Adventures of Andrew Lenz and a Yellow Ball

Month: December 2022 (Page 1 of 2)

Back, But Winded

Monday, December 26, 2022. (Court Day #567)

Yesterday morning, my COVID rapid test came back with the less strong of a positive reading, but it was still a faint positive. Today, once my wife got back from her dog walk, she dug out a COVID test from her secret hiding place. My test came back absolutely clear. Understandably, I was quite happy. This meant I was released from my “house arrest” of COVID isolation. It was getting kind of miserable.

I quickly changed and headed out the door, making a quick stop at work to record a holiday phone greeting that the business is closed today (that I would’ve recorded last week had a not been sick), and then headed directly to Brommer Street Park to play pickleball. I arrived a few minutes before 11 a.m. and by that time some of the players have left, leaving two empty parking spots even though the courts were pretty busy.

Art, Adrian, René. and Rick.

My first game was with René against Art and Adrian. It was crazy—I was getting significantly winded without doing much at all. This is definitely the aftereffects of COVID. Hopefully, my lung capacity will return to normal soon.

I went on to play games with René and Rick with various partners. The games were fun and I was playing ok considering I had a two week layoff.


I played a game with Rick against René and Tanya. René wanted “girls against boys”. Tanya was Rick’s partner from a tournament in the last few months. Tanya is tall, maybe 5’11”, and dresses/looks very much like a tennis player. The first rally in that game was a blast, it was maybe 20 hits with lots of dinking. Real pickleball. Tanya is a good player. Rick and I won the game by a very comfortable margin, but there were good rallies in that game.

Most of my games today were pretty good, although there were a handful that were not thrilling. Like the game I played with all beginners.

A particularly fun game was me and Mike D. against Rick Abend and Jason. It was a close game, but Mike and I lost. The loss was very much mostly me, though Mike wasn’t perfect. Midgame, after I blew a shot, Mike kidded, “Are you going to stop messing around soon?” I guess I had minor consolation that the game ended on a shot that Mike hit into the net.

During my last game by right knee started to hurt, so I decided to call it a day.

It was 3:20 p.m. when I left. All the permanent courts were still full as well as 2-3 portable nets. The courts are still pretty darn busy which is amazing. A far cry from the old days when we had a few players stick around and use the courts until about 1 p.m. then everyone would be gone. The courts are getting used almost all day these days.

The clouds are darkening and rain is expected tonight.


I stopped by my parents to drop off some extra COVID tests. When I got out of the car, nearly my entire body hurt. My lower back hurt, my right knee hurt, my legs hurt, the bottom of my feet hurt . . . everything hurt. So bizarre. More COVID effects, probably.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022 (No Play)

Today was a workday for me. Back to the grind after missing a ton of work. It was raining and club play cancelation notice was sent out by someone.

I am sore. And I mean sore. Back and legs. And right knee a bit. My feet are mostly better, but still also a little sore. Getting up and down in a chair is uncomfortable. Boy. I didn’t think my body was that out of shape. Maybe between tweaking my knee, rain, COVID, I just haven’t played that much compared to my regular routine.

I visited the county parks & rec web page for Brommer. They have a very old photo. One that shows two tennis courts and no pickleball lines. That means this photo is older than I’ve been playing. I started playing just about six years ago now and even then, the courts were striped for pickleball too. And the courts were in fairly poor condition, so I’d estimate the photo is at least 8 years old.

Old photo of Brommer Street County Park

The need an updated photo!

Wednesday, December 28, 2022 (No Play)

This muscle soreness is astonishing. I can’t remember my legs being this sore after pickleball. Sitting down this morning took some willpower, as my thighs really hurt. It got better as the day went on, but still . . . boy.

It’s looking like rain but a break is expected on Sunday, thankfully.

That’s what we like to see for club play on Sunday!

Thursday, December 29, 2022 (No Play)

My body is getting better, but my lower back is still pretty sore. I’ve been a bit concerned that I might still be sore on Sunday, but this has been the longest week ever. I only worked Tuesday and Wednesday and today is only Thursday, but it feels like it’s been forever. It takes some effort to lean over through the pain and pick up something off the floor.

Drill Video

So this video is nearly identical to the drill Terry Long taught at a local workshop about 4-5 years ago. The drill that Eric and I use every time when we drill.

Number of days on a court: 567
Number of total hours: 2,540

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

Playing Better, Pros, TV, COVID

Wednesday, December 7, 2022. (Court Day #566)

This afternoon Sharyl sent out a large group text asking who was available to play tonight in Scotts Valley since it is going to rain tomorrow. People replied saying they were too busy but some said they were available. Sharyl concluded that there would be four or five people to be able to play, so the evening was a go. I texted Matt Babb inviting him and he responded that he was already planning to play tonight.

I decided to wear sweatpants and a sweatshirt again tonight and I was using Ted’s knee brace on my right knee. I arrived in Skypark at 7 p.m. and the parking lot was full except there was one spot open for me.

It was a very foggy and chilly evening. You could easily see, but billows of foggy mist would drift across the courts and spur comments from the amused players.

First Game

I got into a game with Sharyl and Judy and a third woman whom I don’t know. Sharyl and I won that game. Then we had another game but this time with Judy as my partner. Again my team won. Mid-game, Sharyl commented, “Maybe we should hit just to Judy!” After that game, all three of them called it an evening.

The “R”s

I noticed that there were three young guys playing across the divider. I asked if they needed a fourth. Two introduced themselves as Reed and Ryland. I said, “Ah, two ‘R’ names!” The third said his name was “Robert”. Then he laughed saying that his real name is Caleb. I like this guy, funny!

I rotated through a number of games with them—four or five—whatever team I was on won including the game in which I decided to play left-handed. I will say that Ryland can dial up a really good serve. The rest of his game needs work, but he got me on a couple surprising serves that I was not expecting!

Stronger Game

Wanting a stronger game, I noticed that the other game which had included Matt and Aaron and tall Mike, they were all standing around . . . their fourth player had stepped out and they were happy to have me as a fourth. Aaron has continued to get better and better. There were some great rallies in those games. Aaron and Matt won the first game. Mike and I won the second game. The third game Mike and I were leading by a 2:1 ratio, but then our opponents went on a run and ended up winning 12-10. That was the end of the night. We finished up just before the lights went out at 9:30 p.m.

Me and a fuzzy Mike, Aaron, and Matt B. Hmmm. Focus issue!

I felt this was a step up in my play after being out for a couple of months with my bum right knee.

Saturday, December 10, 2022 (No Play)

I came home from work and found something on the dining room table where my wife likes to leave things for me.

At first, my thought was, “Why is there here for me?” My son, temporarily living again with us, is the golfer. But one you open it up, there was this….

So . . . pickleball has gotten so popular that the “PGA Tour Superstore” north of us in the Silicon Valley now is stocking pickleball supplies! So crazy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2022 (No Play)

I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled across this, but it was interesting. The top winning pickleball pros for this year. The earnings don’t include endorsement contracts which can be very lucrative. The left columns are by dollars. The right columns are by medal count. BenJ is Ben Johns. ALW has to be Anna Leigh Waters . . . she turns 16 next month . . . that’s quite the “summer job”! JW is J.W. Johnson, who I had to look up. J.W. is only 19, but has risen to the top of the pickleball game in a big hurry.

It’d be interesting to know the full earnings of the pros. I suspect that it’s closer to double their winnings.

Thursday, December 15, 2022 (No Play)

And, yes, more famous people investing in Major League Pickleball. Someone is raking in some cash with this…

Sunday, December 18, 2022 (No Play)

It’s been raining a lot lately. Here in California, with mostly drought-like conditions the last few years, we can use the water. But rain prevents pickleball. We’ve had a lot of club play cancelations and evening play in Scotts Valley has been rained out.


I started getting sniffles at work a few days ago (on Thursday) then a few hours later, after work, I was in bed early shaking with chills. My wife suggested a COVID test, and it was negative. I was exhausted the next morning, fighting lots of congestion, a headache, and minor body aches. Regardless of what it was, I was sick. I slept off and on all day on Friday, which is very unlike me. Saturday morning, the fever was gone, but I was far from healthy. A second COVID test gave an unquestionable positive result. Bleh. After two and a half years of avoiding it, COVID finally got me. In the evening, I put on my Apple Watch, which I wear only infrequently, and my resting heart rate as I was trying to fall asleep was over 90 beats per minute. The rate did drop over the course of the night to something more normal.


Stuck at home again today, I happened to see what was on TV. I have a Tablo device that connects to the antenna that I have in our attic. It allows me to record shows—so far, “shows” being only football games and that one Pickled pickleball program recently—and also play over-the-air shows on my iPad. Stuck in my bedroom, I was looking to see what NFL football games were on and stumbled across this…

Yes, that’s live pickleball on ABC! The main network!

It turned out to be a PPA match.

I’m a bit out of the loop since I’d only heard of the two male players.

They were doing rally scoring which initially confused the heck out of me even though I knew what it was. Rally scoring is more straightforward for an uneducated television audience. I believe it was 15 win by 1 (gotta keep on schedule!), but the ref announced the format too quickly for me to catch it and I only watched a few points before moving on to watching something else.

Still, kind of amazing. Pickleball on network television. Who would have thought?

Monday, December 19, 2022 (No Play)

It’s now Monday and I’ve spent—outside of a total of about 5-10 minutes—entirely all the time since Thursday night in my bedroom or attached bathroom. I took a shower and changed out the sweaty sheets (gross after a fever) and just making the bed made me short of breath as if I’d run up a flight of stairs. Everything is improving, though pressing with my finger at the bottom of my left ear is quite painful.

I got a call from Hugh, saying he’s going to be helping with the SCPC website but he’s also organizing a “league” of sort for players who are at least a 3.5 rating. I told him I’d get permission from some of the people he was inquiring about. He sent me the link to the Google spreadsheet and after checking, added in Eric Schmidt, René Baker, and Rick Arnold’s contact info. By the time I edited in Rick’s information, there were nearly 45 names listed.


Truth be told, I haven’t spent much of the time watching or reading pickleball related things while sick at home, but I did watch this video “Tennis Pro vs Pickleball Pro”. It was obvious after just one point that this was not what I was expecting. These were not tennis players coming to pickleball cold. These tennis players were slicing service returns, dinking well, handing fast net volley rallies, and overall playing very well. They had obviously been playing pickleball for more than just a brief period. A few years back, at Skypark, I played against a recently-graduated female D1 tennis player and took her apart on the court. As I’ve said many times, pickleball is not tennis. To hold your own against Ben Johns and Matt Wright, you’ve been playing pickleball . . . no ifs, ands, or buts.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022 (No Play)

I got an email from Pickleball Central advertising some closeouts and whatnot. Being stuck at home with COVID and needing a new pair of shoes, I visited their website and bought a pair of FILA Volley Zone Men’s All Court Shoes ($77 on clearance) and two other items, a Vulcan V100 Training Pickleball Paddle ($15.99) and a roll of lead tape ($6.99). I had looked up the V100 online and a video said that it was very lightweight. That’s different from the other training paddle that I bought, the Focus Training Paddle, which I found to be too top heavy—to the point where I haven’t used it and have been considering grinding it down. (I need to do some more homework on Focus paddle: weight, balance, etc.) That’s where the lead tape comes in for the V100. I’ve been meaning to get some anyway . . . not that I’ve been unhappy with my paddles as they are, but maybe I’m missing something. You don’t know until you try.

Local League Software

Hugh kept telling me that his friend Conner would send me an email about the new league, but it didn’t arrive. Hugh said he’d ask Conner again to send it.

Rick, René’s former boyfriend, had reached out asking if I would be his partner for the new league. I said I would though I was hoping that partners would be rotating to yield a better DUPR rating. If you playing with the same partner, your rating starts to align with your partner’s. Your partner could bring you up or bring you down . . . both bad if you seeking an accurate rating for yourself. I mentioned this to Rick and also to Hugh.

I was carbon-copied on an email today from Rick to Conner suggesting we rotate partners. Included in that message was the email that I never received. In it was a link to software that some local people are contributing to—I think Nolan and Conner. is the website for the software. At this point, the software works on Windows only and the user manually enters in each rally of a game by clicking on a representation of the court. Eventually, the goal is to use artificial intelligence to automatically track the ball, record the game, and generate a report. In the meantime, here is how it works:

Friday, December 23, 2022 (No Play)

My morning COVID tests keep coming back positive, with little change in the intensity of the red line on the test. Still sick. Today, my Pickleball Central box arrived. My wife brought it into our bedroom—serving as my solo isolation room—but I haven’t opened it. Maybe in a few days. No mad rush, I can’t do anything with it anyway and there’s no point in adding germs to the items.

Number of days on a court: 566
Number of total hours: 2,535.5

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

Knee Injection and Friend Training

Monday, December 5, 2022. (No Play)

I got a surprise in my Facebook feed at lunchtime today…

Major League Pickleball. There has to be lots of cash being pumped into all these pro leagues to support the advertising.

Doctor Appointment

I had a 2:30 p.m. appointment with Dr. Welle, the surgeon who did the rotator cuff repair on my shoulder. He poked and prodded my right knee a bit then moved my leg back-and-forth and, in the end, we decided on a Cortisone shot plus a referral to physical therapy. The doctor got out the Cortisone shot and I was kind of amazed at how much liquid he shot into my knee. It was the entire syringe of a milky substance. Without me asking any questions, he assured me that even though he was injecting the shot on the right side of my knee, it has a cavity and a Cortisone would help with the entirety of the knee, including the left side as well.

Back to Work . . . Ow!

I returned to work after my doctor’s appointment and about two hours later my knee started to hurt—and I mean, hurt a LOT. After an additional 30 minutes or so it got extremely painful. So painful that walking was excruciating. While at my desk, I looked up online the side effects of a Cortisone shot into a knee and it said “extreme pain and swelling”. No offense to my good doctor, but he hadn’t warned me of any of the side effects!

By 5 o’clock I was sequestered in my office sitting in my chair at my computer and not moving. Even standing up out of my chair took a lot of willpower since it the so painful. I made a couple of attempts to walk out into the store and I used an empty mailing tube as a cane. The best I could do with that was shuffling and I didn’t get very far from my office doorway! One of my staff offered two ibuprofen which I gladly accepted. I gave up moving around and just sat at my desk and did work there, leaving everything else to my staff. I warned my wife that I might need a ride home after work.

I did manage to drive home although I ended up using my left foot on the brake and my right foot on the gas since just moving my right foot back-and-forth between the two pedals was very painful. When I got home, I traveled around as little as possible. After eating dinner, I shuffled back to my bedroom and laid down, elevating my leg.

I got up in the middle of the night and the pain had reduced by about a third. Very promising.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022 (Court Day #565)

By this morning, most of the side effects of the shot were gone and I was about 80% back to normal. Thank goodness! Things like this make one not take walking for granted!

A friend of mine, John Z., I contacted me recently about learning to play pickleball. He was going to come on a Sunday with his son a week and a half ago, but it didn’t work out as his wife had other plans for him.

We arranged for a Tuesday night at Skypark. He texted me this afternoon and asked if I was still going considering it is wet and cold. I texted back saying it is never too cold for pickleball!

When I arrived at the courts at 6:45 p.m., at the arranged time, I pulled into a completely empty parking lot. I was wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt and Ted’s “on loan” brace on my right knee. There were two players out doing a singles game. I also saw a lone figure walking around on the courts a little bit aimlessly. I called out asking if it was John and he replied in the affirmative. He came out and met me at my car I presented him with one of my backup paddles.

Starting from Zero

I started out John with dinking to get him a feel of the weight of the ball and how it reacts on the paddle. He was used to tennis. We did that for a little while and I explained the rules and very basic strategy. Then I had him do some serving. He did quite well, getting most of his serves in. (When my brother John tried for the first time, he got less than half his serves in!) We moved on to a game of skinny singles with some straight on and some diagonal. It was no surprise that I beat him twice by a very wide margin.

Scott & Christian

On a nearby court were the two young guys—in their late 20s—the two who had been there when we arrived. One was named Scott and the other one was named Christian. They asked if we wanted to play doubles. When we finished our skinny singles game, we invited them over.

I could tell that they were relatively new players. John and I played against them and beat them twice. For his first time out John played well. From what I surmise John plays tennis somewhat regularly.

When we were in the midst of the second game against Scott and Christian, a man along with the younger guy laid down their paddles next to the court and asked if they could take on the winners. At this point I got much more interested in making sure we won the game—it was a close score—which we did.

Terry & Gavin

Scott and Christian left, saying they have been playing for two hours. It was time for Terry and his nephew Gavin. Terry was visiting from San Diego County and Gavin is living in Aptos going to school at Cabrillo College. Gavin grew up in the foothills of the Sierra mountains.

John and I won the first game, lost the second game, and then came back and won the third game. Gavin was the weaker of our two opponents but he was a decent player. For his first time out, John did really well.

What was crazy was the number of balls that we broke. We were initially playing with Terry’s ball but it broke. Then I got one of mine out, then it split along the seam. Out came another ball, and it too broke after a while. I dug out third ball of mine and it lasted a little while until it broke too. The last ball, one of Tristan’s “11 to Win” balls, lasted through the final game. We broke four balls in three games. Granted, none were new. But it wasn’t super cold. Sure, in the nippy mid-40s, but I was playing in the high 30s last week and we barely broke any balls. Maybe it was combination of temperature and just hitting the ball hard.

We were done playing about 9 p.m. then John and I chatted for another 15 minutes before heading to our nice warm homes!

Number of days on a court: 565
Number of total hours: 2,533

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

« Older posts

© 2024 Pickleball Journey

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Pickleball Journey