Friday, March 19, 2020 (No Play)

Wow. What a difference a month makes!

[Writing Sunday, May 31] I wrote that line above for this post that I started two days after our county, then state, was shut down with a “shelter in place” order over concerns about the COVID-19 virus which was devastating countries on different continents. Italy in particular was very bad early on. I never did finish my thought and haven’t touched my blog for months. There hasn’t been any pickleball action. The club shut down any official sanctioned club play.

Apparently, I thought this video was interesting enough to share since I included it in my draft of this post two months ago. Mark Renneson talks about the “myth of moving together”.

Now, I agree with Mark a lot. Most of the time, actually. However, I think he’s stretching a bit on this video. About 7 minutes in, Mark explains, “…but Matt Wright has confidence that [Ben] Johns won’t pop it up.” That is the key to this whole thing. Pros still do move with their partners, but to a much lesser degree than less skilled players do . . . because the pros don’t hit attackable shots all the time like the rest of us. Since the rest of us hit attackable shots frequently, we need to position ourselves appropriately. And that means more movement with our partners. Is it a myth? To a degree at the top levels. But for us mortals, moving more than the pros do is important . . . in my opinion, of course!

Sunday, May 31, 2020 (Court Day #344)

It’s been a full three months since I’ve played pickleball. Crazy. I’ll note there that my right elbow still is troublesome—lingering tennis elbow. It’s just not going away. With the shelter order, I haven’t been going to PT. I was home for a few days, but then we got permission from the city police department to do curbside service and our family business has been doing that for the months since. So I’ve been working this whole time.

Midweek, since COVID-19 has not been running rampant in our area, the county issued an order allowing certain retail businesses to permit customers inside for shopping as long as health protocols in place—masks, social distance, cleaning, etc. There was virtually no warning, this order went into effect a few hours after it was issued and I didn’t learn about it until the next day. As such, we needed time to prepare. We’ll be opening to the public on Tuesday, June 2. Yesterday, the State of California granted our county permission to move to a later phase in recovery and allow barber shops to open and other ‘close contact’ businesses.

This morning Stuart texted me. I’m not sure where he got my number. He invited me to play pickleball with him, Chuck, and Daniel. (Daniel is the lefty who’s stocky, and wears a trim beard. He’s got some very good serves. He predates my arrival to pickleball.)

I had to give this offer some thought. The debate in my head weighed potential risk and reward. I need to get more exercise and lose weight. I figured I’d have sanitizing wipes. I talked it over with my wife since it could affect her and our family too. (My two kids are now home with my daughter just graduating from Tufts University.) I decided to accept the offer.

I arrived at Brommer Park at 9:10. John P. and his wife Diane were playing singles on a far court. A foursome of women players were on another. Olga and three others. (They were playing pretty well, by the way; they had some good rallies that I saw.)

And I did sanitize my hands and paddle handle between games. After two months of practice, I’m very aware of when I touch my face. I wiped forehead sweat on the back of my forearm and did touch under my left eye once with my right hand, but I cleaned that spot that with a wipe at the next opportunity.

My play was pretty decent. We rotated partners, first me with Stu, then Daniel, then Chuck. Chuck played pretty well, but he lost the most games. I wasn’t nearly as rusty as I thought I might be. I got all but maybe two serves in over the course of an hour and a half of games.

Sure, I made some mistakes, but I made some very good shots too. Stuart said, “Do yourself a favor and don’t switch back to your right hand.” That’s nice, but I know for a fact that I play way better righty.

My brightest moment was spinning a serve and Daniel wasn’t able to return it. Me, a righty, serving an unreturnable serve left-handed. And Daniel is a solid player. I have to take some consolation in that. I earned about half a dozen points over the morning off of serves, but I think some of that was Chuck and Stuart not knowing what to expect. Heck, I don’t always know what to expect serving left-handed!

We finished up at 11:45. Then I went home to do some yard work.

Tree climbing
The view from my precarious perch while trimming the trees that line the fence between us and our neighbors. A fall from here would mean no pickleball for quite a while!

Number of days on a court: 344
Number of total hours: 968.5

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