Adventures of Andrew Lenz and a Yellow Ball

Month: May 2023 (Page 1 of 3)

Homies at Skypark #600

Tuesday, May 30, 2023. (Court Day #600)

This morning, something popped up on Instagram so I looked up an article:

To quote the first paragraph:
“A portion of the Arizona Mills mall in Tempe, Arizona, will be converted into an indoor pickleball venue by a company called Picklemall in the first of up to 50 locations it wants to open nationwide within the next two years.”

This is related to news features that have been appearing earlier this month.


I left work today as soon after closing as I could, which turned out to be 6:35 p.m. and about 10 minutes later, give or take—or “give her cake” if you trusted my ‘speak to text’ phone transcription!—I was an Scotts Valley.

Things were very busy tonight. There is a group of about 10 people who were in their 20s. Our permanent courts were all in use as well of the four temporary courts.

The night was mostly pretty decent games. I had a few that weren’t challenging but the rest were decent or good.

Minori and I played several games against David and Rachel. Those were pretty balanced and fun. I have to say, there was one exchange where David was slamming the ball down toward Minori while they were both at the net. Minori pulled off an impressive series of returns from fairly short range. David did win that rally after another shot or two, but Minori did an amazing job of holding him off. Thumbs up!

Great Games

I played in the game with Mark Dettle against Casey and his dad Tim. I didn’t play badly in that game but there’s not a lot of margin for error when you’re playing against those two. Mark and I lost 11-3.

Later on towards the end of the evening, David and I played a game against Tim and Casey and in this game we lost 11-1. There were a couple of rallies we lost due to a failure to properly communicate. Later, David and I were talking later and he mentioned that we both tend to play aggressively and go after balls in the middle.

We had a good mix of the normal crew. David and Minori, Mike, Tiffany, Max, Danny, Tim, H., Tim F. and Casey, Francis, Ethan, Rachel—Avery was there earlier but left around 8:30. There is also that guy named Chuck, who is a fairly recent addition. Matt B. was there with his son Lucas, and there is also the other Andrew. There’s also another guy name Matt who I’ve never seen before. Matt and I played a game against David and the other Andrew and it was a pretty lopsided game with Matt and I winning. He couldn’t pin the loss on David in that one.

Stowing Nets

As Mark Dettle was leaving, he asked me to make sure that all the nets were stowed back into the bin. I told him I would. David helped me with two of the nets. The final net was used by four of that young group and they helped me put that one away. That was considerate.

I wish I’d realized that it was my 600th outing last night, I would have shared that milestone with the horde.

Number of days on a court: 600
Number of total hours: 2,641
Number of paid coaching hours: 2

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

Memorial Day at Brommer

Monday, May 29, 2023. (Court Day #599)

I left my house at 8:30 a.m. under overcast skies, and it almost appeared to be threatening light rain. I arrived at the Brommer Park at 8:45. It was going to be a busy day being a holiday and soon the courts would get full. (Indeed, when Dave Debiasi intentionally arrived later at 10:45 in order to get a parking spot, the parking lot was still full. I told him he should expect that on a holiday! He forgot it was a holiday . . . it’s nice to be retired!!)

New Players

There were a bunch of new people who I didn’t know that Brommer Park—heck, I think it’s been since February since I was last there—but it was nice to see some known faces like Leslie and Dean, the other Andrew (McLeod, SCPC board member) whom I’m starting to get to know, Pam (also from the board), firefighter Matt Smith whom I hadn’t seen for probably a month or two, and some others.

Poking Fun

Matt Smith was giving me a ration today, as they say. It was about me missing a shot as his partner or him making a really good shot at me that I couldn’t return. It was hysterical. Of course, I would tease him back. All in good fun.

Holding the ball, Matt Smith was quietly chatting strategy with his partner before they served to start the game. When they were done he saw I was watching him from across the net. “Don’t worry, I was complimenting you.” He wasn’t poking fun. Matt knows I can hold my own. The previous meet up at Skypark, I played very well against Matt and his (good) partner and they lost.


In the first hour, I tweaked my left big toe. That flares up now and then. Fortunately, it gradually got better over the morning instead of getting worse.

Level of Play

Today was generally better skilled games than not. However, I was definitely in some games where better players had to split to help balance the teams. It’s nice when you have four really good players and I might’ve had only one, maybe two, games like that today, but all the rest we had to try to balance the teams.

I left Brommer Park at 1:50 p.m. There were a couple of courts with players drilling I with two to a court and there were a couple of doubles games going, but there were no games where I looked and thought, “Boy, I really wanted to join in with those players.” The drilling? Those were Jon Barlow and Pauly, and Patty with tall glasses Mike.

While driving home, the inside of my right knee was aching some—probably at 5 or six 6 a scale of 1 to 10. Surgery is only four days away, later this week on Friday.

Overall, I feel pretty good about my play today , it wasn’t perfect but aside some from a few runs where I was making a series of silly mistakes. I played fairly well. My drop shots were solid. For every failed drop shot I hit into the net today (1 or 2), there were as many or more that my opponents returned one of my drop shots into the net.

My right wrist held up most of the day without too much trouble, however, I do remember a backhand shot where it hurt quite a bit.

SCPC admins event

Pam asked if I was coming to the pickleball outing at Willowbrook this week for which board members and site coordinators are invited. I told her my plan was is to be there. (I’d RSVP-ed online a few weeks ago when the announcement was first made.)

Number of days on a court: 599
Number of total hours: 2,638.5
Number of paid coaching hours: 2

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

SCPC Workshop and Night Games

Thursday, May 25, 2023. (Court Day #598)

I had signed up to volunteer who is helping run Santa Cruz Pickleball Club workshop this afternoon at 4 p.m. at Derby Park. I left work about 2:45 p.m., ran home, ate some food, changed, and then raced down to the courts.

There were some people milling around plus a few games going when I arrived. Todd Murphy was the instructor for the session. This group of students were intermediates with some beginners.

Drill #1

There was no initial drill guidance for the court leaders—junior instructors, whatever you want to call us! Todd gave a brief, informal talk to all the attendees explaining and demonstrating the first drill, which was dinking straight ahead with a partner, followed by a crosscourt dinking. After a few minutes of crosscourt dinking, we switched to a game of Dingle. (I had to ask Nolan what this game was called since I couldn’t remember!) That’s the game where four players are dinking crosscourt, and once one of the balls is no longer in play, someone yells, “Dingle”, and then the point is played out in a normal game fashion. We did that for quite a length of time.

Drill #2

Todd got everybody together and then we split off for the next drill. This was drop shots with one person at the net hitting the ball back to the person remaining at baseline. After a little bit, the two players swapped places.

Drill #3

When our second break where he explained the final drill, which was one partner, driving the ball at the other, who is on the opposite side at the kitchen line. The goal of the person at the kitchen put the drive the ball back to the person at the baseline. Like the previous drills, the partners change places and then repeated the drill. The burners change places numerous times during the course of this trail.

There wasn’t a group announcement but after the driving drill, Todd told each court to transition to games. There was no formal closure and so people wandered off when they no longer wanted to play.

End Games

I got into a game with a shorter woman with closely cropped hair named Lou against Pauly and a woman—who I don’t believe I’ve ever met before—named Rachel. Rachel obviously had a strong tennis background, I should hit good drives, drives with a lot of topspin, and a wicked overhead slam driving the ball angled off the court. Also, given the opportunity with their opponents back, Rachel would gently angle short shots off the court for a winner.

We played three games. Lou and I lost the first two games but won the third game. I was the strongest player and Lou was the weakest player. Those were entertaining games. When we were done, I asked Rachel if she wanted a couple of tips and she said “yes”, so I shared them with her . . . the most important of which is making sure to come up to the NVZ. She had a habit of staying back towards baseline . . . a common tennis habit.

At about 6:30 p.m., I left Derby Park. I believe there was one game still going, but I was heading to Skypark!


I made a quick pitstop at home since it was more or less on the way and—like anyone else—I try to avoid public Port-a-Pottys. Today was my wife’s last day of teaching 1st grade, but only some administrative meetings to participate in tomorrow at school. I found her in the spa in the backyard with a glass of wine and a book. She definitely deserves it! I told her what I was up to and off I went!


I was parked and was walking onto the courts at Skypark about 6:55 p.m.

Joe goes back as partner Matt looks on. Tim F. and Nate on the far side.

Since I was the odd man out. When David and Minori arrived, I unlocked the storage bin and we got out a net and set it up. Right after we set it up, one of the strong games finished and I managed to weasel my way in. I played with Matt against the two Tim‘s. Matt and I got our butts kicked in both games we were playing against them. Tim H. was playing very, very well.

Pretty much the entire run of games tonight were solid with good players.

Friday, May 26, 2023 (No Play)

I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and my right wrist was aching significantly. After about an hour, I got back to sleep and when I woke up to start my day, it was relegated to just a mild ache.

Number of days on a court: 598
Number of total hours: 2,633.5
Number of paid coaching hours: 2

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

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