Adventures of Andrew Lenz and a Yellow Ball

Month: January 2023 (Page 1 of 3)

Desert, not Dessert

Sunday, January 22, 2023. (Court Day #575)

It was a sunny but cold morning. In the 40s when I left my house to open Derby Park. When I arrived, there were three players on a city net—a regular and two 40-something heavy-set guys in black who seemed like they’d be more at home in a biker gang or a bar. I got about setting up and blowing off the courts.


There was a newbie, Brian, who arrived shortly after start time. Brian said he had some tennis background. I explained the rules, got him warmed up and adjusted to a pickleball, then partnered with him for his first game. Though happy, he didn’t stay too long, less than an hour, he said he wanted to ease into it since he has an injury he’s working through.

There were two unrelated newbies who came later, Jamie and Joanne. I got them started then Eric took over when my game came up, then I came back, then Ted took over… it was very much a team effort. They thanked me with a smile when they left.


It was busy enough that I gave in and announced “Play to 9”. Everyone hates it, but it does rotate the games quicker so there is less waiting.

Busy day. Players lined up inside and out waiting to play.


Derby has an issue of players signing up in red/advance again when they don’t belong there. Joe C. is a solid intermediate player and fun to play with. He regularly gets the ball back over, makes some nice shots, can drive with power. But he’s inconsistent still. Charles and I played a game against Joe and Jeff. I played well with very few errors and Charles and I won 11-0.

I ended in an “Advanced” game with skateboarder Dan against Rick Abend and Mark. Mark is the pleasant latino guy who plays evenings at Skypark. He’s a lower intermediate. I like Mark, though he has work to do yet before signing up in Advanced and Mark more or less admitted that after the game. Dan and I won 11-0. And our win was not on Rick.

René pointed out that that a certain woman has been signing up in Advanced again. She’s the one I talked to last year about not doing that. But maybe she asked permission of that group . . . though I doubt it.

This is an ongoing battle. Skill creep for signups. It happens everywhere.

I talked to Avery between games, “I figure if I wait long enough, I’ll get some good games.” He gave a knowing smile and replied, “I’ve been waiting for three hours hoping for that.” A desert due to a lack of good games.

Good Games

By noon or 12:30, I eventually got into some truly challenging games with René and Rick and some other strong players. Shawnte showed up around 1 p.m. Hats off to Shawnte. He’s playing very well. He’s quick to cover the court side to side for an opportunity to poach and put the ball away. And he’s just a humble and mellow dude.

Distraction or Hinderance?

Just a rule clarification for you, my dear reader. What’s the difference between a “distraction” and a “hindrance” in pickleball lingo? A bird flying into your face is not a distraction, it’s a hindrance. An opponent intentionally yelling at you while you are about to hit the ball is a distraction. Referees rarely enforce distraction calls unless it is very blatant. On the flip side, hindrance calls can easier to make—such as is a stray ball rolling onto your court or a uninvolved player crossing over and bumping you.

Aches & Pains

My right knee is doing ok, not perfect, but holding up. I was wearing Ted’s loaned knee brace today. My knee wasn’t hurting at the end of the five hour session, I just was simply overall exhausted. And my right wrist is still bugging me. I may need to take some time off from play to let it heal.

Holy Bin, Batman!

Well, holey, not holy. The top of the old storage bin rusted through, leaving a hole for rain to get into our supplies and nets. This is something the club will need to address one way or the other. Eventually, with the hinge rusting away too, the bin will need to be completely replaced. I passed along a photo to appropriate club board members.

Number of days on a court: 575
Number of total hours: 2,560.5

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

New Indoor Courts in Campbell

Thursday, January 19, 2023. (Court Day #574)

Yesterday, I emailed Matt Babb about creeping in after his serve. It’s a little tweak that can make a big difference. Having to backpedal for the third shot is bad. Aside from that, I emphasized to him “Placement over Power” . . . a mantra of mine. On Tuesday, Matt had some likely winners that he simply hit past the baseline.


My right wrist is still bothering me, but not enough to keep me from playing. I arrived at Skypark just before 6:45 p.m. There were six courts in use.

My first game was with Judy against Sharyl and Max. Max is getting better. He’s gone from cannon fodder to solid 3.0.

My play was “off”, but I got a little bit better as evening went on. Unlike Tuesday night, when I hit the white tape of the net 14 times, it was only 4 times tonight. However, I hit half a dozen of my serves out long and I also had one serve that hit the white tape. Very unlike me.

Harder Games

Matt Babb and Tim (the tennis coach) were playing a game against Casey and Nate. They were all playing very well. And the teams were fairly evenly matched. Paul and I announced that we would play the winners. Surprisingly, Tim and Matt won the game. I was fully expecting to see the others handily the win that game, but as we would learn, Matt and Tim were on fire.

So we took on Tim and Matt who quickly earned themselves a 10-1 lead. Paul and I were coming off of two lopsided games against two young college students, Nick and David. Nick and David did better in the second game, but still lost 11-5. That game was never in doubt. It took some adjusting back to the speed and skill of this new game. It was an entirely different level of play. Paul and I came back after being down by 9 points and made the game much more respectable, though Tim and Matt still won.

We switched sides and played another game and lost this one as well. There were some pretty impressive rallies in this game that I wish that we would’ve recorded, but, overall, not a game that I would want to highlight my skills! With the lights going out at 9:30 p.m., we managed to quickly squeeze in one last game. It went fast with Matt and Tim winning yet one more time. Well . . . it’s nice to win, but it’s more helpful to lose. Losing games educates you on your weaknesses.


After a game of Paul and myself against Mark Dettle, and David (Minori’s friend), I told Paul that he had been creeping in after his serves and it was putting him out of position for the next shot. He’d have to scramble backwards to allow the service return to bounce. Paul looked at me and was very skeptical. He didn’t seem to believe me. I was quite amused by this. He said I should point it out during the game, so I agreed to. In a game against Matt and Tim, I pointed out that exact thing. He realized that I was indeed correct and he was indeed creeping in after his serve.

New Indoor Courts

Afterward, Matt, Paul, Aaron, Mike and I were chatting. Matt thanked me for my email with constructive criticism and that he’d worked on not creeping in tonight, as well as “Placement over Power”.

Matt mentioned that new courts are opening in the old Fry’s Electronics building in Campbell. That is a huge building, I was in it a few times over the years to get computer related products. It’ll be called “The Hub”. There’s one already open in San Diego. Matt said Campbell will be the largest indoor pickleball facility in the USA.

Friday, January 20, 2023 (No Play)

I did a hunt for more info on these indoor pickleball courts coming to Silicon Valley that Matt mentioned last night.

“The HUB Pickleball Club – San Jose

The HUB – San Jose Pickleball Club Pre-Opening Interest, Ideas & Suggestions.

We are excited to bring a world-class pickleball facility to the Silicon Valley area. The HUB – San Jose will be the largest indoor facility in the country. 20 professional courts with proper spacing, individual fencing, Acrytech court surface and Douglas Premier posts & nets. The HUB will also have a fully stocked pro-shop with over 450+ skus, restaurant with a beer, wine & seltzer bar, event party room and 6 suite courts. Leagues, lessons & clinics, ladders, organized play, tournaments and socials, The HUB is what pickleball is all about. Thank you for your interest and we look forward to your feedback.”

For now, you can fill out a “pre-opening interest” form here.

Here’s the link to the existing San Diego facility:
(The “San Jose” facility in Campbell will likely be eventually added to this website.)


I didn’t realize how sore my right wrist is until I needed to crawl on my hands and knees briefly to access something at work today. It is quite painful when I put weight on it.

Number of days on a court: 574
Number of total hours: 2,555.5

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

More White Tape of Shame

Tuesday, January 17, 2023. (Court Day #573)

I had PT this morning and we learned an interesting thing. When the PT doctor Matt used tape to pull my kneecap down, it almost completely eliminated pain in my knee when I was doing the exercises. I left that tape on all day, so it was in place when I headed to Skypark after work.


When I arrived shortly after 6:30 p.m., it was 48°F when I pulled up into the parking lot. Things were pretty busy with all the temporary nets set up and all eight courts being used.

It probably took an hour or so before I got into some games with all strong players. I spent this evening playing with Paul W. and his friend Matt with assortment of players as our fourth.


We played the last few games with a youngish guy named Chris who’s tall and thin with curly black hair and heavy stubble. Chris has quick hands and gets around on the court very well.


Paul drove a ball hard at me and, fortunately, instead of my face, it hit the brim of my cap then my protective glasses—knocking my cap off in the process. I was no worse for the wear, but Matt, Paul, and Chris were very concerned. I assured them that I was fine. “That is one of the reasons I wear a cap all the time!” (And eye protection!)


Tonight, I had a regular problem judging the height of the net, since I hit the white tape with the ball 14 times. Yes. I kept track. Tonight was bad. Playing under lights has its challenges for me. It’ll never be my favorite.

It is 43°F as I headed home after the session. I want to play again soon to rinse my performance tonight out of my mouth. I had my moments, but overall I was not pleased with my performance.

One bright spot is my right wrist. It was still sore, but it wasn’t super bad. It did hurt noticeably for one or two shots tonight, but it didn’t bother me quite as much as I did last week on Thursday.

Matt is suffering from mild tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow on the inside of his forearm. I strongly recommended to him that he pick up Black Ice cooling pack and also the Bandit forearm strap. We’ll see if he heeds my advice.

Paul and Matt and Mike chatting over beers.

Number of days on a court: 573
Number of total hours: 2,553.5

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

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