Adventures of Andrew Lenz and a Yellow Ball

Las Vegas Sunset Park #2

Wednesday, June 19, 2024 (Court Day #677)

At the trade show, I was talking to a woman in one booth named Lauren. I brought up pickleball—of course!—and she said that she played and asked my rating. I told her I’m a 4.0. She shared, “I’m somewhere between a 4.0 and a 5.0.” She said she used to play a lot of tennis and doesn’t really have much of a soft game. She lives in Northern California too, so maybe we’ll connect up and play some time.

Sunset Park

I used Uber tonight instead of Lyft. The trade show host gave all the attendees a $30 Uber voucher to get around. I arrived at Sunset Park at 9:02 p.m. Like last night, things were hopping at the courts. 

It was a bit warmer tonight, but still cooler than normal according to the locals. To me, it felt warm no matter what!

First Game

I went to the same court I played on last night. There was a paddle that was placed down by a pleasant petite woman who I think is Filipino. She introduced herself as “Cha Cha.” She kindly said I could join her. We got into a game fairly quickly . . .  ours were the first set of paddles waiting on the ground next to the court.

Unfortunately, we lost in very short order in a lopsided fashion. Cha Cha said that she played poorly in that game. Judging by only that one game, she was the weakest player I’ve seen on the challenge courts, but we all have “off nights” now and then. Maybe she plays better regularly.

After our game, she put down her paddle, and I put down my paddle on the ground behind her, not on top of hers. That indicates that I was willing to wait until after her game instead of playing with her. There was a bit of paddle shuffling going on with random people, and I think someone moved my paddle onto hers. After that last game, I was looking for more of a balanced game. So I told Cha Cha, “I hope you don’t mind, I’m going to move over to this other court.”

The Locals

At 9:25 p.m., I was still waiting for second game. It was taking a while. I was feeling as though I had been waiting half an hour trying to get into my first game, but then I realized that I actually had already played a game. That first game had just been so unsatisfying and short that I simply forgot about it. It was kind of funny in a sad way.

I was chatting a bit with various locals while waiting to get into my next game. I asked a guy named Eric if he’d join me. (My paddle was just sitting there first in line, but with no matching paddle.)

There was a man there, Bennie, and a young blonde woman named Jordan who used to live in Los Vegas but now lives in Arizona. She’s 5’7” and looks about 17 but is 25 and works as a CPA for a living. One of the locals said she is a strong player.

A man showed up and pulled a paddle out of his bag. It appeared to have the top edge cut off—the top was very straight across. Then he started wrapping his paddle with grippy kitchen plastic wrap . . . like you’d put over a casserole dish before putting it in the fridge. I was confused. Was he wrapping it up to ship and sell? Was he literally crazy? (We have some nutty people back home in Santa Cruz—like transients who forget to take their medication or are high on meth—so that’s what crossed my mind!)

Next Game

My game came up. It was to be Eric and me against Bennie and Jordan who had just won their game. Jordan had some really great drops in their game that I’d been watching. I warmed up with Eric for a few minutes while Bennie and Jordan got hydrated.

Eric and I won a close one, 12-10. We got off the court to get some water before our next game. Bennie shared a comment in our direction, “Cowards . . . hitting all your shots to the woman.” Honestly, that had not crossed my mind. And Eric and I did not discuss this—or much of anything else for that matter—as a strategy. Might we have sent more shots to her? Maybe. I couldn’t tell you. 

Next

Next, Eric and I would be playing against the “plastic wrap man” . . . his name is Jason. When I asked Eric about the wrapping, he explained Jason makes his own paddles. But the unorthodox paddle covering didn’t help Jason. Eric and I beat him and his male partner 11-1.

Eric said this would be his last game of the night. I shared with him that it was pretty hot compared to home, I was sweating. 

Having won two games in a row, I was expecting to have to come off, but Eric had said that “unless someone complains, you can just stay on forever.” Ah.

By now, it was 10:04 p.m. The lights would be on for another hour. There were somewhat fewer players waiting. There was a 20-something young fellow who had arrived about 20-30 minutes before. Maybe 6-foot, shaggy blond hair, trim and athletic. His name is Joshua.

Next

Joshua and I would be taking on Bennie and Jordan. After the last game, I was intent on hitting just about every shot to Bennie. And I did. I sent every return to him and most drives. There were a few crosscourt shots that I sent to Jordan, but probably 90% of my shots were to Bennie. Joshua and I won, 11-8. In the end, it didn’t matter than I sent nearly everything to Bennie.

Bugs

There were strange black bugs that that I kept having to kick off of the court. They reminded me of ladybugs in their approximate size and shape. I don’t know what they are, but at least there were only several of these persistent bugs. 

Next

Josh and I next played Jason (“plastic man”) and a man named John.  Kudos to John, he’s a strong player.

Joshua and I were both making unforced errors. Everything that could go wrong as going wrong. We falling behind and falling hard. We were down 0-7! Ouch! Embarrassing!

While on the left, there was one serve I made to Jason where the ball went down the center of the court. Jason tried to run and get it and called it out. I was surprised. Joshua and I looked at each other, then he said to me, “I saw it in.”
“I did too.”
Jason’s partner didn’t say anything either way.
I took a couple to steps toward Jason raised my hands and said, “Your call.” He said it was out. Jason was indeed closer however he was also in a full sprint trying to make that call.

Josh and I started tightening things up and went on a five point run before side out came again. We were playing much better. 

We continued to rack up points while keeping our opponents to just a point after each side out. Soon it was 9-8 and we were ahead. Then 10-10. Then we scored a point. 11-10. Side out. We held them. Joshua and I won 12-10. That was a 12-3 run to come back and win.

We finished that game at 10:55 p.m., five minutes before the lights clicked off.

I got in 2 hours tonight and five games, four of which were strong games. I said my goodbyes. I felt I played pretty well tonight.

Uber

After I used the Uber app to call for a driver, it took a while. As I watched the progress on my phone, the driver went the wrong way, made a U-turn, and generally got lost. But she eventually found me in the parking lot. 

Getting back to the hotel wasn’t much better. We went in circles and she apologized a few times as she missed turns.

We passed the NFL’s Raiders stadium on the way to my hotel.

I didn’t get back to the hotel until nearly midnight. It was a very long Uber ride. I was beat, but it always takes me a little time to wind down. Last night, I got to sleep sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. and was up at 8 a.m.  I was a little short on rest but so worth it to play again tonight!

Number of days on a court: 677
Number of total hours: 2,864
Number of paid coaching hours: 43.5

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

1 Comment

  1. stan

    Fun vlog. We fell like we’re in your shoes with your style of writing! 👍😎

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2024 Pickleball Journey

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Pickleball Journey