Sunday, December 19, 2021 (Court Day #446)

It was quite chilly this morning. 40 degrees. My wife dropped me off today at about 8:40—her car is in the shop for service so she wanted mine. It was overcast on top of chilly.

Tom and Meagan from Sacramento on the far side against Tom B. And Larry Y.

Things were hopping today, we had at least 40-45 people. Enough that I blew my whistle mid-morning and we did “play to 9, win by 1”.

There was a younger married couple, Tom and Meagan, visiting from Sacramento. Meagan’s parents live in Santa Cruz and so they are visiting for the holidays.

Tom was looking like a good player in the snippets that I caught from another court. I was hoping to get into a game with these two and it happened later on in the session.

Ouch. Spin Serve!

Tom is first player I’ve seen to fully execute this new spin serve and I can see why even really good players have trouble with them. He used it on me three times with success on two of them. One of my failed returns literally bounced off the edge of my paddle and soared 15-20 feet in the air flew over my partner to my right and landed in the court next to us. Crazy.

I asked Tom was his rating was and he said he didn’t know. I told him, “You are a 4.0.” Tom’s weakness was driving into the net or otherwise being impatient. But he has those killer spin serves, excellent ball control, powerful drives. When I asked if he played tennis or racquetball or squash, he said no. “Baseball.” Ok. Fantastic hand-eye coordination, regardless.

I was out at 2:10 p.m. to be picked up by my wife. Long session!

What did I learn?

I’m not a 4.0—at least, that’s how I felt today. I really need to put some serious time in developing a spin serve myself. Also, I need more exposure to spin serves to properly return them. It introduces a wildcard dynamic to the game. I don’t necessarily mind the challenge, but this is going to create a massive divide in the game . . . those who master serving and handling these spin serves and those who will get destroyed by these serves.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021 (No Play)

Normally, I’d play tonight, but the rain has come in. “No pickleball for 10 days,” my wife said after family dinner. It’s looking pretty grim, but we’ll see.

Saturday, December 25, 2021 (No Play)

Last night, Christmas Eve, at our family gathering at my parents, we had a Secret Santa gift exchange. My sister had pulled my name a few weeks ago, so—with some input from my son Nicholas—I was the recipient of a new “Pickleball” sweatshirt! Cool!

And my wife’s sister Liz bought her husband Steve and her pickleball paddles.

It seems their dog Lucky approves.

Sunday, December 26, 2021 (No Play)

I drove down to Sgt. Derby Park shortly after 8 a.m. to scope out the courts after heavy rain overnight. Yep. Very wet. The sun was out but with the temperature in the low 40s and that sun low in the sky, I wasn’t very hopeful. Hoping against hope, as they say.

Shortly after 8 a.m.

I texted Dave Allenbaugh to send out a “delayed until 10 a.m., bring towels” notice, which he did. I drove down a second time and checked out the courts at 9:25. Larry and his wife Jacquie and a couple I didn’t recognize—but seemed to know me—were there doing a limited dinking game. The courts were still too wet for me to guarantee a safe session at 10 a.m. so I texted Dave to send out a notice cancelling the club session. That’s the hardest aspect of my duties as a site coordinator. “Play or no play?” But I have to error on the side of caution. That’s tempered with my own very strong desire to get out and play.

Number of days on a court: 446
Number of total hours: 2,173.5

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