Monday , March 29, 2021 (Court Day #367)
Last night, my wife checked the weather and said the rain would be stopping shortly. It rained heavily. My wife was suggesting I play pickleball in the morning since my flight wasn’t until 3 p.m. I checked myself and the weather app was predicting sun by 8 a.m. An hour of sun before 9 a.m. should be enough time, though was supposed to be cold, 41°F. Brrrr. I might get one more pickleball outing after all!
At the Courts
My wife said last night that she was going to drop me off at the courts then go shopping, but she changed her mind this morning. So I drove myself. I arrived at Ephesus Park about 9:10. As predicted, 41 degrees and sunny plus dry courts! It would gradually warm a bit and turn into a fabulous day with very little humity.
Ian, from my first day out, was in a game with three others.
Kylene was back today and as she was going to warm up with a young guy, I asked if I could join them and she said sure. The young guy was Donovan. About 5’11”, late 20s. Athletic. We warmed up about 10 minutes and a man named Dick appeared. He shared that he hadn’t played for four months. He started out a bit rusty but got better as the game went on. We lost against Kylene and Donovan but we tightened up the score a bit so it wasn’t quite the slaughter as it appeared it was going to be. We switched sides and played again.
Grace appeared and called from the fence, “Andrew! I thought you had left!” I explained my flight wasn’t until 3 p.m. and my wife suggested that I play.
I stepped out with Dick to a court to allow a waiting player to mix into a game. Dick said he had to leave soon but we hit back and forth for about 10 minutes then he had to go. I exited the fence with him, then waited briefly to work back into a game.
Grace, Donovan, Kylene, and I played a series of fun back and forth games where we mixed up the partners. Since we had no weak players, so it was a reasonably good balance. During one of the games after a good point, Grace blurted out, “Andrew! Chapel Hill needs you! Maybe you can delay your flight!” It’s nice to be wanted!
Kylene wanted to play with a friend of hers who had arrived. Donovan went with Kylene to a new court.
Since there was just the two of us, Grace asked about singles. “Do you know how to do it?” I told her that I’d done it a few times and knew how. So she and I played a game of singles. She adjusted to the singles game quickly but my brain was still processing the game like doubles. She was leading by a lot, but I adjusted and I came back to win 11-9.
Grace and I played a game against Rick and Cathy. Grace suggested that we stack. She didn’t know how to do it, so I directed her to the correct spot for each point. It definitely worked, we won 11-2. At the beginning of this game, during introductions, Rick said, “I remember you, you are the one who schooled me the other day!” then mid-game later, “Thanks for the lesson!” Rick’s a down-to-earth, good guy.
My right knee was hurting a little bit but it went away, thankfully.
Grace and I played another game together, this time against Darcy (whose husband is Andy) and Mark (“Getting my steps in”). It was a good game, more stacking. We won 11-8. During that game, Darcy said, “Your serves are deceptive. They look like they are going out then curve in.” Yes, I’m managing some spin on some of these left serves.
Mark and I played a game against Grace and Andy (my first game with Darcy’s husband). We had to replay a couple points for dead spots—it was pretty obvious when the ball simply didn’t come back up! In the end, Mark and I won 11-8.
The last game of my North Carolina adventure would poise Kim and me versus Mark and a woman named Susie, whom I had not met yet, who turned out to be a lower intermediate player. It was a steamroller of a game, We won 11-2. I believe I made just one mistake in that game, a shot that went wide. I played very well, a good note to end on. It’s nice to finish with a game where you feel that you had the strongest play on the court.
I left just after noon, seeking out Kylene and Wendy to say goodbye first. With my flight set to takeoff in less than three hours, this would unquestionably my last visit to Ephesus Park on this trip. I told Mark, “Who knows, maybe I’ll be back in six months or something.”
Number of days on a court: 367
Number of total hours: 1,041.5
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