Adventures of Andrew Lenz and a Yellow Ball

Month: September 2022 (Page 2 of 6)

Drop, Drop, Drop

Sunday, September 25, 2022 (Court Day #552)

I was stressing this morning about whether or not the courts would be wet or not. I texted Rick A. (who lives nearby) but he wasn’t able to get back to me. Making the call about a delay or cancelation of play is the most stressful part of being a site coordinator. My front deck—a synthetic non-absorbent material—was wet, but when I put my hand on my driveway, it didn’t seem wet. I figured the courts would be fine.

I arrived to Derby park it 8:38 a.m., and I was the first one there. The courts were dry and I had been needlessly worrying.

The sad state of the City’s two older portable nets.

I had a few disposable games during the social hour. And there were two newbies that I played with, Michelle and Kristin.

A surprise result, I was playing with Michelle against Steve and Ted and she and I won. It was a surprise since Michelle is a novice, but I was able to make up for her shortcomings.

But then René showed up. René and I will be playing in a tournament one week from today up the Bay Area. I waited for her to finish her game and then we paired up for the next 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

I was repeatedly hitting really nice dropshots. That’s progress. It’s been reverting to less reliability lately.

I was done at 1:52 pm. 5 hours at the courts.

New SCPC Caps

Barb was there selling pre-ordered club shirt and club caps. I’d ordered a cap. I forgot they were $25. Not cheap. But it’ll get use.

My new club cap.


I forgot to put on sunscreen and burnt my neck pretty good. I’m counting my blessings that it was at least overcast today and it took a little of the edge off. It could have been much worse!

Number of days on a court: 552
Number of total hours: 2,495

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

Sun Sick Partner

Friday, September 23, 2022 (Court Day #551)

René arranged a private games session between myself and her against her friend Rick and Jason. I told René I could get there by 4 p.m., and Jason said that he could get there at 3:30 p.m., so René and Rick opted to meet with Jason little bit earlier.

When I got to Brommer Park at about 4:10—after getting stuck in rush hour traffic!—they are playing a 2 on 1 game. They were happy to see me. With a tournament coming up in about a week together, René and I were partners in a game against Rick and Jason. We fell behind. René was not moving very fast in the heat. It was in the mid 80s, we had no shade, and had the sun in our faces. Partway through the game René said she was not feeling well and stepped out of the game, went over to the wall at the edge of the courts, and laid down.

Without a word, Rick jumped into a game with three unknown players who were happy to have a fourth.

Eventually, we made another attempt at a game, but again René only made it a few rallies before she felt really sick again and had to stop.


On her way to the wall, René passed behind the court of a man playing with his young son. At that, the man got angry and gave an expletive-laced objection—in front of his child—to René about interrupting their game. She hadn’t done it before and she wasn’t inside their court. I don’t know that the guy’s problem was. Yes, René should have waited for a break in their play, but did it really deserve a that kind of reaction? I don’t believe so.

Across the divider John Funky (Hugh’s friend) and Peter (who I met at the Chamisol tournament two weeks ago) were playing against two other players who I don’t know. One ended up taking off and Jason played with the remaining guy who had seen before but I didn’t know his name. They played against Peter and John. René and I waited.

After about 10 minutes Jason and I took on Peter and John. I played consistently very well in that game. I hit an ATP gentle lob outside of John and it landed in the corner of the court behind him. John was impressed, “That was a sick shot!” Others voiced similar praise. During one rally at the net, Peter and John were slamming down but I was getting the ball back anyway. Watching, René exclaimed, “Andrew has super fast hands!” Nonetheless, I lost that rally anyway after a few shots when I couldn’t reset the ball well enough.

Back Down to Earth

Jason and I switched sides and Rick replaced Peter who was done for the day. It would have been hard to play as well as I did in the first game… and I didn’t. An example was me calling off Jason to my right for a high ball then me hitting what would have been a winner long out past our opponent’s baseline! Duh. That and hitting “out balls”. That is a killer for me.

And Out!

Jason had head out and that was that, shortly after 6 p.m.

Tennis Elbow?

My right arm is bothering me a bit. I’m still religiously using my Bandit forearm strap—I never hit shots with my right hand without it. But this discomfort is worrisome. Hopefully, it’ll just recede, but it’s been bugging me after the last few outings.

Saturday, September 24, 2022 (No Play)

The big talk today is USA Pickleball banning the spin serve for 2023. Now, what I used to always call a spin serve—a ball hit in a fashion to spin the ball—will still be legal. What will not be legal is imparting spin on the toss before the ball is struck. I kind of figured this would be coming. I never bothered to learn an “on the toss” spin serve. I’m happy to see it go. I know there are players out there who vehemently believe it’s a disservice to the sport to ban it. In my opinion, it changes the dynamic of the serve too much. In table tennis (ping pong), finger spinning was banned in 1937 after the serves became extremely difficult or impossible to return—even for experts. Even without finger spinning a pickleball, serves can be done that are nearly impossible to return, though they are a high risk for a service fault.

Number of days on a court: 551
Number of total hours: 2,490

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

White Tape…and Teeth

Tuesday, September 20, 2022 (Court Day #550)

I left work and arrived at Skypark at 6:30 p.m. I’ve learned that I can park back alongside the courts if the paved parking lot is full.

Tennis Bottleneck

When I arrived, the four permanent pickleball courts are full of players, and a bunch of other players were sitting and standing along the bench and fence waiting for the two tennis players on the dual-striped tennis court to finish and open up the four additional temporary pickleball courts—which would accommodate 16 waiting people.

Tonight, there were three singles games going on for tennis. Two on dedicated courts but the third was on the one court also striped for pickleball. About five minutes after I arrived, the two tennis players who are playing singles decided that they were done. It turns out one of those two tennis players also plays pickleball. I’d seen him in the group once before, but we haven’t been introduced nor played together yet.

Someone asked if I had access to the storage bin with the portable nets and I said I did. I put it in the code and opened the lock box with the key to the bin and we pulled out the four portable nets and immediately set up three of them. The last one also got set up not too much later.

Tonight, with the exception of one game, I had all pretty strong opponents. I was playing reasonably well, though I kept track of how many balls I hit into the white tape of the net tonight. 15. A whole lot! Too many.


Matt B. brought his energetic son Lucas and Paul W. brought his daughter Mallory. While I didn’t play any of the kids—they walked to their nearby home fairly early—Matt said Lucas had an ATP tonight. Lucas is still very much a little kid, but he gets around on the court!

Last Games

The last four games of the night, which were all pretty long, was Tim and myself against Matt and his friend Paul. The first game was pretty even, the second game was lopsided in their favor. The third game Tim and I won 11 to 3. And the fourth and final game Tim and I were leading when Paul and Matt turned it on and end up winning that game. There are fun challenging games. Matt and Paul continue to improve. From what I understand they are still coming out at lunchtime, since they live very very close nearby, and playing singles and drilling. They’re both making less unforced errors than they had in the past.

The lights clicked off at 9:30 p.m., a few minutes after we finished that final game. It was a three hour session of playing pickleball.


When I got home, I had some dinner. I was eating salad—no cruttons—when my right canine tooth snapped off at the gum line. (Things you don’t have to deal with with when you are under 50!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2022 (No Play)

I got an emergency appointment with my dentist this morning. She was very empathetic. “Ooo, the nerve is exposed!” (That explains why I didn’t sleep that well last night and trying to brush too near that tooth was exceedingly painful!) She gently poked the nerve with a tool to see if it was “live” and I nearly jumped out of the dentist chair. She proceeded to kill the nerve with some solution on a cotton ball and then did an impromptu root canal. “I haven’t done this in so long!” (Dentists tend to specialize these days and send out things like extractions and root canals.) She put on an temporary filling and sent me on my way after some effort trying to set up an appointment with the oral surgeon who was off for the day.

Thursday, September 22, 2022 (No Play)

This morning, I got a call from the oral surgeon’s office and my dentist had convinced him to go ahead and remove my bad tooth today instead of making me wait two weeks. It was a tricky extraction that took 2-3 times longer than is typical, but it was successful. Now I wait six months then a metal post to goes in, then another four months for it to bond then I get a fake tooth will be put on.

I planned to head to work after the procedure, but I was miserable.

Instead of playing pickleball tonight, I’m lying on my bed swapping out bloody gauze every hour or so and taking Advil. No fun. But it could always be worse!

Interesting Video

Tyson McGuffin does some pro rallies breakdown:

That video lead me to stumbling on this article that has some useful insights:

One particularly interesting tidbit is if one of your two opponents is deadly volleying at the net and they are both back, hit to the deadly one to keep him away from his strength.

Number of days on a court: 550
Number of total hours: 2,488

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

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