New Years Day. Saturday, January 1, 2022 (Court Day #449)

I was experiencing a glimmer of a cramp—or tightness—in my right calf, so I drank some pickle juice. I figured that it was either that or mustard. It was a mere 42° when I walked out my front door. I knew there would be players at Derby, Skypark, and Brommer today with the holiday. I could pick my poison. The stiffest competition would be at Brommer so that’s where I headed and arrived at 9:23 a.m. It would be a sunny day and it would gradually feel warmer than the 54° it would be at the end of my session.

Early crowd at Brommer.

The four permanent courts were full. Jackie was setting up her portable net—and was helping another person figure out how to set up his SwiftNet. I trotted over and assisted. Jackie usually plays with a group of women, but they weren’t there yet, so after the nets were set up, I was in a game with Jackie against a woman named Amy and Steve . . . Steve the spinmeister. We lost the first game 11-5—it was definitely a “warmup game” for me—but won the second 11-3. In the second game, after I made a particularly good shot, Steve kidded, “Who are you?” Steve hasn’t seen me play right-handed for quite some time!

Hours of Play

I played a for a long time, cycling through games. I played a number with Duey and Patty. My last few were lefty older Dan, Patty, and . . . we’ll call him Mr. M since he asked to not be named in my blog. (He plays well, so it’s not that. Maybe he’s on the run from the FBI.) Regardless, both Patty and Mr. M. are respected as good players. I was expecting Dan and me to get killed playing those two, but we were surprisingly well in the mix. We lost the second game 13-11. Mr. M shared, “You were formidable.” Nice compliment.

In the Mix

It was nice to have at least half a dozen maybe ten, players on the courts who were better than me. Imran, Chris Y., and their foursome topped the list. I didn’t get to play with any of those four, they played only themselves though later Imran stuck around and played some games.

It was feeling late. I checked the time: a few minutes shy of 2 p.m. A solid 4.5 hours of play. I called it a day, leaving a couple of courts still going.

What did I learn?

I need to be patient. I need to stop being sloppy with my strategy. I can’t drive against strong players from deep in the court or even from the kitchen line and expect the ball to not come back. The soft game is necessary.

Arm

Steady as she goes. Only mild discomfort.

It was a great way to start a year—playing pickleball!


Number of days on a court: 449
Number of total hours: 2,181

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