Friday, May 27, 2022 (Court Day #501)
Good news, my right heel, which have never been bothering me before but was bothering me last night, was perfectly fine this morning. It’s overcast today, and in the low 60s. Staffing was good, so I told my crew that I’d be in about 1 p.m. Considering I was at work on Wednesday for 10-11 hours, I figured I could take a morning off.
I got to Brommer Park a few minutes before 9 a.m., and there was a ton of parking. There were a number of games going already but some of the temporary nets had not been set up yet.
I got into a number of games during the mixed skill time between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. and a couple were surprisingly good. One was with Leslie against Tom from Palo Alto and a fellow named Martijn—”Mar-tane”, he said it rhymes with “Mark Twain”. Martijn is a strong intermediate. I felt I played a little better than he did, but he’s a good player. In this game, I felt myself lapsing into the mindset that I was a weaker player. I stopped myself. “No. You belong here. You can handle anything they throw at you. You can. Play confident and focused.”
In that game, I added sidespin to one of my serves by brushing the side of the ball. Nothing new, I’ve been doing it for years. But Tom liked it enough that after that rally was over, he called to me, ”I have to learn that serve!”
The last game of that mixed period was me and Martijn against Dave Debiasi and Barb (who ran the Toys for Tots collection right before Christmas). Barb was obviously the weakest player. Martijn and I were ahead so I decided to hit more to Dave. My problem with this is that there were shots I’d never make in a game that I was actually worried about winning. Such as Barb being back and Dave at the net and me hitting the ball in Dave’s direction anyway. I hit a few of those too high and Dave simply put them away. It’s a good drill for me to have to change up from what are my natural strategic shots.
Skill Play: Blue
I played one blue intermediate game today, my first game after skill-level play started at 10 a.m.
Midmorning the back of my right hand was hurting. This was after a shot that Alan K. hit with a lot of spin and I swung and missed. (A clear miss is rare indeed! Maybe two or three times in five years!) Aside from being embarrassed, I strained something in the back of my hand. While it didn’t prove to be crippling, it did bother me a little bit for the rest of the session.
Skill Play: Red
I played a game with Tom from Palo Alto against Dave Debiasi and Kent. Tom and I won that game 11-5, though it had been close and back-and-forth initially.
I played red/advanced again—and did red for the rest of the session—with Rich against Charles and Leslie. It was a lopsided win for us, I was playing very well. While I made some mistakes today, they weren’t particularly common. I may not have even hit the ball into the white net tape once.
Once this morning, I was about to start a box in red. I stopped myself, turned to Charles and said, “You sign up first. I got in trouble once for doing that. I’ll add my name under yours.” I made a point of asking before adding my name to a red box, even if I’d already played with those players. I’m happy there was no hesitation and sometimes even an enthusiastic “yes”.
There were no top echelon players at Brommer such as Dan Bliss, Dean, Chris Yoder, Tristan, and others. We did have Leslie, Charles, Dave Debiasi, Kent, Rob A., Binh, and Shante. I never got to play with Rob, Binh, and Shante, unfortunately. I would’ve loved to played with them.
And overall, I was extremely happy with my play today. All the red games that I played in there is no question that I belonged in those games. Aside from my pairing with Leslie for her warmup game, I’m trying to remember if I lost any other games today. Maybe one where I was playing with Karl (who was playing up) against Charles and a older fellow named Mike. That was a close game, but I don’t remember the outcome. I just remember being slightly frustrated at times with my partner’s shot. Maybe I lost two games all morning. Partners are a part of that too, of course. But if you are playing in the advanced crowd, you can be the weak link, but I never felt today that after a game was done.
I checked the time and it was 12:06 PM. Now to get home shower, eat lunch, and then get to work. If everything goes according to plan I’ll be playing again in two days on Sunday, and then again on Monday morning on Memorial Day.
I did hit maybe three or four of my serves out today. But for every serve that I hit out, there were two or three where my opponents were unable to return my serves back over the net. I did a pretty good job mixing up my serves: speed, angle, curve, depth, height. They were pretty effective.
On a side note, I have to say, it was fun seeing players that I hadn’t seen in some time.
When I arrived to work, I found a pickleball related cartoon next to one of the computer keyboards. Gary, one of my staff, had cut it out for me.
Now, in my life, the person being dragged out would be the female spouse, not me, the male spouse! My wife has no interest in playing pickleball despite my approximately annual suggestions!
Number of days on a court: 501
Number of total hours: 2,335
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