Sunday, November 28, 2021 (Court Day #439)
It was a sunny morning and would be a wonderful warm November day. When I arrived at Derby Park at 8:45 a.m., four players were dinking and warming up on a city net. I got about setting up and blowing off the courts. I received a fair amount of help setting up nets, which was great. I only had to set up a couple by myself. The irony was that while I had been there early, when I finished setting up, four courts where in use and I was the odd man out waiting to play!
Some very sad news today. Allan K. told me Grita—Grita Orescan Baron—a regular up until the pandemic—passed away recently. I’d occasionally see her walking with her grandchild a few blocks from my house. Grita would collect dated bread from local bakeries for the needy. She occasionally share a loaf with pickleballers like me from the back of her car at Brommer if she felt that she had extra . . . a few times, I ended up with a loaf or two after a pickleball session.
Grita was a very kind person. She also had very strong forehand drives!
Shortly after 10 a.m., blew my whistle and stopped play. I introduced myself as the site coordinator to those who didn’t know me—I got an unexpected cheer and applause at that, a nice surprise—and told them that the board had asked me to remind everyone about the toy drive and that details are posted on the sign outside the gate. I also made a quick plead that players at the end of the session take down the net if they are done with the court. (This turned out to be extremely successful, I only had to help take down one net today.)
Mustache Matt was back with his daughter Sarah, the college student. This time he also brought Ryan, his son, the oldest of his three kids—as I was told by Ryan himself. Ryan lives in Brentwood up in the Bay Area. (Not the Brentwood of the Los Angeles area. I figure that I’m not the only one who gets confused over two California cities with the same name!)
Ted and I signed up in red, advanced. We ended up with Juls and a male player in our box. Now, officially per club guidelines, “advanced” is supposed to be a 4.0 rating and up. Eric and I are strong 3.5 players. Of the 40 or so players there today, we were the two strongest ones. Maybe Juls asked Ted to join our box, I don’t know. Knowing Ted, he would have said no. Regardless, Juls was outclassed in our game. I forget who she was teamed with but the game finished up 11-2 or 11-1. Granted, I’ve seen Juls play better.
I’m not a snooty guy. I show up early and stay late and play with whomever. But the color coding is there to help for more challenging, balanced games. The lesson is if you are going to “play up”, ask permission of those already signed up. And if you are in a box signed up as advanced and someone asks permission to play up, communicate with those already in your box.
So Ryan signed up in a game with Ted, Eric, and me. It turns out he’s a decent player. We played a few games with him. (Signing up and waiting our turns, of course.) Eric and I played against Ted and Ryan. It was a close game, which I was not expecting. Eric and I won only by a few points. But for the next one, with the sun to our backs, it was a different story. We won 11-1. Ryan is decent. Either a high 3.0 or a low 3.5. Solid with a lot of potential. He’s obviously athletic.
In a game where Larry Y. and I were teamed up, he said, “Let’s do that game again where we don’t hit outside the sidelines . . . I’ve been doing that too much today.” Larry likes spin a whole lot. Sometimes to the detriment of his overall play. Balls may spin and land outside the side of the court. That’s why I had suggested that he work on that during our game together on Thursday. Larry will at some point have a breakthrough and play fantastically . . . for now, he’s growing intermediate with a mix of awesome shots and shooting himself in the foot.
Eric and I had some fun games with Larry and Jenny, a woman in her 50s. I don’t think I’d met Jenny. She signed up in red, but was also not an advanced player. Sure, good hand-eye coordination and power, but little to no soft game. Lots of tennis background, but needs work to adjust to pickleball strategies and skills. Eric and I beat Larry and Jenny 11-0. We mixed it up and played a number of fun games.
1:39 p.m. and I was on my way out.
Monday, November 29, 2021 (No Play)
I shared the Grita news with whomever was on the SCPC board email that went out previously about the toy drive: Karen Long, Dan Bliss, Leslie, site coordinators.
Dan replied and said: “She survived plummeting in her car over a 100′ cliff in Big Sur in the summer of 2020. She was a true warrior and benevolent leader in the tennis community. Dean K. heard of her passing at the Huntsman in Utah showing how widely she was known and respected.”
And Karen also replied: “I spoke with her at length during the summer. She was battling emphysema and caring for her young granddaughter. She was quite ill at that time. I’m very sad to hear of her passing and wish to remember her as a vivacious athlete with a gentle spirit but vicious topspin drive shot.”
My right forearm is bothering me a bit, but it’s more mid-forearm than my regular tennis elbow. I have a feeling that this is a result of the Bandit forearm strap that I’ve been wearing when playing right-handed. That’s good. I neglected to ice my arm after playing yesterday. I did use the massage gun on my forearm this morning though.
Number of days on a court: 439
Number of total hours: 2,152.5
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