Tuesday, April 19, 2022 (Court Day #486)

This morning I was pretty tired and still may be a little bit sore from Sunday’s pickleball outing, so I wasn’t all too eager to go play tonight. However when I came home for lunch though I was feeling the same way, I grabbed my shoes and my pickleball gear just in case. As it was, I thought to myself, “if I really want to get better, I need to play“ plus I also need to exercise.

Work wrapped up quickly, and while the cashiers were counting out, I went ahead and changed. It was just about 6:30 p.m. when I arrived at Skypark and I took the next to last parking place. Both  tennis courts were full and there were two portable pickleball nets set up.

Sam, active firefighter Rob (blue), playing with Tim (light gray), retired firefighter Matt S.(red)

I got into a game fairly quickly. In my first game I was partnered with Sharyl. After I hit her with the ball and she wasn’t happy about it years ago, I prefer to play with her rather than against her! We played against Mark Dettle and Wendy.

Rob A., Tim, Sam, and Adrian were playing on a court adjacent to my game. I was looking at that game longingly, hoping I would be able to get in with them after a game or maybe two.

Sharyl and I won the game in a fairly lopsided fashion. During the game Wendy made a comment to Mark after one of my shots about how I was hitting hard as well as down. The ball hadn’t really been that high, but I put a lot of topspin on my drive and the ball landed near Mark’s feet and the rally was over.

Matt W. arrived around 7:30 PM, when I asked him whether his friend Paul was coming or not, Matt said that Paul was working and would not be making it tonight.

I did end up playing a game against Rob, which is always great. Rob makes for great competition. After that game, we ended up stepping out to let others play and so he and I drilled for about 15 minutes. Rob asked what I wanted to work on and I told him backhand crosscourt dinks, which is what we did.

Rob and I got back into a game, as partners this time. Not a surprise that we won that game.

Once 9 o’clock rolled around, my play started to deteriorate. It had been a long day.

I ended up talking with Matt W., Aaron, and Marvin on the courts after the lights went out, then with Marvin for another 15 minutes in the parking lot. Marvin works about a block from me in downtown Santa Cruz and we know a number of people in common.

Friday, April 22, 2022 (No Play)

It was a bit rainy and cleared, but play was still questionable last night. I opted to stay home. Tonight, I drove to Big 5 Sporting Goods to pick up some new everyday shoes. Anytime that I’m there, I check out their selection of pickleball gear. They had a portable net and an assortment of lower-end paddles . . . most in the $50 range. There was one paddle that I strongly suspect was “illegal”—that is, not approved by the association for tournament play. This Gamma Quest paddle. The face of the paddle was like sandpaper. I’ve never felt a paddle like this. The texture has got to be beyond what is allowed by USA Pickleball . . . but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s legal but the grit doesn’t hold up. No idea.

The suspect paddle.

No, I didn’t buy it. I just got my shoes and headed home for dinner!

Number of days on a court: 486
Number of total hours: 2,289.5

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