Adventures of Andrew Lenz and a Yellow Ball

Month: October 2019 (Page 1 of 3)

Windy Sunday at Derby

Sunday, October 27, 2019 (Court Day #318)

74th day playing lefty. (Tennis elbow.)

So PG&E turned off the power to thousands of homes last night at about 8:20 p.m. in anticipation of the wind storm that’s manifesting itself this morning. My wife asked incredulously, “Are you playing pickleball in this?” “Yeah,” I shrugged, “I have to be there.” I’d be tempted to stay home, honestly. Overcast, slightly chilly, gusty. It’s not like trees are going to blow over, but only God knows where the balls are going to sail! I’d don a sweatshirt for my trip to the courts for the first time in a very long time. I almost never wear them, even when playing in Scotts Valley on Thursday nights.  


I got to Derby Park about a quarter to 9 and got about to setting up, getting out net bags and blowing off the courts. Wayne was the first arriver. Half an hour into play, you couldn’t tell that I’d blown off the courts, there were leaves and twigs strewn underfoot and shifting frequently.  

It was a light crowd. We maxed out at 27 people. (Six courts of four, plus three waiting.) We never even used the court reservation white board, there simply weren’t enough players—unheard of these days with pickleball getting more and more popular. The day turned out to be far nicer than I’d expected. The sun peeked out. While it was windy, it wasn’t horrific. And it warmed up enough to quickly remove jackets and sweatshirts.  

As typical, my play got better as the morning progressed. I played decently. For good or bad, I made 3-4 shots with my right hand for balls that otherwise would have gone out.  

The last couple of games was Binh and George against my former tournament partner Eric S. (who I hadn’t seen for weeks) and me. They were fun games.  

We were done at 1:12. After locking up, as I walked away from the courts with Binh, he shared that he’d passed on winning shots and kept the ball in play instead. I was disappointed. Binh is a great guy, though I’d rather lose 11-1 in an honest game than win (which Eric and I did) in a game where we were essentially handed certain points. Binh did a good job not being obvious about giving away points, I didn’t even note any. Usually—or so I think—I can tell . . . high balls that aren’t slammed, balls that could have been angled off the court, etc. Ah, well.    

Monday, October 28, 2019 (No Play)

Well, UPS came and went today at work without bringing me a paddle. Bummer.

Then there was a padded manilla envelope on our front counter delivered by USPS. YES! My new ProKennex paddle!

I told my staff it was like Christmas! I set it in my office hoping not to forget it later. I didn’t forget!

Hmmm. The edge tape for the top corners of the paddle were missing.  I went about installing the Gamma gel grip tape. When I peeled the shrinkwrap off of the handle—ah!—the missing edge tape! It was there after all.

New paddle ready to go. I really hope it makes a difference with my tennis elbow.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019 (No Play)

I’ve been working on getting this new website up and running properly. As I mentioned last time, I’ve ditched Jetpack for WordPress and am now getting MailPoet installed and configured so people can subscribe again. There are headaches and stumbling blocks with most systems. Right now, I’m waiting for my MailPoet account to be manually approved by them. Hopefully, tomorrow.

I’m getting closer to 1,000 hours playing. Almost to 900.

I’m starting to wonder if this tennis elbow problem will be with me for years to come. It’s pretty miserable. I hate it.

Thursday, October 31, 2019 (No Play)

Yesterday, I had to be at an event early in the morning for work and couldn’t play at Derby. Tonight, I won’t play either since it’s Halloween and we’ll be visiting some friends.

I’m hoping to play tomorrow morning at Brommer Park. They just finished recoating the playing surface and restriping, so it should be awesome! As Dave Allenbaugh said, the County of Santa Cruz is showing strong support for pickleball—which the City of Santa Cruz hasn’t even given us any dedicated courts yet . . . unlike the county and the City of Scotts Valley.

WordPress is such a headache. I’m continuing to get server CPU spikes that disables my site. I have no idea what’s I need to do to fix the problem.

Number of days on a court: 318
Number of total hours: 890.5

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

Saturday Rec Play for a Change

Saturday, October 26, 2019 (Court Day #317)

73rd day playing lefty. (Tennis elbow.)

My plan last night was to get to Skypark by 8:30 a.m., figuring there’d be at least some people there early since it would be hot today. As it was, I got there just before 9. Parking was easy, there were a number of spots open. Mark Dettle was in the process of pulling net bags out of the storage bin. I fished my Scotts Valley punch card out of my wallet and made my first punch out of seven spots on the card. I’d bought it—boy, maybe even two years ago. This was only my second time ever playing on a Saturday there. I bought the punch card on my first visit. I carried a net bag onto the courts then Richard and I set one up. I hadn’t seen Richard in months. (He’s the 60-something man with a beard.) He hasn’t been coming to Derby.  

  Richard and I warmed up on a court with Stuart and Kent. Soon we were in a game against them. They clobbered us 11-2 or something about that. I was popping up too many shots left-handed. Richard played well, better than I ever remember him playing. Once they got to 11, Stuart called “4-2-1.” Initially, I was confused, but then I figured out that he was enjoying the game and didn’t want to give up the court yet. The courts were already full but it wasn’t clear if there were enough waiting players for a new game or not. So, the game “continued”. Perhaps Stuart should have taken the win, since Richard and I went on to solidly win that next game!  

Maybe it was the draw, but I’ve been finding the competition at Skypark better than that at a Derby. That’s a switch.  

I got to play a game with Kent as my partner. That was fun. Kent is a pleasure to play with. And while he’s over 70, but plays like he’s 10 years younger. I played pretty well. A few wild shots—like the overhead slam that went flying parallel to the ground out the left side of the court—but solid overall.  

Binh and I played a game against Janet and Charles. I love playing against Charles, he’s getting better and better. He’s a very good challenge now. Recently, I overheard someone asking him about being a 4.5 rated tennis player. He shrugged it off saying something about that being within the confines of Santa Cruz competition. Janet and Charles beat Binh and me. I made too many mistakes. Of course, Binh made some too, but I deserve credit for the bulk of them.  

Binh and Janet played three games against Larry and me. Larry and I lost by a decent margin the first game, won the second, and lost the third in a close game. Janet was playing the best I’d ever seen her play. Those were the last games of the day.  

I was done at 12:10. Off to home, then work.  

I missed some serves today. I also had some inexplicable shots. Two miscalculated ATP failures—the balls didn’t bounce wide enough and I hit the post. But I’m getting better overall. I was able to dig out some slams at my feet. There were some great rallies in those last three games. Like 15-20 hit points. They were fun.  

Hosting Woes  

This afternoon, my website was unavailable and wasn’t loading. A few days ago Jetpack, a plugin for WordPress was having some “issues” of hogging the server CPU. And the hosting company temporarily disabled access to my site. I installed a server cache plugin suggested by the company hosting my site and also turned on the Jetpack offsite caching feature to help rectify it.  

Today, I went to upload an image and the app wasn’t working, Well, it wasn’t the app, my site was disabled again. Annoying! Not long after, it was up again and I got in and disabled Jetpack altogether. Jetpack enabled a email subscription feature that I want. I’ll have to figure out another way.  

I was bagpiping at an event this evening at the request of a friend—it went very well—but by the time I got home and settled in, PG&E turned off the electricity at our house as a fire safety precaution. So no internet access and no working on the website. Also annoying! Hopefully, it’s not off all day tomorrow!  


Number of days on a court: 317
Number of total hours: 886.5

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

Good Games and Paddle Order

Thursday, October 24, 2019 (Court Day #316)

72nd day out playing lefty. (Tennis elbow.)

Today was the first day in weeks where I had a strong desire to get out and play pickleball. I’m not sure why the feeling is back, but it is.

i left work 10 minutes before closing, at 5:50. I was hoping to be at Skypark 15 minutes early, but that didn’t happen. I pulled up at 6:26, still early, but not really early. A number of games were already in full swing. I didn’t have to wait long for a game. My first game performance wasn’t anything to write home about.

I was waiting at one point with four others and I was thinking we should just set up a net in the last (8th) spot, which we did. I spent virtually no time tonight waiting to get into games. I rolled from one game to another to another.

Carol, who’s been playing left-handed due to a right shoulder injury, called over and said, “I aspire to get as good as you.” She on her way, she’s doing surprisingly well.

After a game as partners, Stuart admitted, “You’ve got skills.” That said, I popped up a lot of shots. Those were balanced with some successful hard shots.

Carol, the one who calls me her “inspiration” played a game with me against Stuart and Mark Dettle. We lost 11-2. We had a rematch and went up 3-0. Then I figured out what was going on, they were playing lefthanded like us—well, almost, Stuart was still serving right-handed! I don’t blame him, serving lefty is miserable for me. Carol and I won 11-1. We played a third game, this time normally with them playing righty. Nonetheless, Carol and I won 11-8! What do you know! Mark said afterward that switching back to his right after playing with his left messed him up a bit.

What’s amazing is I nailed a number of drop shots tonight. I was really impressed with myself. Drop shots! Crazy. Left-handed.

After a great battle of a game between Mike and Mark against (male) Terry and me, Mike said, “I don’t even know how you do it.”

I tagged both Mike and Mark tonight with body shots.

I narrowly missed a lefty backhand ATP shot. After the game, Mike and Terry both said they’d never done an ‘around the post’ shot. I, on the other hand, must have a dozen or more now.

The last game wrapped up at 8:47.


Friday, October 25, 2019 (No Play)

I bit the bullet today and placed my order for the ProKennex paddle—and a couple rolls of gel grip tape which someone on the Facebook Pickleball Forum said would also help dampen the ball impact vibrations. Pickleball Central has a discount code that gives buyers 5% off and also rebates an additional 5% back to the Santa Cruz Pickleball Club. Win, win.


I’m excited! New paddle! It’s been almost a year since I bought the Prince Response Pro paddle, my last paddle purchase. It already shipped and says it should be here by Monday.

Number of days on a court: 316
Number of total hours: 883.5

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


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