Sunday, May 9, 2021 (Court Day #374)

I dropped my daughter off for work and was out to Brommer Street Park about 9:10 a.m. It would be a warm and sunny day. The courts were already hopping.

Vistors

Rick and I played my first game of the day against Tanya and Norm, whom I’d never seen before. We lost 11-5. They are strong intermediate players. Tanya said they usually play at San Juan Bautista. When I asked, Tanya said she is from Hollister. I can’t remember exactly where Norm is from, but also down there somewhere. (Renee later said she and Rick had played against them yesterday.)

UCSC Ringer

Barb called over to me at the wall from her game in progress and offered her net then gave me her car keys to retrieve it. Rick and I set it up, but we needed players. I ended up getting Steve as my partner against Ethan (a freshman biology student at UCSC) and his friend Robby (a junior at UCSC in computer game design). Ethan is a strong player! Robby is still learning the game, but Ethan was all over the court. He even had a flying Erne shot in that game. Steve and I lost 11-8, and Steve is not a wimpy player!

Art and I played against boys next and this time we lost by more—expected as Steve is a stronger player than Art.

Art and I ended up on a permanent court on the far side playing against Norm and Tanya. We got clobbered. Tanya can hit harder than most women players. We lost 11-2. 

In what turned out to be a great game with all kinds of wild and long rallies, Rick and I beat Tanya and Norm 11-6. That was a really fun game. Two guys, us, playing with their non-dominant hands beating two good players. (As mentioned in prior blog entries, Rick and I both are having right shoulder issues and are playing lefty.)

Mr. Ping Pong

Rick’s girlfriend Renee showed up. Rick was in a game, so I asked Renee if she wanted to play. I had never seen them before, but there was a couple sitting on the wall. Brenden (who later told Juls that he is 6’5”) and his friend—maybe girlfriend—Hemmie. After some massively spun shots and some tricky angles, I asked him if he had a ping-pong background. “Did you tell from my grip?” He demonstrated that he was choking up on his paddle. Honestly, I hadn’t noticed his grip, it was purely from his style of play. It was Renee’s first game of the day and she said it usually takes an hour before she’s really warmed up. We were down the whole game and at one point it was as lopsided as 9-2, but Renee and I started dialing it in, she got warmed up, and we came back to win 12-10. We rallied 10 points to 1. Not bad!

Next, I invited Juls to play with me against Brenden and Hemmie. Juls and I mounted a valiant comeback effort, but still lost 12-10.

The Strong Game

Jon B. (with the trim white beard) and I played a game against Binh and Dave Cox. At about 7 points, Dave suggested we play to 15 . . . so we did.  It was a back and forth battle with lots of trash talking. Jon was very animated if I missed a shot or if I got to a ball with my lefty forehand before he got to it with his (stronger) righty forehand . . . he’d drop his paddle on the ground and make a dramatic fuss. Binh would say something like “uncanned” whenever I’d miss a shot. If I wasn’t already so self-conscious about the extra mistakes I make playing lefty, the lack of power, and the inherent frustration that all entails, then it wouldn’t have eventually gotten on my nerves, but it did. Silly. It’s just a game and it was all in fun! Anyway, towards the end of the game, when Jon hit a shot into the net, I dropped my paddle, threw my hat on the ground and shook my arms up to the sky. All in jest with a smile on my face, but I did want to remind people that I wasn’t the only one making mistakes. Jon B. and I won 16-14. Close one. All that said, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely enjoy playing with Jon and Dave and Binh, they are all good guys. I just have to sometimes put on my big boy pants with the thick skin!

It was time for them to roll and there were no games to be had, but my wife was dropping off her visiting mother in the Bay Area and wouldn’t be back to town until 3 p.m., so I was in no rush to go.

Newbies

There were three beginners on an adjacent court, playing 2 on 1. I asked if they wanted a fourth player. The oldest one, the mom, smiled and said, “You’ll need to be patient, these two haven’t played before.” So I met Courtney and her tall kids, Georgia and Gus. Gus—sporting braces—is in middle school, but tall, so probably about 13-years-old. Georgia is a senior in high school and will be heading to college in Southern California. Georgia warned that they’d been playing with their own rules since they didn’t know the official ones. We played two games where I did a lot of instruction about the rules and really basic strategy. They were very appreciative. Courtney said, “We lucked out!” Yep, I’m paying it forward.

Last Game

Shawnte arrived with his mom Carol. Pre-COVID, she’d been learning to play left-handed since she was also having shoulder problems. She was a regular at Scotts Valley. It turns out that she ended up having rotator cuff surgery last year too, but in May, much earlier than mine. We invited an older man to join us, Dave, who I think is of Korean descent. Dave is a lower intermediate player. Shawnte and I were both playing down a notch . . . or at least, not focusing and playing an “A game”.

During that game, I was feeling fatigued. Afterward, I knew why. 2:37 p.m. 5 1/2 hours of play! No wonder.

Sunburned

As I drove home, a familiar car was in front of me. It was my wife. We were driving home at exactly the same time! Funny. Later on, my daughter pointed out, “The back of your legs are sunburned.” Sure enough, I overdid it a bit.


Number of days on a court: 374
Number of total hours: 1,063.5

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