Misadventures of Andrew Lenz and a yellow ball

Garden of Newbies

Thursday, September 2, 2021 (Court Day #407)

Dan, the PT assistant, contacted me and we arranged to meet after my work time. I got one of my staff to close the store and left work a few minutes after 6 p.m. I realized when I grabbed my T-shirt and shorts out of my car that I’d forgotten my court shoes at home. For second time. *sigh* I was racing this morning to get to work and the shoes were a consequence! A quick trip home, change, put on my shoes then off to Skypark. As I pulled into the lot just before 6:40, I saw Dan outside the fence on his phone. I waved and parked.

We walked in, I picked out the Prince paddle I had in my backpack—I was going to loan him my Tempest Wave paddle, but still had that in my office at work for . . . an unexpected pickleball emergency, I guess! All the permanent courts were in use, so we chatted for about a minute. Dan said, “They’re calling us over.” There were two guys on the far court whom I didn’t know. One was senior and the other was quite tall and younger.

Christina in white, Craig and his wife near, Richard (black, far) and Clayton on the right.
And, yeah. That’s my thumb.

Clayton and Richard

The tall one (maybe 6’4″) was Clayton. [Later note: 6’5″.] The other, probably between 65 and 70, was Richard. It was Richard’s second time out, same as Dan. Dan played with Clayton and I partnered with Richard. Dan was obviously the better player compared to Richard. I was trying to gauge Clayton. I was talking outloud to Dan so Clayton could hear: “I don’t know Clayton’s skill level. He looks athletic. He could be a 5.0.” Clayton just smiled. He didn’t take the bait!

Clayton is a good player. I adds underspin to he service returns and takes full advantage of attackable shots. He does make some mistakes that he shouldn’t. 4.0? Lazily played 4.5? 3.5 on a good night? A mystery.

We played two games in that configuration and Richard and I lost both. Richard has more of a learning curve than Dan does.

Dan and I played a game against Tim and Jeanne. We lost that one too.

Christina and I played a game against Dan and Tim. Clayton was leaving in the midst of it and I called to him, “You are coming back, right?” I wanted to find out if he’s local. He’ll be good to play against. I’d like to be on a court against him when we both have strong partners.

Light Problems

Kristen L. pulled out a couple net bags and asked for help setting up the nets. “The lights on those [permanent] courts don’t work.” Logical. You want light on your game! Hopefully, the City of Scotts Valley will fix the lights soon since no lights on the permanent courts is miserable!


Dan suggested that Tim and I go ahead and play in a game against Mike B. and Kristin L. Dan took a seat next to the court. If an ATP was needed, the chairs and bags lined up between the two courts would be in the way. I was hoping I wouldn’t’ need one. Tim isn’t flashy but, boy, is he consistent. Con-sis-tent. He doesn’t make a lot of errors. We both played well and won the game 11-2.


I try not to give too much advice to new players. As I told my partner for this game, Adrian’s friend Suzanne, “I don’t want to give you too much to think about.” She and I played against Tim and Richard. We got clobbered. Suzanne has a ways to go, but none of us start playing great! I felt a bit bad, I gave her 3-4 things to think about, but based on her reaction (visibly discouraged), it was too much. Josh, on the other hand, wanted as much advice as I could give him—everyone is different.

Game with Tony

I convinced Tony to play one more game. I wanted a challenge, so I picked Jeanne as my partner against Tony and Mark D. Maybe too much of a challenge. It was pretty lopsided and the game went pretty quick. I needed a stronger partner, though there were a couple of shots that I should have made that I didn’t. Still fun.


Play wrapped up about 8:50 and Dan and I ended up chatting in the parking lot until 9:30. I learned that Dan used to work literally two doors down from me for a few years, but we never got to know each other. We’re also both a quarter Italian. I like Dan. A mellow, upbeat guy.


I forgot to ice my right forearm when I got home. Oops. Hopefully, it’ll still hang in there.

Number of days on a court: 407
Number of total hours: 2,057

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  1. Christina Kobland

    I’m hoping SCPC play with sign up board will resume at Derby Wednesday and Sundays. Any news?

    • andrewlenz

      Hi Christina! I’m not aware of any further developments. I suspect that it won’t resume until at least after the indoor mask mandate is lifted by the County of Santa Cruz. All I can 100% tell you is, that as the SCPC Site Coordinator for Sundays at Derby Park, the board has not approached me with a restart date.

    • andrewlenz

      Christina, coincidentally, I got a call from a SCPC board member this afternoon and it sounds like organized play will resume at Derby Park later in October. The plan is for the exact date to be announced early next month. I’m expecting some growing pains, since there are quite a few new players who have never played under the rules and expectations of the club. We’ll need the “old hands” to explain how things work with club play!

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