Sunday, September 3, 2023 (Court Day #608)

As I was driving to Derby Park to open up, I was musing that this is just about the most perfect pickleball weather. Overcast, negligible breeze, and 63°. I don’t know if I would change anything.

Playing Thursday night seemed to push my knee a little bit. Yesterday, I was up in Pleasanton for the annual Scottish highland games, followed immediately by a San Jose Earthquakes soccer game in, well, San Jose. I’d never been to a professional soccer game before, so that was fun. However, going down bleachers stairs was uncomfortable on my right knee. Not crippling in any sense, just uncomfortable with mild pain.

It wasn’t all as busy today compared to last Sunday. We had about 40 people, so the wait wasn’t too long between games. It gradually got very mildly breezy and that only had an occasional effect on shots.

Old-timer (like me) Jeff—watch for his spin! Caught looking serious!
Mark the cook (often at Skypark) and a couple somewhat newish regulars.

Skill Creep

As the site coordinator, after playing a game with one friendly regular (I’m leaving out his name), I asked what his DUPR rating was. He said he’s been playing for about a year and he didn’t have one. I casually mentioned that I thought he might be signing up in one level too high. Boom! It was like I had just told him that I thought he played like garbage. He got very indignant and told me he’d stop coming to play at Derby. Boy, right to the nuclear option. I talked him down. I get it, everyone wants good games. I do, that’s why I said something. And as I told him, the alternative is I sign up in a higher/highest level. And maybe I should. Currently, my DUPR rating is holding at exactly 4.0. And as Tony said, “red at Derby isn’t the same as red at Brommer”.

More Sign-up Challenges

I was signing up in red/advanced, but wasn’t getting the best games. (See the above paragraph.) Charles arrived and I convinced him to sign up in blue with me. The concern was whether there would be enough players signing up in that 4.0+ level. We added Tony Sloss as our third. The problem was there was a group of players who had been signing up in blue previously but wanted to continue to play together, so they signed up en masse as red to avoid filling out the remainder of our blue box. I complained politely to Detier and Ying about leaving us hanging, and Charles also later complained, then Dan Dewey (who, when we explained the situation, commented, “ooo, that would be a good game”) took pity on our waiting box and left his “group” to join us. We had a game. And it was a good one.

The best games of the day, by far, were Charles and myself against Tony and Detier. Charles and I did lose both games but they were close and rallies were extended. We’d make a shot that would normally end the rally but, instead, the ball would come back. It was awesome! Afterward, Tony said that I played very well. (Though I didn’t feel that way myself, I thought I made too many errors.)

Dieter had been playing offhanded due to an injury but is back to playing with his natural left hand. He can now really whip the ball. Formidable. Nice.

Rule Check

Misa had hit what was a successful-appearing more or less ATP attempt, but the ball had clipped the top of the net post. Misa was celebrating her winner but Dan Dewey and his partner quizzed me about the shot. I walked over onto the court, had it explained to me and told them that the net post is, by rule, considered a “permanent object” and the ball touching it is an immediate fault. The ball was dead once it hit that post. Sorry, Misa.

Eye Protection

I was hit in the face with a ball by Charles. We were in a firefight at the net and he hit the ball at my right temple simultaneously hitting the brim of my cap and the frame of my sunglasses. (It was an awkward spot to move my paddle to defend.) Mildly uncomfortable, but no injuries to speak of. Another great example of why to wear eye protection!

Forever game

I was in a game with a guy named Phil as my partner. (Or maybe it’s Bill—he’s relatively new.) We were playing against Anne and Rick A. and down significantly. We started to crawl back. John (Robin’s boyfriend) and Dan Dewey were waiting for the imminent end of our game to play again. Only the end wasn’t imminent! I served the ball to Anne right to left and dropped the ball in the front outside corner for an ace. I then served the ball to Rick left to right and dropped the ball in the front outside corner for another ace. (I like it when I can dispel the “Did you do that on purpose?” comments!) We clawed back and tied up the score 10-10. This, just by itself, took probably another 10 minutes. John saw where this game was headed and wandered off for a minute anticipating our win. Only not long after, Anne and Rick scored a couple unanswered points and finished us off. When John found out, he was shocked, “You lost?”
“We lost.”
It’s funny, swings in momentum!


After counting the day’s donations—with John, who agreed to be my counter-signer—I left a Derby Park at 1:45 p.m.


Some long-time friends of my wife and me, Richard and Laurie, had a party at Beer Thirty in Soquel to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. (Funny, I started typing “weeding”! No, there was no work involved!) Also invited was David and his wife along his daughter who is about the same age as my kids. David is a doctor, but he’s also a regular in the evenings at Skypark . We talked about pickleball for almost an hour! It was a great conversation. Funny, when someone asked about us both playing pickleball, David laughed, “He kicks my butt.” I don’t know about that, I can’t get lazy playing against David!

Number of days on a court: 608
Number of total hours: 2,672.5
Number of paid coaching hours: 2

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