he commented on needing to relearn hold to play right-handed.”

Cal and I played a game against a couple of players. I can’t even remember who they were. Ted and Tom, maybe? In any case, it was a good close game that Cal and I won. The frustrating thing about that game was my errors. My spin serves are not working—I’m missing probably 3-4 out of every 5. I also slammed a ball into the net. Two of those today, unfortunately. And a couple of shots that I hit too hard/too long in other games. I need to work the rust out of my shots.

I expressed my frustration at one point on the bench. Mark G. had some good perspective. “You haven’t been playing with your right hand for almost a year, it’s like starting over. Think of that.”

Cal started his class with about a dozen students. He told me he’d need three courts, so that’s what I arranged for. Two of the city-provided nets and one club net until we got around to swapping it for his personal net.

Around 12:30, Tom B. dove for a ball. He cut open his hand pretty good and scraped his knee. Shawnte is a paramedic for a living and asked Tom to stay where he was, instead he walked over the bench, dripping a trail of blood from his hand. We got the First Aid kit from the storage bins and I just got out of the fray and let the pros go to work.

Tom B. getting treated by Shawnte and others. Bihn, a RN, stood by.  Eddie (white visor) helped along with the woman whose name I can’t recall!

Tom rode off on his bike once he was all bandaged up.

12:45. Cal leading a clinic on the three far courts. The three near courts are regular players still at it. Binh checking his phone. We’re waiting to get on a court to continue to play.

Binh said he was very happy to see me playing right-handed again. Maybe we’ll do some more tournaments together.

I was finally off  and walking to my car at 2:01 p.m. Five and a half hours, but I’m calling it four and a half for my record keeping. There was a fair amount of waiting around today and some of the time was prepping the courts.

On the upside today, about half a dozen of my serves were not successfully returned. That was exceedingly rare when serving left-handed!


Tonight, I filled out the new club injury report form and emailed it off to the SCPC board. Karen Long followed up and emailed Tom to make sure he was ok. He replied that he “some road rash, or court rash” but that’d he’d be fine and he closed his email with a link to a YouTube video:



Monday, September 23, 2019 (No Play)

I’m down to one more day of antibiotics for my abscess tooth. The pain is subsiding. So good there.

The bones right at my elbow are a little tender and sore, but not super bad. There’s not much pain in my forearm, so that’s a delight. Though shaking hands causes a wee bit of discomfort but no tears in my eyes like months ago. Pressing on the tendon does give a “charlie horse” sensation, so something is going on there.

My right knee is back to bugging me, just to the inside of the kneecap. Lying down, it hurts when I move—like when I’m trying to get to sleep!

Number of days on a court: 309
Number of total hours: 861

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




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