Sunday, February 21, 2021 (Court Day #359)
Apparently, my shoulder has gotten to the point where it’s not keeping my “lizard brain” from wanting to get out and play again. I got the itch a couple of days ago—it’s been months since I had that feeling. Midweek, one of my staff, Charlotte, shared that she would be trying pickleball this weekend with a friend of hers up in the Bay Area. I asked if she wanted to drill a little bit after work to get her exposed to playing. She agreed and we hit a ball back and forth for about 20 minutes. She used Alain’s backup paddle—he’s taken to just leaving his paddle pack in my office—and we did just the same as I do with Alain, that is, using a stretched canvas as a net and being limited to kitchen drills given the room we were in surrounded by displays of merchandise.
Yesterday morning, I texted Binh to see what what was up with the pickleball these days. I asked if he was playing the next day (Sunday/today) and he said he’d be at Brommer Park with Shawnte and that others would surely be there. Perfect.
My morning was busy, so I arrived at Brommer at 10:15. It was sunny day and I was fine in shorts and a T-shirt. California winters! All the permanent courts were in use. Binh and Wayne were partnered against Shawnte (just inside the gate) and an Asian fellow whom I didn’t know. He introduced himself, David. David is a strong player who is great with angles. He’s a lefty. Judging by his play, he’s a natural lefty and not a forced lefty like me.
My former neighbor, Dave Cox, was there and he gave me a boisterous greeting. I told him about my shoulder surgery and he said my wife had already filled him in. (Dave’s ex-wife still lives next door with their disabled son who Dave visits and occasionally takes for activities.) I explained my absence and the surgery to a number of players.
I won my first game, but it was I was a major contributor to my side losing almost all of my games today. There were some that were close, but I missed a bunch of shots. What was surprising—but should have been expected—was my back got tired and fatigued just like when I first started playing pickleball three years ago. The crouching and leaning takes its toll.
There was a first, one of my serves hit the net cord but landed in the service court well short and out of reach of the receiver. My partner for that game, Dave Cox, exclaimed, “Point!” Oh, yeah. I would have forgotten. The new 2021 rules are in effect. My first formerly-a-let serve.
Kevin showed up and Kent showed up not long after. I warmed them up with dinking. Kent said my lefty play is much better than the last time he saw me play—at least six months. Maybe at the net, but my ground strokes are very rusty.
One of my partners kindly admonished me to hit my dinks crosscourt so they aren’t attackable. And I made an effort to do that, but one I hit forward and it was attacked and we lost the rally. I felt about one inch tall.
In a game partnered with Mike—tall, strong player Mike—I hit a ball a little too high and Rick slammed the ball for an apparent rally winner. But Mike noticed something: “The net is moving.” Rick had followed through into the net. Fault! Our point. A good thing to remember to watch for!
It was 1:15. I was the odd man out. I could wait for an opening, but there were things I wanted to tackle at home, like continuing to battle configuring a VoIP phone system temporarily staged at my house for work. Plus I was so disgusted with my play and didn’t want to subject anyone else to having to be my partner. It’s a horrible feeling knowing that I’m very much the weakest player on a court.
Today was so frustrating and embarrassing. I’m not sure if I want to continue playing pickleball if I have to do it lefthanded.
Monday, February 22, 2021 (No Play)
I woke up to sore legs. Boy. I am out of pickleball shape. My legs didn’t get tired like this was I was regularly playing.
I had a PT appointment today and he was saying that the ball at the top of my humerus in my shoulder socket isn’t dropping to allow my arm to raise as much as it should. More exercises. I’m going to have to double-down on those. I don’t want to have limited range!
If I’m going to be playing pickleball for years to come, it’s going to have to be right-handed. I don’t think I can handle the frustration and disgust of playing lefty forever.
Friday, February 26, 2021 (No Play)
On Tuesday, I asked Charlotte about her first pickleball outing over the weekend. She said really enjoyed it and that she and her friend beat a “really good player” 11-0. Hmmm. Ok. Call me skeptical of the evaluation of their opponents. She also said someone told her that she has “the best serve they’d ever seen”. Charlotte does have a tennis background. It’d be great to have another strong player around, we’ll see. She did admit that she doesn’t like the kitchen. “No other sport has that!” I explained how when the sport of pickleball started, one of the neighbors was really tall and would just hit the ball off the court and that the non-volly zone neutralized that and made the game more fair. I invited Charlotte out to play and some Sunday in the next few weeks we’ll make that happen. I’m really looking forward to playing her and determining her skill level firsthand, even if I have to do it lefty.
This afternoon, Brett, one of my staff who has been sabbatical since September, texted today and said he’d like to return to work. He also said he’s been playing a lot of pickleball while away. I was pleasantly surprised. He said, “I want in on the pickleball games.” I asked him a question…
I don’t think I’d ever describe pickleball like that, but ok!
Number of days on a court: 359
Number of total hours: 1,014.5
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