Sunday, February 12, 2023. (Court Day #577)

My right wrist was doing well enough that I figured I’d play today. As I prepared to leave the house, it was sunny and I considered just a T-shirt and shorts. But I checked the temperature and it was a very chilly 44° . . . sweatshirt! And I was almost out the door when I realized that I forgotten to put on sunscreen. I guess not having played in the sun for at least  three weeks I’m a little out of practice a the “sunscreen front”.

Derby with Help

I arrived at Derby Park about a quarter to 9, three people were already on a court—little Barb G. and two people I don’t know. I had a lot of help setting up this morning. Mark G. brought his personal blower and started blowing off the courts for me. Little Barb walked away from her warm up to help set up nets and got others to help too. (Kudos to Barb!) I got out the club blower and piggybacked on Mark’s work to finish blowing off the courts. The ironic thing was once the nets were set up, the scheduling board was hung, the courts were blown off, and the rest of the setup was done, there were four courts with games going and I was the odd man out with no one to warm up or play with. Alas.

Brace, Brace, Brace

Today, my right side was like the Bionic Man—wrist brace, forearm strap, knee brace!

More Newbies

There were four newbies today. Paul, his wife Tori, and their adult daughter. Paul and Tori had watched some YouTube videos so they had at least some basics down. There is another newbie, a woman, but after Barb told me about her, Barb must have trained her herself since I couldn’t find a newbie standing around waiting for training.

Good Battles

I got into some really good games against René and Rick. I had two games partnered with Avery against them and Avery and I won both games. I had the shot of the day in one of those. Rick (permanently playing lefty these days) and across from me, slammed the ball near my left ankle. I managed a low backhand half volley which was a successful passing shot down the sideline for a winner. With a smile, Rick complimented, “I was not expecting that to come back!” I also got compliments from René and Avery on that one.

Later, Eric and I played a game against René and Rick. I think we lost the first one, but won the second. Regardless, they were pretty close good games.

In that the last game with Eric, I asked him what time it was and he said 12:30. Oops. I supposed to leave at noon for a family birthday party at my sister’s house and by the time the game was done and I was in my car it was 12:53 p.m. I didn’t get to my sisters house until 1:07 p.m. and only a few were still eating, but people were happy to see me regardless. Gotta love family! I was in time for hanging out and cake and ice cream.

My brother Matt, nephew Patrick, and me.


My brother John was messing around with ChatGPT while at the party. He asked it to “Write a children’s story about three friends, one who is a grumpy turtle, one who is a clever rat and one who is a sarcastic goose who all want to cross a lake but can’t.” It wrote a story which was actually not bad, then John asked it…

 “Tell a story about those characters playing pickleball

One beautiful summer day, Tilly, Remy, and Gertie decided to try their hand at a new game they’d heard about called pickleball. They grabbed their paddles and headed over to the park, eager to try out this exciting new sport.

Tilly, being the grumpiest of the three, was skeptical. “I don’t see what all the fuss is about,” he muttered as they set up the court. “It’s just tennis, but smaller.”

But once the game got started, Tilly’s attitude quickly changed. Remy, being the cleverest of the three, had picked up the rules quickly and was able to teach Tilly and Gertie the basics. Gertie, being the most sarcastic of the three, made snarky comments about how it was “just like tennis, but for animals who can’t hit a real ball.”

Despite Gertie’s comments, the three friends quickly became engrossed in the game. Tilly, with his powerful shell, was able to smash the ball with incredible force. Remy, with his quick reflexes, was able to hit the ball in all the right spots. And Gertie, with her ability to fly, was able to cover the court with ease.

As they played, they laughed and shouted, their competitive spirits pushing them to play their best. They were having so much fun that they hardly noticed the time flying by.

Eventually, the sun began to set and they realized they had been playing for hours. Tilly, for once, was the first to suggest they call it a day. “I suppose it’s time to head home,” he said, a little breathless from all the running around.

Remy and Gertie agreed, and they packed up their paddles, each of them feeling a sense of satisfaction from the fun they had shared. As they walked home, they talked about how much they enjoyed playing together and how they couldn’t wait to do it again.

From that day on, Tilly, Remy, and Gertie became regulars at the pickleball court, delighting in the challenge and excitement of the game. They learned that even the grumpiest, cleverest, and most sarcastic of friends could come together to have a great time, no matter what the activity.

Wow, right? Pretty amazing story for artificial intelligence! If no one told me, I would completely believe it was written by a human!

There is a dark side, of course. A friend’s son recently decided to take a semester off from college. He had written a paper for a class but two of his classmates had used Chat GPT to write theirs and both got a better grade than he did. He was obviously frustrated and dejected. Why put in the effort when his classmates will cheat and get a better grade? As a society, we will all have to figure out how to fix this problem.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023 (No Play)

A momentous occasion. I’ve done a fair amount of unpaid coaching—training sessions for newbies either as part of club play or as part of a team of club instructors for a private session—but today was my first ever paid coaching experience.

Also new was the age of my pupils. I’ve never coached anyone quite this young. Kevin is 6 1/2 and his older sister Sienna is 8-years-old. I arrived at Skypark 15 minutes early—6 p.m. was the planned starting time—and their mother, Maria, pulled in with her two youngsters seconds after.

Midway though our lesson, a couple guys showed up and so I set up my portable net nearby to clear a space for them to play. (With our own net, we wouldn’t get bumped by someone seeking to play.)

I have to say, coaching young kids is harder than adults. Their attention spans are shorter and their motor skills are not fully developed. But I had done a good amount of preparation and was ready with drills for evaluation and help grow their ball control skills. I felt the hour lesson went well. I will say that successful serving from the baseline will be months down the road, but it was a good test to see how that would go, but we need to build a platform of skills first. We ended with a dinking game of the kids against their mom and me. I used my undersized training paddle. We let them win for encouragement. We finished up shortly after 7 p.m., so they got a little extra time. I showed the kids how to peaks down and stow a net.

Overall, I feel it went really well and Maria was also happy. I loaned my training paddle to Sienna as she was fascinated by it. Our next lesson should be in about a week. I gave them some drills to work on a home in the meantime. Ball control is the name of the game.

Oh, and I suppose that I should note that I’m not counting coaching time in my court time count.

Number of days on a court: 577
Number of total hours: 2,566.5
Number of paid coaching hours: 1

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