Sunday, June 26, 2022 (Court Day #506)

My daughter picked up my wife and me from San Francisco International Airport from our European trip and we were walking into our house about midnight. (I never was able to arranged any play for our brief visit in Sweden. Bummer. At least I got Rome!) Three weeks ago, I had arranged for others to open Derby Park in my stead. I arrived at Derby about 10:30 a.m. (That’s 7:30 p.m. Italy/Sweden time!)


Eric S. was there acting as the site coordinator. He pointed to the empty spot where the new metal storage bin had been, “Between Wednesday and Friday morning, someone stole our storage bin.” That thing is heavy! It had to have been a several person coordinated effort with a truck. We lost our battery-powered blower, loaner paddles, a bunch of balls, ball holsters, backpack with instructional handouts, and other things we use. Such a disappointment.


My first game was an ego booster, playing a game in a red/advanced box with players who shouldn’t be signing up as advanced.

Skill Creep Problem

I started a box in red. A woman, a regular, added her name under mine. I asked a few players if they’d join the box and they said “yes” until they saw her name then shook their heads and walked away to wait for a better opportunity. Other advanced players got a foursome together and they all filled an empty box en masse as “intermediate” players to get past the rule of completing matching skill level box before starting a new box.

This was a problem. I could either dilute the advanced category by getting intermediates to fill out the rest of my red box … or I do what Dan Bliss did with me some months back. Unpleasant, but probably the best solution.

I called the woman aside and told her that no one wanted to sign up in a box with her and that she’s really not an advanced player. I told her that Dan Bliss had to have this talk with me and it’s awkward and not a pleasant conversation to have to have. I told her if she wants to sign up in red, she needs to ask permission first.

She was very unhappy with me and accused me of gender discrimination. She said a woman named Linda—I don’t know this person—as well as a couple of young male players told her that she’s an advanced player. I suspect Linda and maybe the young guys aren’t advanced players either. And later she told me that “all men are a—oles”. Of course, I stopped to analyze myself and see things from her perspective. Nonetheless, I don’t consider her an advanced player. (As others also believe, obviously, given that they refused to sign up in her box.)

I talked to Tony (of the SCPC board) and he said that the same woman had been told at Brommer Park by different male player that she was not an advanced player.

Last Games

I played three last games with Rick and René with Allen as my partner. Allen and I lost all three games. I was not at all happy with my play. It was frustrating. Maybe it was the 9-hour jet jag? (It was about 10 p.m. Italy time when we were playing. ) Or more likely, me only playing once in nearly three weeks.

We got everything remaining stowed and I locked up the remaining old storage bin. It was a little after 1:30 p.m. As I pulled out to drive away, Rick stopped me. “The entryway metal post isn’t locked. Anyone can pull it and drive in.” It was probably ripped out for the box theft . . . or maybe it was already useless prior to that. I wrote to the SCPC board to have them notify the city about it, but they had already just told the city. Good.

Monday, June 27, 2022 (No Play)

I thought this was interesting enough to share…


One of the more compelling matches at the PPA Orange County Cup on June 12 was the Mixed Doubles Final. Anna Leigh Waters and JW Johnson defeated Lucy Kovalova and Matt Wright in five games, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-1. These teams traded games by similar scores…but what happened in that 11-1 fifth game?

A shift in third-shot strategy.

Through the first four games, Waters had 16 3rd-drops and 16 3rd-drives, (50%). Johnson had 37 drops and 8 drives, (82%).  Those numbers are relatively “normal” for both players. They were at 68% drops through four games; Then they flipped the switch.

In Game Five, on 15 service points, Waters/Johnson hit 13 drives, 1 drop, and 1 unclear. (The broadcast was showing a replay). They won 11 of those 15 rallies, 10 of the last 11, and their last 8 in a row.

Johnson had six 3rd shots. All drives. All from the left court, all forehand. He hit five straight ahead to Kovalova’s backhand, and one cross-court to Wright’s forehand. His team won all six rallies.

Waters hit one drop, cross-court from the right side. She hit seven drives, all from the right side. She hit three backhand drives (one into the net, one cross-court to Kovalova, one straight ahead to Wright). She hit four forehand drives (one into the net, one cross-court to Kovalova, and two straight ahead to Wright. Her team won four of the eight rallies where she hit the third shot (and two of those four losses came from her hitting the ball into the net.)

As Morgan Evans noted in the broadcast at 5-1 in the 5th, “JW is channeling his inner ‘Leigh Waters’ knowing that’s really going to make Anna Leigh Waters comfortable, and he’s applying serious pressure again and again.” That assessment is backed by these statistics.

(Photo: YouTube/PPA Tour.)  Anna Leigh Waters prepares for a backhanded third shot drive. This drive “chicken-winged” Wright, leading to a Johnson “shake ‘n bake” forehand winner, and a 7-1 lead on the 5th.

Thank you Matt Slowinski for the June 23 post that inspired this breakdown.  If you like this sort of analysis, please come visit my group,

Jim Ramsey

Number of days on a court: 506
Number of total hours: 2,346

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