Misadventures of Andrew Lenz and a yellow ball

New Tournament Partner?

Tuesday, September 7, 2021 (Court Day #409)

My evenings filled up this week, so even though I played yesterday, I figured I’d get out and play at least one evening this week, which meant tonight. I arrived at Skypark at 6:40.

As I walked in, someone was walking in with me. Charles! “How tall are you? 6-8?” “6 foot 7.” Yep, very tall! We warmed up for about 10 minutes when one of the two games across the divider net ended and Janet invited us over.

I played a number of fun but unmemorable games. We were playing to 7 since players were waiting to rotate in. About 7 p.m. the clan of eight young guys appeared across the divider and were playing games among themselves.


This was my second outing with Clayton there. He and I played against Mark D. and Richard. I played lefty to even things up a bit more. Clayton didn’t know I was playing lefty until I told him. Mid-game I made some crack about being old and having to run and get the ball. Clayton laughed, “I’m older than you are!” I wasn’t so convinced.
“How old are you?”
“Ha! I’m 54!”
When Mark and Richard tied up the score, Clayton was encouraging me to switch to right-handed. (That’s not to say that I was making all the mistakes, Clayton had his share too.) I told him, “Don’t worry, have faith.” We finished up the game to 7 and won. I would have been embarrassed to lose—even lefty—to Mark and a player on his third time out. I was kind of embarrassed that we didn’t win by more!


It was starting to get darker. The lights went from partially working last week to not working at all! Larry and Kristin left as did Mark and Richard. Clayton and I were looking at each other. I said, “Maybe it’s time…” I paused. “Time for… singles?” He had a big grin on his face! Ok. I’m always game. So, we played singles. It stayed 0-0 for a number of changes of serve but then I took a 4-0 lead. Then 4-1. Then back and forth. What was funny was us missing three serves in a row between us. With me leading 9-4 at about 8 p.m., Clayton finally stopped and said, “I can’t see the ball!” We stopped for the night.


As we walked over to get our gear to leave, Clayton asked, “Do you play tournaments?” I told him yes then mentioned there was a tournament coming up soon and he needed a partner. Anything soon would be out of the question with work as demanding as it has been. He also mentioned that he owns a ball feeder and he’d be interested in drilling. I got his mobile number and his email address.

It’s dark with no lights!

Saturday, September 11, 2021 (No Play)

John P. called me a couple of days ago and said a meeting had been arranged for 3 p.m. at Derby Park to show Rick Abend—who had accepted the role of Site Coordinator for Wednesdays—the ropes . . . that is, the storage bins, release forms for newbies/visitors to sign, how to handle the cash donations, etc. The Santa Cruz Pickleball Club had met and was planning to restart organized club play at Derby Park next month. Dave Witte (the club treasurer) and Dave Allenbaugh were also briefly there. I had been tied up at work—not a surprise, it happens frequently—so I didn’t arrive until about 3:15. As I walked up, I was happily shocked to see four courts in use at Derby and I knew not a single one of the players. And they were all under 40, in fact, they might have all been under 30!

Young players in a game. And this newbie group was playing at at least a solid 3.0 level!

Going Down!

Less than 60 seconds after met with the guys outside the courts at the locking bins, there was a cry of anguish and despair of “It’s broken, it’s broken.” A very large man—probably 6’2” and north of 300lbs—was on his back on the court just inside the fence. Dave Allenbaugh grabbed a instant cooling pack and we went in. After some discussion, we helped the injured man up and with Dave A. and the man’s friend under each sweaty arm, they helped him to his car where his girlfriend drove him to the ER. Nothing like trial by fire for a new (off duty) site coordinator!

Net Repair

John and I explained some of the nuances of required duties to Rick, then we all went in to inspect the four nets that the city had bought for the courts. I’d never seen these nets before. John said the two nets that the city had there previously were in rough shape and had rusted, so they were replaced.

John P. starting work on net repairs as Rick looks on.

These newer replacement nets were pretty cheap. I’d never seen the brand before and the Velcro had mostly given up the ghost so someone had tied the straps to the posts instead. Not the best situation! The nets were sagging so John and I bent the horizontal tubes to splay the uprights back to vertical or even slightly out. I have to remember to get a measuring tape and put it in my backpack!

I hope people follow this advice, but I’m skeptical.

Rick walked over as we finished up repairs and asked about the rules for waiting tennis players. We told him we believed it was a 40 minute wait once the request was put in, but the city had posted the guidelines outside the gate. Rick had to be somewhere so left.

Future Pickleball Player?

Around 4:10, John and I headed out. There was a tall young woman sporting a blonde ponytail that some older players were talking to about tennis courts. I told her there are two good ones at Meder Street Park and they’d already told her about the court at the UCSC building on Shaffer Road. “Why are there so many pickleball players here?” (It wasn’t that many, 11 playing plus John and me.) “It’s getting really popular. I’ve been playing nearly five years and I don’t know any of these people.” We chatted another minute and she said, “I’m new to tennis . . . maybe I should take up pickleball.” “Well, you nearly always get a game!” Afterward, I realized this would have been a good instance to have the USA Pickleball ambassador business cards that I haven’t ordered yet. The association gives you practically nothing for being an ambassador, but apparently they do provide you with business cards. You have to pay for your own shirt, cap, name tag, and banner(s) . . . if you want them.

Oh, and I did a ambassador search on the association website, and yes, I’m there now.

Number of days on a court: 409
Number of total hours: 2,063

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  1. Joe Mcdonald

    Andrew, I was thinking the same thing. I watched you play latter on and you were quite better and I played a lot better, I don’t know what happened but I was really tight and hit a bunch of balls out. Even Julia the girl who was playing with Alan , who I played against the day before asked me what happened? Yes, I think you and I should of played another game and had a chance at redemption. Oh Well!

    • andrewlenz

      Hey Joe! I’ll be your partner any time! We all have our good games and bad games, and I just as soon flush my play in that game! Yes, next time, redemption!!

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