Adventures of Andrew Lenz and a Yellow Ball

Month: March 2022 (Page 2 of 4)

Rob Shows What’s Up

Sunday, March 20, 2022 (Court Day #478)

Today, was the first day of spring, though I wouldn’t realize that until much later. It rained yesterday and last night I asked Rick Abend—who lives two blocks from Derby Park—to check the courts at 8:15 today to see if they were dry. He gave me the ‘all clear’ at 8:02 a.m. It was a beautiful day today though it did get breezy in the early afternoon.

I was playing very well today. I had a few games where I made only 2-3 errors for the entire game. I can confidently say I was the strongest player there.


But then Barb J. arrived at the same time as Rob A. , the firefighter and my one-time tournament partner. Barb has an extremely strong tennis background and Rob is always formidable. After Eric and I finished up a couple of games out of sync with Barb and Rob, we opted to wait for them to finish their game in progress. Rob and Barb were split both partnered with weaker players to make their game more balanced. And it was—their game went on and on! But after about 10-15 minutes, we got them.

Eric and I took a several point lead over Rob and Barb. But then it felt like my game imploded. I hit shots long or too high. Eric tightened up his game but my game went from strong to frustrating. We lost 11-8 after they went on a run.

Barb had to go, so then Eric and I played a game against Rob and a weaker intermediate woman and we won 11-1 or 11-2. Not a surprise.

Then we played three games against Rob and Adrian. We lost every single game. So frustrating. I didn’t feel like I was playing poorly, but it just wasn’t good enough. I suppose it might have been how Bryan felt when he and his partner played against Kyle Yates and Ben Johns a few years ago. You just aren’t up to snuff. This was the first time when I felt that there was a solid gap between Rob and me . . . often he’d be “off” and I’d be “on”. I didn’t feel like I was off. I just wasn’t a strong enough player.

The Lesson

I have to hand it to Rob. I lost nearly two years of training by having to play left-handed due to tennis elbow. Rob, as a firefighter, gets time at work to play and also get to play on his days off as well. He’s progressed and earned his stripes in the advanced group at Brommer Park. Kudos.

Mid-afternoon, March 22, 2022 (No Play Yet)

Barb stopped by my work this afternoon. We talked about pickleball, of course. She said, “We just squeaked by you,” referring to her game paired with Rob against Eric and me. She said she’s working back into playing due to a shoulder issue and it can be frustrating at times for her.

Number of days on a court: 478
Number of total hours: 2,268

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Another Light Crowd

Thursday, March 17, 2022 (Court Day #477) – St. Patrick’s Day

I arrived at Skypark about 6:40 p.m. after work. I took the last spot in the lot.

Things were busier than Tuesday, but that’s not saying much. It was still a light group. I cycled through assorted games. Nothing of great note.

There were a couple of new guys, Daryl and Barry. Mid to late 50s, I guess. Daryl and Barry are decent 3.0 level players, but provide a good game. Those were fun. Daryl said he’d played years ago in Washington State but then took years off and is now getting back into it.

Matt and Paul’s friend Aaron is coming along. The three of us played a few games. Aaron used to be complete cannon fodder, but he’s getting better. Maybe still a 2.5, but could be a low 3.0. It’s nice to see guys improve.

That’s the thing. Everyone wants a good game. That’s why better players will give tips to weaker players. They want weaker players to get better. The stronger the local field of players, the more good games you’ll get.

Number of days on a court: 477
Number of total hours: 2,263.5

To start at the beginning of this blog click on “1st Post” in the menu above.

Where is Everyone?

Tuesday, March 15, 2022 (Court Day #476)

Tonight at 8 p.m., there was a scheduled district ambassador meeting. Given than I usually play pickleball on Tuesday nights, I arranged to leave work an hour earlier than I usually do. As such, I arrived at Skypark at 5:30 p.m. Parking was easy. Disturbingly easy. There were two unfamiliar couples playing doubles on one court and Tim and Sam playing/drilling on another. Just six people before me? Wow.

2 on 1

Soon, it was Tim and me against Sam. Sam said he wanted to cover his whole side of the court. I just shrugged. Ok. We beat 11-1 or 11-2.

We played again, this time having Sam only cover half of his side of the court, the side he received the serve on. Surprisingly, resulting score was about the same, 11-2. It didn’t help that Tim and I are both stronger players than Sam!

Conventional Games

Mark Dettle showed up, followed by Judy, then Sharyl. More conventional games followed.

It was a crazy quiet night, No tennis players and only and handful of pickleball players. It was eerie. Where was everyone? Had Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine taken a devastating nuclear turn? Was there some big news we had missed? I still don’t know. Sure, it was the first evening after the time change, but this change made it lighter later, not darker earlier.

I called over to Paul W. asking the time and got back “7:30!” We finished that game and then I was on the road home for the USA Pickleball Zoom meeting.

Mark and Terry face Paul and Sharyl.

I went home feeling pretty good about my play. But while I was playing with solid players, points were over a bit two quickly . . . whether it was my partner or my opponents. Playing against stronger players challenges me and could have sent me home depressed but pushed to grow . . . that was not tonight.

Ambassador Meeting

I was home and set up just in time for the 8 p.m. Zoom meeting. Steve Sutton was leading the group. There were only about half a dozen of on the meeting. Steve said it had been decided that skinny singles would soon be an officially recognized tournament event. Also that the background checks required of USAP Ambassadors is part of the drive to make pickleball an Olympic event . . . existing Olympic organizations make background checks mandatory for those involved in running the organization. Steve also talked about funding, retreats, and some other topics before opening up meeting for updates/questions regarding pickleball in the various cities represented. Steve asked everyone but me, but I’m a relative newbie as far as Ambassadors go.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022 (No Play)

We had a funny event at work. Our youngest staff member (19) spaced out and put his instant soup in the microwave for lunch without adding any water. The result was a whole lot of smoke which set off the smoke detector and the fire department was dispatched! We had Engine 3112 pull up and I had to explain that one of my staff was a dork. The coincidental thing was today was the 20th anniversary of a several alarm fire which occurred under business and shut us down for nearly 2 weeks. It made our building sell like smoke for 9 months! Looking back at an old photo, on scene near the entrance 20 years ago was Engine 3112. (That rig was replaced in the last 20 years, but sports the same number.) It’s not that weird that 3112 was on scene, there were about 6 engines fighting our fire back then . . . though 3112 was parked in almost exactly the same spot.

Pickleball on TV

So, CBS thinks it would be good viewing to see a celebrity pickleball tournament fundraiser on their network. It’ll be a 2-hour TV special named “Pickled”.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

And Deadline:

It’ll be interesting to learn more about it over the coming months.

Number of days on a court: 476
Number of total hours: 2,260.5

To start at the beginning of this blog click on “1st Post” in the menu above.

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