Adventures of Andrew Lenz and a Yellow Ball

Month: July 2020 (Page 1 of 2)

Visitor Steve

Sunday, July 12, 2020 (Court Day #357)

Truth be told, I probably shouldn’t be playing on my right knee. At least, if I were to be playing it safe. With the courts busy and people playing early, I figured I’d go before the typical 9 a.m. start time. And I got there at 8:39. Four women were in a game and Chris was there putting on his court shoes. We warmed up for a while until Stuart and some others appeared. As it was, several of us rotated in and out of the court: Chris (who left early to sail with his grandson), Stuart, Rob, Tristan, Alan K., and Steve—a visitor from San Francisco who is considering moving to either our area or Bend, Oregon.

It was oddly quiet today. We didn’t have enough people to fill all the courts! At least one was consistently empty—except maybe when a couple came and played by themselves until the woman injured something, then hobbled off with the man helping her walk—“I heard something ‘pop’”. Not good.

Steve mentioned how he liked playing singles, so I told him I’d play with him. Kind of dumb given my knee, but we were just sitting on the wall waiting and this was an opportunity to play. I was tentative moving—a must for singles—and me playing left-handed was no match for his experience, movement, and relative accuracy so I got slaughtered. We played two games to five and I lost both, at least with the second, it was 5-3.

I convinced Steve to play one last game. He played with Rob and me with Stuart. We lost. It was funny, afterward, Steve asked, “Is is always like that? He popped it up then blamed you for the lost point.” Playing with a lefty, especially one who is sometimes awkward as a lefty, can be frustrating. In some games, I do a lot of apologizing!

A few minutes before noon and we were done.

Number of days on a court: 357
Number of total hours: 1,008.5

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Flush It.

Monday, July 6, 2020 (Court Day #356)

Last night, my right knee was aching so much, it woke me up. I don’t remember this ever happening before. But this morning, while not normal, it wasn’t aching and I wasn’t limping or anything. I opted to play. It’d be six days before I’d be able to play again.

There are days where you just think, “Why do I play this game?” Today was one of those. I was talking to Tristan as things wrapped up, and he felt the same way as I did. “I had breakfast and got 8 hours of sleep…”, he mused. Sometimes, there’s no rhyme or reason. Some days, you just want to flush them.

I arrived a few minutes after 9. Some people had come at 8 a.m. I heard that Binh, a nurse, worked a COVID shift at the hospital and is on self-quarantine for a couple of days, so he didn’t come to play.

I warmed up with Art and his grandson Sterling. I’m not sure how old Sterling is, but maybe 7 or 8. He’s not bad. He can get the ball back over the net consistently. Of course, he’s little. Art later asked Alan Cable and me to play against them. Even taking it a bit easy on Sterling, we won 11-0.

Probably the loan bright spot of the day was hitting a lefty forehand ATP. It was a thing of beauty. Alan Cable had hit a sharp crosscourt dink and I sailed it low past Chris before it landed about a foot inside the sideline deep in the court. Rob A., the firefighter and my one-time tournament partner, and I were teamed up for this game. We started slow, but soon we took a commanding lead and won handily.

I checked at my phone. Noon. Chris was playing with some less experienced players and everyone else was leaving. Time to go.

When I got out of the car at home, my right knee felt . . . well, swollen. I’m not sure if it was, but that’s how it felt. And it was a bit sore when I moved certain ways. I used the Black Ice Cooling packs to ice my knee. I was going to ice my right elbow—as I’ve been doing regularly for the past week or so—but my knee too precedence.

Ugh. Icing my right knee.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020 (No Play)

My right knee is still sore. I have to wonder a bit if it’s related to an incident last week. I slipped on a piece of paper at work, and landed on my right knee. It didn’t break the skin, but it has a red mark about the size of a quarter where I landed on it. Dunno. I won’t be playing until Sunday, so hopefully, it’ll be better in five days.

I’m going to be anxious to play as I have a new toy coming. I opted to order a Rogue2 paddle. I looked on Pickleball Central, but it turns out that Players Pickleball only sells direct, not through retailers. They say it keeps the cost down. A video on their website claimed that the paddle was selling for an introductory price of $89.99. I wrote them explaining that I couldn’t find it on their website for that price . . . I had a pretty good idea that they “got lazy” (or overwhelmed) and hadn’t updated their video. Joel, a co-owner, wrote back this morning saying that the intro deal expired in May but offered me a paddle at $100 instead of the current $124.99 sale price ($129.99 regular price). $10 over the intro price at a 20% discount? Sold! I ordered one. It’s coming from Washington State via USPS . . . USPS is very unreliable right now. There’s no telling when it’ll show up, but I hope by this weekend.

And here’s the video, though if they follow my recommendation, they’ll replace it with one containing more current pricing:

If you decide you want to buy a Players paddle, here’s a link for 10% off:

Thursday, July 9, 2020 (No Play)

My new paddle is supposed to be delivered on Monday at work. It figures. The store currently is closed on Mondays due to shortened hours/days due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. But I should be able to receive it on Tuesday.

After work, Alain and I spent 10 minutes hitting a pickleball back and forth. Ashley snapped a photo.

Alain was good, setting his phone timer for 10 minutes as promised to his wife! I made about 20 gentle shots with my right arm, before switching to my left. There wasn’t any noticeable pain. That’s promising. It’s a far cry from January 1, 2020, when each impact was intense agony to my right arm.

When I got home, the Tenex wrist vibration dampener was sitting on the dining room table.

During dinner, my wife teased me about a “tinfoil hat” with regard to the gadget. I showed my family the website with claims of proof from MIT and the University of BC. Then again, it presented positive quotes from Dr. G. Krebs of Hako Research & Engineering, neither of which we could find any independent reference for on the entire internet. Hmmmm. Regardless, a few people online had said it worked for them. It’s cheaper than a doctor visit, so what the heck.

It seems that consistent twice a day rollering of my arm plus icing every evening is helping. I did three Tyler Twists with the rubber bar and there was no pain. That’s kind of amazing, actually. That’s a first. I’ll continue with the regime and see how things continue to progress.

The bugger is my right knee is still really bothering me. It’s weird, it’s just when doing particular motions. Some motions are fine and others are painful. But my knee is known to ache even lying down. I hope it goes away soon.

Friday, July 10, 2020 (No Play)

It just occurred to me today. If my elbow continues to improve and I can return to right-handed play, some of the newer players will be in for a shock. They only know me as a left-handed player with lower than average power. (It’s difficult for me to hit hard and actuate shots lefty.) Playing with my right hand, well, it’ll be an eye-opener!

Saturday, July 11, 2020 (No Play)

After work tonight, Alain and I spent another 10 minutes hitting a ball back and forth. I started and hit for a few minutes right handed, then switched to left. I’m getting more optimistic about playing a game again right-handed.

Tonight, pulling back the bed comforter I could feel some pain in my right arm. And earlier, with I did the Tyler Twists with the rubber bar, it was slightly painful. We’ll likely learn what that means over the next few days.

My right knee feels weird. When I turned on it earlier today, it felt like something slid over the front of my knee—like something catching then popping over. This has happened a few times over the last week. The knee still aches a bit. But walking seems pretty normal. Jumping down onto it hurts—it was forced my circumstance to do that off the second rung of a ladder a couple of days ago.

Number of days on a court: 356
Number of total hours: 1,005.5

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

1,000 Hours!

Sunday, July 5, 2020 (Court Day #355)

I walked out my front door and it was already warm. It was going to be a hot one! I would pass 1,000 court hours today. Three and a half years of pickleball. Two years playing righty and the last year and a half playing lefty—a frustratingly long stretch of tennis elbow.

I arrived at Brommer Park at 9:10. When I walked in and saw Binh, he said he’d already played two games! Early bird.

I had to sit and wait for about ten minutes for my first game. The four permanent courts were full and tennis players were using the tennis court—there’s no putting up temporary pickleball nets while it’s in use, unfortunately.

9:10 and courts hopping!

I played a number of games. My play was ok in some and not ok in others.

I have to give credit to Shawnte. I attempted a lefty backhand ATP, but Shawnte saw what was coming, was there, and returned the ball back over the net. I popped it up and he finished off the point. “I couldn’t let you have that!”, he smiled. Nice work, Shawnte!

We had several groups of newbie players come and go today as I played on and on. It’s fun to see random people who I don’t know appear at the courts—especially when they are young. The sport is growing!

The last three games of the day were Stuart and me against Dan and Rick. They won the first game. They were trouncing us in the second but we came back and made a game of it . . . though we still lost. We played one last game. This time, I was making a special effort to get my serves deeper and my returns deeper. (Out of my lefthanded comfort zone.) It been a weakness for me playing lefty. And it worked. Stu and I won the last game handily. “We played one too many games!”, said Dan.

I checked my phone. 1:13 p.m. Another day of playing over four hours. And now over 1,000 hours on a pickleball court. Milestone accomplished!

ProKennex vs. Rogue2?

Late last night, I posted this question in the Facebook Pickleball Forum:

Drat. Three typos on the last line! Holy cow! Missed that! I went back and fixed those!

I received a fair number of helpful comments—some about tennis elbow in general and a handful answering my question. The consensus was in favor of the Rogue2. I think I’m going to order one. $125. I’m starting to think about selling some of my paddles. I don’t need 4 or 5 of them, honestly. 2-3, sure. 5? Nah.

Injury-wise, my right knee is still bugging me, but it’s slowly improving. My left triceps is sore and has been for about a week—it’s my current paddle arm, after all. It’s quite painful when I lock my arm straight then use the triceps to move my arm back behind me. My lower back is fatigued. My right ankle, the one I rolled a couple of years ago still acts up occasionally. And the tennis elbow, of course.

Tomorrow, I have to let one of my staff in to work. He’s got a medical note saying he shouldn’t be at work with other people during this COVID-19 pandemic. Being that we are currently closed on Mondays, that means he can work by himself on that day. Hopefully, it won’t delay me too much getting to the courts.

Number of days on a court: 355
Number of total hours: 1,002.5

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

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