Sunday, January 14, 2024 (Court Day #622)

It was quite rainy last night and this morning and I woke up to cloudy skies and very wet ground. With no sun, there is very little question about whether to cancel club play the Derby Park this morning. I sent out the club cancellation notice.

My brother John texted me asking if I was playing today. I told him that it might work out later in the day.

The big question was whether or not Willowbrook would be dry enough to hold my afternoon class. Fortunately, my wife and I have friends near there so I had Laurie check the courts at 12:30 p.m. for me. There were some puddles but her photo showed sun and that should dry out the courts.

I emailed all my students and asked them to bring towels just in case. As it turned out, the one towel that I brought was adequate to get the remaining small puddles dried out from when I arrived at 1:05 to 1:30 when my class started. We ended up using the two drier courts nearest the road instead of the two we normally use.

One of my students, Nina, didn’t come again this week. That was unfortunate as it left me with seven students which meant I had to be in a foursome, which is always harder to teach. (When I checked email in the evening, she said she had to drop out of my class completely. Bummer.)

Once I was done teaching, Maia called over and asked me to play on their court with Lester and his wife. (I rarely see Lester and I’m not sure if I’d seen his wife before, I think they may be south county residents.) They are all 3.0 players, so rallies were short and I was taking it a bit easy so the points wouldn’t end too quickly. For instance, every time I returned a serve with slice, the rally would immediately end. So I only did a few of those. We played a couple of games, then I headed to Derby Park.

Derby Park

I drove to Derby to meet my brother John, his friend Deborah, and my son Nicholas who they picked up at my house. (He’s visiting this weekend.) Derby was the busiest I’ve ever seen it at any off time! All the courts were full, the bench was full and a couple of college-aged youths were sitting up against the fence waiting to play.

4:19 p.m. All the courts full and 10 people waiting to play.

I spotted a few familiar faces, Pauly, Avery, Mauricio. It would be hard to get any play and the sun was not going to last all that much longer, so we decided to head to Willowbrook in John’s car.

Willowbrook Park

When we got to Willowbrook, there were a couple of familiar faces. Rick Abend and Lourdes were drilling on a net that they’d brought and set up. When I asked, Rick said he was now living nearby and his daughter is living in his house back near Derby Park.

John’s friend Deborah, John, Nicholas, me at sunset.

Our group of four rotated partners and played an hour until it got too dark to see. I played most of the time left handed. It’s good practice for me, I don’t want to lose that skill. John dropped Nicholas and me back at my car and that was a wrap!


I registered for the newly announced tournament at Cabrillo on February 24. It’ll be my first 4.0 tournament. I’m playing with Jason Brown for men’s doubles and René Baker for mixed doubles.

Binh texted me a couple days ago about a couple tournaments coming up. Monterey next month and Templeton in March. I’ll have to mulch that.

Tennis Pro

29-year-old Genie Bouchard, formerly ranked #5 in women’s tennis, crossed over to try pickleball.

Maybe she believed all the tennis hype that pickleball is just an easier version of tennis and got a bit of a wake-up call:

But, to her credit, she’s not discouraged and will continue to play both sports,

New Tour Ball

On January 4, it was announced that the PPA reached an agreement to have the Vulcan VPRO FLIGHT be the official pickleball of the PPA tour. This new, previously unannounced, ball replaces the Onix Dura Fast 40. The Dura has been obsolete for some time given the new generation of balls that have arrived. The venerable Dura plays well, but breaks far too easily and because of that, few players like it.

Here’s the announcement by Vulcan:

This agreement cost Vulcan between $2,000,000 and $3,000,000, plus a percentage of each ball sold. As a result, Vulcan is selling the balls for $4—about 30% higher than, say, a Franklin X ball.

Monday, January 16, 2024 (No Play)

A neighbor of Sgt. Derby Park wrote an email to the SCPC complaining about the parking impact of pickleball players. She said she contacted the City first. I wrote a nice letter back explaining that the club is working hard to find more and better places to play and also that only a minority of players at Derby are actually part of the SCPC.

Parking and other neighborhood impacts will continue to be an issue as pickleball continues to grow and grow.

Number of days on a court: 622
Number of total hours: 2,708
Number of paid coaching hours: 11

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