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

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