Adventures of Andrew Lenz and a Yellow Ball

Month: August 2023 (Page 1 of 2)

Crowded at Skypark

Tuesday, August 29 2023 (Court Day #606)

This morning, Jean Yi, the reporter, texted me with a link to her finished article in Lookout Santa Cruz:

Well-balanced and accurate. She didn’t use any quotes from me from our interview at Brommer Park, but she interviewed a bunch of people. If I said something controversial, I’m sure I would have been included!

Near the bottom of the article, there’s a photo of Larry serving with Mark Dettle on his left as his partner.


As I pulled into the Skypark parking lot shortly after 6:30 p.m., I could tell things were quite busy. Fortunately for me, a car pulled out right as I pulled in, otherwise I would’ve had to park a couple blocks away.

As I walked in, it was as busy ever seen it. In fact, it got so busy that Mark Dettle fished out the signup board out of the storage bin. I never seen that used at night. (I suspect that it’s common on Saturday mornings there.)

Players signing up for games and waiting. That’s Rob A. and someone I don’t know on the right.

With that many players and with no means of sorting skill levels, you just sign up as best you can. There are a lot of new names and faces, so I just signed up and hoped that I would end up with some good games.

I have number of people inquire about my absence and explained my knee surgery to about half a dozen times to various people. It was nice to be missed!


Two or three of the overhead lights above the courts are burnt out. It’s really a shame as it makes it harder to see the ball and one court in the corner by the entrance is actually quite dark. There are a few times when I lost the flight of the ball for lack of illumination.


David was there but he said his girlfriend Minori is traveling in the Pacific Northwest. I saw David on a court with Casey and his dad, Tim and also the tennis coach Tim. I was very jealous. I would love to be in the game with those people. As it was, I didn’t play with any of them tonight. Avery was there along with his girlfriend Massie, who remembers my daughter Charlotte from Santa Cruz High School.

One fun game was with Mike (Colin‘s dad), against two young guys, Ryan and Jonathan. In a game earlier with Simon against Jonathan and Scott, Simon had warned me the Jonathan hits hard. He hits somewhat hard, but definitely not on the same level of David or Matt Smith. Mike and I found ourselves down 2-3 to Ryan and Jonathan but we came back to win. That was on a better-lit court and I was playing better.

Overall, I fell to my play tonight was still on the sloppy side.

The lights clicked off at 9:33 p.m. I got in a good three hours of play, which was great.

Daughter and Pickleball?!?

When I finished up at Skypark, there was a text from my daughter Charlotte: “Played pickleball for the first time. Would play again.” She included a photo—which she asked me not to share—with her standing on a court posing with two female friends on either side. When I pointed out that she played pickleball in middle school, she replied, “I guess like a million years ago.” (More like 12 years, but who’s counting?) Charlotte is very competitive and at 5’9″ is tall for a female, so she could be really good if she plays regularly.

Number of days on a court: 606
Number of total hours: 2,665
Number of paid coaching hours: 2

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

Derby Depression

Sunday, August 27, 2023 (Court Day #605)

It was a sunny morning and you could tell it was going to be a very warm day. Fortunately, the fog later rolled in for a short time and kept it from getting too hot, too soon.

When I arrived at the courts at 8:45 a.m. Little Barb was there warming up with two people on the court and then there were two other players warming up on a different court. There’s a far cry compared to last Sunday when all the courts were in use by the time I arrived.

Still, it would prove to be a busy day. Andrew McLeod, who is on the SCPC board, said that he counted 56 people. There was enough at one point that I blew my whistle and changed the games to 9 win by 1, instead of 11 and win by 2. Everyone hates the 9 point limit, but it was good to rotate the games faster.


I was not pleased with my play today. I played well against the run-of-the-mill players, but when Eric Schmidt and I played against Charles and Tony, Eric and I lost in a lopsided fashion. Eric had told me he has been out a lot due to problems with his feet, though that is improving. Eric and I should have given them a run for their money. It was frustrating.

By the time I left the sun and burnt off about noon and I left at 2 p.m. A group of Asian students arrived along with their friends, some recent graduates from UCSC. They were enjoying the game, rotating in and out on a single court. One of the recent grads, Spencer, offered to help me take down a net. I appreciated the help and showed him how to do it.

When I left, four courts were still in use.


I spent the afternoon depressed. I was not happy with my play. Sure, I was in the top 6 of the 50-60 players, but I was not playing my best and making way too many errors.

Monday, August 28, 2023 (No Play)

I posted in the USA Pickleball Ambassadors Facebook group this morning about our city saying they don’t have room for more pickleball courts.

An ambassador named Larry Obermann shared a data tidbit and I searched online and found the source:

The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) estimates that meeting the demand for additional courts nationwide will require more than $900 million to construct 25,784 courts.

In the local pickleball Facebook group, Greg Julien pointed out that the City of Santa Cruz subsidizes another sport—golf—at the DeLaveaga Golf Course to the tune of $700,000 annually. That could build a lot of pickleball courts!

Fancy Pickleball set

This popped up this morning, “Louis Vuitton Indonesia released a limited Pickleball set valued at nearly $100,000 USD”:
That’s a hard pass for me. And I bet the paddles aren’t USA Pickleball approved either!

Number of days on a court: 605
Number of total hours: 2,662
Number of paid coaching hours: 2

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

Return to Brommer, Reservations?

Friday, August 25, 2023 (Court Day #604)

When I arrived at Brommer Park at 8:55 a.m., the parking lot was already completely full, as well as all the nearby street parking. I parked a couple of blocks away and hoofed my way in.

It was overcast and unusually muggy with the temperatures in the high 60s by later morning.

What? All the courts are full at 8:55 a.m.? Unheard of!

Today was very busy with a lot of waiting involved.

9:48 a.m. About 30 people waiting. The men in blue: Charlie on the left, Dean on the right.

I was debating signing up in blue (top skill level, 4.0+) or signing up in red (3.5+) and since I’m coming off a three month hiatus of knee surgery recovery and my DUPR rating—at least the temporary one—seems to be showing a yellow (temporary) 3.96 to the right of the last of this past Sunday’s DUPR matches, I signed up in red. Last week, I would’ve qualified with a 4.0 DUPR rating, though DUPR continues to show my rating as “4.00”.

There were players signing up in red who are not even a 3.5 rating. There was one guy signing up in red who had no clue about DUPR and had no idea what his DUPR rating was. I would’ve put him as about a 3.3 and I told him so. But then he signed up in red again anyway regardless of what I had just shared with him.

Today was a mixed bag. I played reasonably well, though I didn’t get even one game where all four players were equally strong.

At the end of the session, when I went to put my paddle away, I realized that I was playing with my older Rogue paddle today instead of my new carbon-fiber one. I grabbed it in such haste out of my backpack to start playing that I grabbed my old l paddle! Oops.

Reservation Controversy

Last night, a reporter, Jean Yi, from the Lookout Santa Cruz news website posted in the “Santa Cruz Pickleball” Facebook group, asking to interview people for an article. Jean is writing about the controversy about the new County of Santa Cruz court reservation system for Brommer Park and Willowbrook. I sent her an email giving her my contact information and I also told her that I would be playing in Brommer this morning. She said she was going to be at Brommer too and indeed, she came. She talked to Dan Bliss, myself, René, and Alan Cable, and a man who is visiting Santa Cruz for a month named Erik. Jean also interviewed some other players.

Last night, after seeing Jean’s post, I looked at this new system, operated by Rec.US online for the County:

The County is allowing players to reserve one of the four permanent Brommer pickleball courts for $4.25 per 30 minutes. A court can be reserved for up to 2 hours which would cost $17.00.

There are several problems.

One is hardly anyone knows about the new system yet and that creates some ill-will.

Another is there is no mandatory minimum time before reserving the court. In other words, a player could arrive to the courts, see that it’s busy, go to his phone and reserve a court immediately and kick anyone there off and monopolize the court for 30-120 minutes. Sure, it generates cash for the County, but there is no sharing of the courts.

Jean’s article should be published early next week.


My newly-discovered neighbors, the new players, Mauricio and his wife Sharay arrived around 11 a.m. this morning. They were still there playing when I left. In their mailbox, I had left them a copy of my pickleball fundamentals strategies sheet I’d made up four years ago for a SCPC workshop. This morning, Mauricio said “thank you” with a big smile.

At 12:30 p.m., my game was finished, the temporary nets had been taken down and it was time for me to head home and then to work.

Funny Instagram Short

This is so accurate and apropos given the impacted nature of the courts today:

Number of days on a court: 604
Number of total hours: 2,657
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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