Thursday, September 30, 2021 (Court Day #415)
This was my first day playing in a week. I’d flown out Saturday night to Portland, Oregon, taking my mother to a birthday celebration for her dad’s brother (my great-uncle) who was turning 100. He is still sharp and funny, but has slowed down a lot—requiring a lot of help walking, especially up and down stairs, and also requiring oxygen after minor exertion. My mom and I flew back out early Monday afternoon, less than 48 hours after we had landed. There wasn’t time to pack in a pickleball outing with all the family there and the short nature of the trip.
I had one of my staff close so I was at Skypark at 6:30. It was another busy night. I helped Sharyl set up a portable net. We ended up with three temporary nets in addition to the four permanent courts.
I played the first half of the evening lefty to give my right arm a break.
Rob A. and I played a game against Mark D. and Judy. Rob and I took the lead and won handily.
The next game was Juls and me against Rob and Janet. Rob was playing very well. He served one that jumped away when it landed at my backhand. I have a much better appreciation for the challenge of those chainsaw/spin serves! Rob had another that bounced oddly but straight on. I wish I saw these more often. Without practice, they are hard to handle.
Janet and I, then Rob and I, ended up playing a game Sabina and Vanessa—each time with Sabina and Vanessa on opposite sides since they had been only playing about three months. I played both games lefty with Sabina. Rob and I were taking it very easy in the game . . . well, until Rob cranked it up and started poaching and serving a bit harder. I do have to say that Sabina did an admirable job handling the servers better than I was expecting! I was doing my best to get it over the net in a fashion that was easily returnable for Vanessa.
I played a game of singles against Rob and lost 11-2. I got my clock cleaned. Rob has gotten so much better over the last few years. I’d say he’s a 4.0 these days. He’s also been able to “get in” with stronger players—that and he’s a firefighter so he has a lot of free time/days to play.
Once most regulars left, John A. and I played game of singles. He won 11-3. He was on his high school’s tennis team and it showed. That said, we played a second game and I was leading 9-3, then 10-4 . . . then he scored 5 points to make it 10-9. I was dragging, but I won the next next point and the game.
John and I strolled out at 9:45, leaving the younger group of men playing. We were talking for about 5 minutes when a police cruiser pulled into the parking lot near us. Two very nice officers in their 20s walked over and said they got a complaint about the noise after the 9:30 court closing time. We got into a brief conversation about pickleball then they went to talk to the clan of guys still playing.
The officers left about five minutes later and John and I continued to chat for another 10 minutes or so in the dark parking lot. And grumpy man rode up on a bike. He said—in an eastern block accent—that the park was closed and we were trespassing. He asked what we were doing there and that the motion lights had gone off behind his house. (Nevermind that his house is right next to a walking path or that there is a lot of wildlife around from the woods!) He ranted for a bit then said if we didn’t leave he was going to call the police and report us as having tried to break into his house. That made me really annoyed. We weren’t bothering anyone, we were having a quiet conversation probably 50 yards from the nearest house. The guys on the court had stopped playing and were quiet as well. The man even followed us as we walked out and continued to give us a hard time as I got into my car.
Frustration, Singles, and the Future
Playing with Rob made obvious the deficiencies in my game. Singles was great for making plain the lack of accuracy in many of my shots, that and lack of decision-making of where to send the ball. Singles is different. As I told John, in doubles, you can be a bit sloppy and know that your partner is there to cover the other half of the court. In singles, if you get sloppy, the point will be over in very short order. I think playing singles more regularly could really improve my doubles game.
Number of days on a court: 415
Number of total hours: 2,081
To start at the beginning of this blog click on “1st Post” in the menu above.