Thursday, May 16, 2024 (Court Day #662)

The days are flying by this week. This morning, I was planning on not playing tonight. My right knee has been bothering me for the past few days and I figured I would give it some rest. But my wife texted asking if I was going to play and while I was still undecided, I picked up what I needed from home during lunch just in case.

War!

I am so annoyed. Really, really annoyed. The PPA business group announced today that it’s launching a “global governing body” to manage pickleball.

What the hell? For 40 years, there has already been a “governing body” for pickleball. It was originally called the United States of America Pickleball Association (USAPA) and was rebranded a few years ago to USA Pickleball. Internationally, the USAPA was instrumental in founding the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) to promote the sport worldwide. (The IFP went through some management problems and was relaunched as the International Pickleball Federation or IPF, last year.)

Rather than working with USA Pickleball, the business guys decided they’d just start their own association. What really gets me is them laying claim to the 52% growth of participation in the sport last year. What they don’t say is that the PPA and MLP had almost nothing to do with it. The volunteer network of USA Pickleball ambassadors—like me—have been working hard to grow the sport for years, along with local recreational players. It has been very grassroots, with support from USA Pickleball. A recent survey determined that over 90% of pickleball players have very little interest in pro players and pro matches . . . they just want to get out and play themselves. This is very unlike, say, football, baseball, or basketball where the majority of fans don’t play themselves but like to watch. So, again, the pro leagues have had very little to do with the growth of pickleball, they are just riding the wave but want control the sport anyway. Power grab.

(And just to be clear, I do not officially speak for USA Pickleball. The opinion above is my own.)

Weather and Whether

It h ad beenovercast all day today and a little bit on the chilly side. It was almost enough to make you think it was a late fall instead of spring. It was misting heavily as I drove to Skypark after work, but it was only a brief interlude on the freeway then stopped.

After my performance on Tuesday night, I was dejected about my play. Yesterday, I caught myself thinking, “Why do I play this game?“ But there I was this evening, on my way to Scotts Valley to play once again.

Skypark

I was on the courts shortly before 7 p.m. There weren’t as many people playing tonight as there had been on Tuesday. The whiteboard wasn’t brought out and there was only me and about half a dozen other people who are waiting to get into games.

While I played better tonight, I did hit a ball into the white tape three times and also missed about a half dozen of my serves—about an equal number sailed past the baseline as ended up in the net.

There were two passing shots along the right sideline where I left too much of a gap and my opponent took advantage. I have to trust my partner to cover the middle. I can’t leave the easy straight-ahead shot open. I was probably leaving about 4 feet beyond the reach of my paddle along that sideline. The good news is on a third attempt, I had adjusted and the ball was within my reach, and I took care of it and returned the ball over the net. It was a few minutes before 9:30 p.m. when the last game ended.

Ow.

The most eventful incident tonight was David hitting a hard drive from the kitchen across the net and right into my face. Aaron had popped up the ball and David leap up and slammed it square on my right cheekbone. For ball that is so light, it sure stung for a while! David apologized and felt bad. It wasn’t his fault. It easily could have been me hitting a ball like he did. And that is why I wear eyewear all the time while playing pickleball . . . you never know when you’ll get a ball to the face! My cheekbone mildly stung for a while.

Work to Do

There is still work I need to do in court positioning as well as trusting my partner in the middle. The problem is, when you’re playing with a partner who is weaker—which I think was every game for me this evening—you can’t always count on them to make the shot so there’s a temptation take a backhand shot in the middle instead of leaving it for the forehand of your partner.

I will say that overall, my drop shots are getting better and more consistent with this recent paddle change and tweaking. That’s nice to see.

Aaron, Ofer, and David after the lights clicked off.

When I got home after 10 p.m., I iced my knee . . . and iced my cheekbone!


Saturday, May 18, 2024 (No Play)

No play for me yesterday or today. I have too many of my staff on vacation. We ended up four people short at work today.

New York

My brother John has been in New York City this week for his work. He sent a text to the group text chat with my parents and siblings…

John is a funny guy! I’d read previously about the courts in Central Park. From what I understand they were initially temporary as an experiment, but “stuck”. Regardless, neat that he got to see them in person . . . especially since John has started playing some himself.


Reddit

I recently installed Reddit on my phone to access pickleball discussions. This popped up and I couldn’t help but chuckle given the vocal subset of tennis players who keep talking smack about pickleball.

“…no one in my area seems to play anymore.”
Now, I have played tennis and enjoy tennis and I don’t want to see tennis suffer. But I do enjoy the strategies and skills of pickleball. What was it someone said? “Tennis is checkers, pickleball is chess.” A more physically-demanding and a “higher barrier for entry” checkers, but checkers compared to the “cat and mouse” of pickleball.

UPA-A

The flurry of over the announcement by the for-profit UPA that it’s launching a global association to essentially replace the decades-old non-profit USA Pickleball is continuing. The Pickleball Channel posted a poll today and here are the results…

I have some faith in humanity that only 5% of respondents say that the UPA-A is a good idea.

Number of days on a court: 662
Number of total hours: 2,824
Number of paid coaching hours: 34.5

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