Friday, January 26, 2024 (Court Day #625)

My right knee hurt a bit yesterday going up and down stairs. It’s an ongoing adventure. In about a week, it will have been seven months since my knee surgery in June last year.

I took the morning off from work and I arrived at Brommer Park at 9:10 a.m. The lot was completely full, so I parked out on the street. It was 54° and cloudy skies. There were wet patches in the ground from recent rain, but the courts were dry.

It was a busy morning and partway through the session, they made the games to 9 instead of to 11 due to all the people.

I don’t have a whole lot to say about the day. I got to see Chuck Oliver and John Conner at the first time in a long time. John was noticeably thinner and when I asked, he said he had lost 60 pounds. Impressive!

Oh, I got to play a fun game with Sycha and Colleen. Sycha was my partner and said, “Nice serve!” On my next serve, she said, “Nice serve!” Then I think she figured out what’s normal for my serves.

I got to play a few games with René, which is good since we have that tournament coming up next month.

My play continued to be an extension of Thursday night, that is, I was playing poorly. Fortunately, over the course of the four hours, my play improved until I got to be serviceable. Well, I wasn’t delighted with my play at the end of the session, but I was at least satisfied with my play. I had moments of 4.0 level play, a lot of 3.5 play, and early in the morning even some 3.0 level play on my part. Bleh.

I left Brommer at 1:23 p.m., headed home, showered, and then drove to work.

Saturday, January 27, 2024 (No Play)

The U.S. Surgeon General is featured on the cover of the latest issue of Pickleball Magazine. I don’t get physical copies, just digital access. A mailed copy used to be included as a benefit of USAPA membership—before it became known as “USA Pickleball”, I still have those old issues around, unless my wife pitched them when I wasn’t looking! (I can be a bit of a pack rat.) Anyway, pickleball is moving up in the world!

Tuesday, January 30, 2024 (No Play)

So, I tested positive for COVID late Sunday morning. Lovely. (Yes, that’s sarcasm.) I had already sent out a request by text at 1:02 a.m. to some site coordinators saying I had a sore throat and was coughing and couldn’t sleep. Barb G. had said she’d open Derby Park for me.

Seven Year Anniversary

Yesterday passed uneventfully—sick in bed—marking exactly seven years since the day I tried pickleball for the very first time. I never imagined the world that would open up and how much a part of my life it would become.

As Seen on TV

Today, the San Francisco 49ers were playing in the NFC championship against the Detroit Lions in their home stadium in Santa Clara about 30 miles north of me. For those of you keeping track, yes, I am a Raiders fan. However, the 49ers are also a team that I root for, just not in a diehard fashion. The Niners did horribly in the first half, but then came back and earned themselves a trip to the Super Bowl by playing much better in the second half. You may ask why I’m mentioning this, but USAA continues to run an advertisement during football games featuring the famous former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski playing pickleball.

More prime pickleball exposure!


I received an email from DUPR today, announcing that my rating had gone up. They are re-implementing taking into account point differential in each final game score. I thought it was dumb of them to eliminate that data point in the first place since it was such a key advantage of their system. But now it’s back. Good. If you beat someone 11-0, that should mean more than beating them 15-13.

With the revamp, I’m back over 4.0 again, 4.044.

Seriously? Get an Artist!

I was shown an ad in my Facebook feed tonight. I’m obscuring the vendor because they don’t deserve any promotion. A.I. technology is a fun new—and often useful—thing. But don’t feed us crap. It’s annoying. How many errors can we find in the image?

  • one man appears to be holding a large flyswatter
  • there are four balls in play
  • one woman appears to be holding a lollipop or the head of a golf club
  • there’s a fifth player in action at the end of the net
  • the left net post is seemingly also a lamp post
  • one woman is holding a lacrosse stick and maybe a paint roller too, it’s hard to tell
  • one man appears to be holding an oversized BBQ spatula
  • there is a shadow in the middle of the court coming from nothing.

Did I miss anything? (Aside from the oddly-shaped “bird-plane”?)

Come on. Should we assume you pay any better attention to the details in your promoted newsletter? Or that you are going to properly invest the time into it to make it good? I am not impressed.

Thursday, February 1, 2024 (No Play)

While I’m improving, my still really congested from COVID. My fever is gone and I only have mild to no headaches. Last night, through, I couldn’t get to sleep until nearly 3 a.m. and then I had very interrupted sleep since I had cramping in my legs, primarily my hamstrings. Dehydration? Lack of movement? Dunno.

Website Troubleshooting

Yesterday, I spent the vast majority of my day in bed sick, implementing a new contact form for this website. The last few days, I started receiving a relative flood of spam contact form messages, at least a dozen every day. While investigating a solution, I discovered that the company that had created WordPress plugin that I was using was no longer in business and was no longer supporting it. Ah. But now it’s replaced with a new plugin, configured, tested, and working.

Politician Naysayer

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the controversial young radially left congressional representative from New York, was interviewed and said that she believes pickleball is “on its way out.” Well, I don’t know about anyone else, but I certainly wouldn’t bet on her claim!

Friday, February 2, 2024 (No Play)

Ok, now here’s an ad image with pickleball that is at least correct. I can almost guarantee it was created by a human being:

Interesting. Two lefties… makes for a better image balance and composition.

Too bad I don’t have “$750K+” around! (For multiple reasons!!)

Saturday, February 3, 2024 (No Play)

Crazy behind-the-back ATP by Jack Ignatowich! Check out this short video!

Class Cancellation

I was carbon-copied on email from Sean today—the other beginners pickleball coach—to Mike at, saying that Sean was canceling his Sunday pickleball class. With the rain forecast at 99% and storm warning, it totally made sense. I emailed my students today, letting them know that I would be cancelling our class for tomorrow. I then emailed Mike at to let him know that I had done so—they’d be refunding the students for their missed class, the last class of the session. With the next session starting, we don’t have a Sunday available to make up the class. Alas. I was bummed that I only got to say goodbye to my students by email.

Ow. Back!

I was putting on a pair of shorts well, standing up when I pulled a muscle in my back just above my left hip. I guess this is middle-age problems. Fortunately, though it’s somewhat painful, it’s nothing like the incapacitating experience I had couple months ago.

Sunday, February 4, 2024 (No play)

It has been a week, and while I was still mildly congested, I took a COVID test and it came back negative. That’s very good news.

The muscle I pulled in my back yesterday appears that it may take a week or so to heal. We will see. I took our younger corgi pepper for a walk, and my back was mildly painful with every step.

I went to a family dinner at my parents’ house to celebrate my nephew‘s birthday. While there my brother John told me that he had played pickleball a couple of times without me. Good for him!

Sports Celebrity Match

The Pickleball Slam 2 was this afternoon with Andre Agassi and his wife Steffi Graf against John McEnroe and Maria Sharapova. Team Agassi won the $1 million prize.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024 (No Play)

Ouch. My back is not happy. Yesterday afternoon it was spasming some while at work. I suspect this may take a couple of weeks to get better. Today, I took some ibuprofen and my wife kindly had fished out the last lidocaine patch for me to use. I cut it in half, which still left a decent-sized patch, leaving the other half for tomorrow.

Just in case, I texted Mark G. to see if he could open for me on Sunday morning, but he said he’d be out of town this weekend.

Thursday, February 8, 2024 (No play)

Today, Mike from organized a lunch meeting with Santa Cruz instructors. It was Mike, Bob Hansen, Larry Yien (who is looking to start instructing), and myself. Mike said Sean didn’t respond, maybe he was busy. We talked about nets, expansion of instruction, possibilities in the future. Mike said he was a band nerd in school. Later, as we were leaving, I asked him and he said he still plays saxophone.

Me, Mike, Bob, and Larry.

Walking back to work from Walnut Avenue Cafe, my lower back mildly hurt with every step.

National TV

Oh, and pickleball made it onto Jeopardy again:

Saturday, February 10, 2024 (No Play)

My back continues to be sore. My tournament partners are getting antsy to practice with me. I got texts from Jason and René today inquiring about how I was doing. I told them both that I wasn’t ready to play yet, unfortunately.

I had minor back spasms last night while standing. Dave Cox called and asked if I was available to drill tomorrow, but I told him my back has been bothering me and I’m not ready to hit a ball around.

Before bed, I put on a lidocaine patch and took ibuprofen.

Sunday, February 11, 2024 (No Play)

Yesterday, I had asked for coverage this morning for Derby Park. Tom Sherwood opened and Barb Gerry closed for me today. Some nights. I can turn over in bed with only minor pain and other nights, it’s more painful . . . but it’s trending in the right direction.

Breakfast Visitors

One of my wife’s high school friends, Daniel, along with his wife and two daughters were in town and we went out to breakfast at Walnut Avenue Cafe, along with my son Nicholas. It’s kind of funny, if I had even been in this restaurant previously, it must have been years and years, but now, I’m in it twice in one week. (The last time for our Rec lunch meeting on Thursday.)

Beginners Class

I had my first meeting of my February 4-week class this afternoon. Rec made an error and set my class time for 1 p.m. instead of 1:30 p.m. That should be fixed going forward. (Sean’s class was also bumped up half an hour by mistake.)

Crazily, one of my eight students dropped out at 8:35 a.m. this morning . . . yes, a little over 4 hours before my class was supposed to start. How am I supposed to fill a spot in that short of a time span? [Later note: Rec informed me that if a student drops out within 72-hours of the first class, the student doesn’t get a refund.] I had my son Nicholas—who had come down to watch the Super Bowl later with me—come to act as the 8th student for my class so we’d have two full sets of doubles.

As it turned out, Katie—who had been in Bob’s intermediate class that I subbed for recently—arrived a bit early and thought she had signed up for my class. I told her that she wasn’t on the list but there was now an opening. She confirmed on her phone that she wasn’t registered and then registered right there and then and I instantaneously received a confirmation from Rec that she was enrolled. Great. I’d have a full class with an even number of students.

Students Vicki, Katie, Denise, Ethan, Henri, Susan, Karyn, Ray and me.

This seemed like a pretty balanced group today, with no one far better or worse than anyone else.

Monday, February 12, 2024 (No Play)

An ad for a fancy paddle carrier appeared on Instagram. My wife was especially into Dooney & Bourke purses some years back, so I sent her a screenshot.

She replied, “Can Dooney & Burke make a more ugly pickleball sling?” She was not impressed, obviously. It reminds me of a strawberry.


An assuming and sometimes true meme also appeared.

I don’t know if I’ve ever said that I’d never play again, but wanting to leave the court due to my bad play has certainly happened…even in the last few weeks! (Now that I think more about it, there have been times after playing when I have thought, “Why am I doing this?”)

Tournament Update

So the upcoming Cabrillo tournament operated by PIG (Pickleball is Great) that I’m playing in with Jason and René has been moved to Soquel High School. The email tonight said there was wind damage and the court fence is down at the Cabrillo courts. That’s some crazy wind! I’ve never played at Soquel High—any sport . . . I take that back. It’s possible, maybe even likely, that I played a football game there in high school, but that would have been 40 years ago! When I managed a summer Co-Rec softball team, in later years, we’d practice at the public park next door to that school. Regardless, my knowledge of that facility is very limited beyond knowing where it is without a map!

Tuesday, February 13, 2024 (No Play)

Netflix’s “Break Point” series showed the family and friends and supporters of U.S. tennis star Frances Tiafoe in the stands . . . and there’s this guy at a major tennis event wearing a pickleball T-shirt. I had to stop and go back to make sure. It brought a smile to my face! That “takes some cajones” as they say!

Number of days on a court: 625
Number of total hours: 2,720.5
Number of paid coaching hours: 15.5

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