Sunday, October 31, 2021 (Court Day #428)
In other news, the board of directors of USA Pickleball voted on new rules a few days ago on Thursday. There are some changes such as time out protocols, etc., but the biggest on to me is that the so called “spin serve” toss will be restricted to only one hand come January. Then you can spin the ball all you want but only when holding the ball in one hand and not against any other surfaces.
Dave Witte, SCPC Treasurer had called this week and asked me to bring the envelope of player donations from Derby two weeks ago. In the past, it might be even 8 weeks before I’d see Dave or someone from the board to pass off the envelope(s). I told him I’d bring it. This morning, however, the envelope wasn’t where I’d left it on the bookcase in the bedroom with my things. I didn’t see it in my backpack either but if I looked any longer, I’d be late to open as site coordinator.
I arrived at 8:45 and Tom Sherwood was there with two women. “Oh, there you are! You’re late! I was here early to help you set up!” I unlocked the bins and got about to setting up and lugging temporary nets out of the storage bins. Tom and players helped set up the nets while I blew off the courts.
I soon played an assortment of games of little consequence. I did feel bad after one game. I was playing a game lefty with a woman against Eric and barefoot Terry S. We were losing. When it got to be 10-4 or somesuch, I switch to righty. But it was too late to make up for the shortcomings of my occasional errant lefty shot and the unsuccessful shots of my partner.
Afterward, my partner pointed out, “You weren’t playing to win.”
“Oh, I was playing to win, but there are limitations playing lefty.”
“I was waiting to sign up with you and Eric.”
Ah. She was playing up and hoping to get a sense of an authentic higher-skill game. Oops. Well, she got maximum ability from our opponents which is the most important part. If the game had been life and death or a tournament, I would have played righty. But it was a rec game with a mix of skills.
New guy Matt
As I was heading out the gate, I was met by a tall broad-shouldered man in his 50s sporting a gray mustache who asked, “Who’s in charge here?”
“Me!”, I smiled. “I’m Andrew.”
“Matt.” He extended a hand. “How’s it work here?”
I gave him an explanation of the signup board and other necessities. He asked what constituted an advanced player.
“Well, typically 4.0+, but today…”, I looked around, “…3.5.” Playing righty, one could argue I was the best player or Eric S. would also be a good argument too. Neither of us is a 4.0.
“I shouldn’t slow anyone down, I don’t think,” said Matt. I was looking forward to playing against him. And maybe 30-40 minutes later, I got the chance. I’d been playing lefty all morning, but figured I’d play righty. Matt, and two men I didn’t know, John (I’d seen him around before) and Ben (whom I hadn’t). Ben would be my partner by chance. It worked out though. I was the strongest player and Ben was the least strong.
I was playing very well in that game, though I had a great attackable high ball in the middle to my forehand and I slammed that kill shot . . . right into the net. But overall, I played very well.
”You switched hands!” It was a female tournament player whom I’d just played with now watching from the sidelines. Lori, I think her name was. “I’m playing right handed now.” She asserted with a big smile, “I can tell!” Yep, playing well.
Matt and John are high 3.0 or low 3.5 players. Probably a tournament 3.0. Matt is a banger. (As he said, “I have only one speed!”) John has a bit more finesse.
The Santa Cruz Derby Girls (the local roller derby team) had shown up in force later in the morning all dressed up in costumes with food and music. They signed up for games and meshed in. They were still going after everyone else had left.
Eric and I partnered against some other players. I played lefty, otherwise, we would have been overly formidable. Even playing with me playing lefty, after a net volley battle, Eric commented, “I forget how quick your hands are.” Fun to hear!
Eric, John, Larry
Eric, John P., and I were trying to find a strong player to round out our game. As we looked over the courts, it was slim pickin’s for strong players. Larry L. looked to be the closest thing. A couple of courts were idle so Eric and I drilled for a few minutes then John P. joined us. When Larry’s existing game ended, I called him over.
Larry and I took on Eric and John. We lost two games, though the second game was closer.
Larry hit a cross-court shot dink with me at his left, toward Eric. I figured what Eric was planning and, sure enough, he went for the ATP, but I was ready. I hit the ball back where Eric had been but John was wisely moving to fill the space and returned my shot. But between the space and moving, it was an attackable ball and I put it away. Fun point.
I wanted a third game—Larry and I had scored better in the second game—but Larry wanted to change it up. I don’t mind losing if it’s a good game. In rec play, I’d rather be challenged with the strongest players as my opponents.
Eric turned away from the net to John and replied (to some unheard comment), “He doesn’t play by the rules.” They were talking about me. But it was wasn’t really about rules, it was about expectations. John had hit a nice cross-court dink, but I had judged it high enough that I could hit up on the ball with my paddle with a closed face and lift it while imparting a lot of topspin and keep the ball low and fast. It was a winner as I hit it between them. There aren’t many local players who attack dinks like that. (Juls had mentioned this some weeks back, “You are the only player I’ve seen who attacks balls like that.”) To Eric’s credit, he predicted my next attack like that and was able to return it.
Missing Envelope. Gag.
Dave Witte showed up shortly before noon. Nope, after looking hard, the donations envelope was definitely not in my backpack. I texted my wife. She’d moved the envelope to my computer desk without telling me. Ah. Dave said he’d call my house and if I wasn’t there yet, he’d just get it from my wife.
It was about 1:30 by the time we stopped play and took down club nets, leaving the Derby Girls to use the inferior city nets.
When I pulled up in front of my house, Dave Witte was standing and talking to my wife Kristen outside our front porch. I think she’d bent his ear, since she told me how Dave is a sailor and had a sailboat for a long time and some other insights about Dave! But Dave got his envelope!
Number of days on a court: 428
Number of total hours: 2,118
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