Monday, September 4, 2023 (Court Day #609)
Organized play on club days are always super busy when it coincides with a holiday. I wasn’t too keen on waiting for long periods only to get funky games. So I texted Charles last night to see if he was available to play at Derby today. When he said that he was, the next step was to get two more players. There were a lot of good options and we worked though player after player—one had food poisoning, another was injured, another didn’t want to play two days in a row, some were already booked or had conflicts or were out of town. Eventually, we lined up Binh and Dan Dewey.
This morning, Dan shared that his knee had swollen up and he couldn’t play. So we went back to work finding a fourth. Binh was able to get Avery. Excellent. We should get some good games in.
I was walked around getting ready to go, my post-surgery knee was complaining some. It was sore. Honestly, I probably should have rested my knee, but I really wanted to play.
I parked and grabbed my portable net and as I walked into Derby Park, Avery was about 20 feet in front of me. I’d seen Charles walking in from Swift Street when I passed him in my car and he was inside the gate.
Last night, I looked for my sport video camera (GoPro knockoff) and it wasn’t next to my computer, so I figured it must be in my pickleball backpack. Nope. What the heck. Too bad, private games are ideal for recording since there is no mid-game court shifting—unlike club play.
We had the choice of one of two empty courts and we decided on the one that was in the better condition. I even before he finished warming up, the best court—next to the gates—opened up and we moved to that one.
Charles and I won the first game 13-11 vs. Binh and Avery. We were up 5-0, but they came back let 10-9 only to fall short.
We won the rubber match 12-10. They were leading originally, but we came back.
We mixed partners. Binh and I got clobbered by Charles and Avery 2-11.
That first one wasn’t a fluke, we lost the rematch also by a score of 2-11. Our only points came early in the game from two of my serves, one after the other, when Charles hit his return into net followed by Avery hitting his return into the net.
Avery and I won 11-6.
Avery and I lost 9-11 against Charles and Binh. Avery made one ATP, but later missed two. I missed one backhand ATP on the left, hitting it a few inches too wide.
Between games, it was 11:58 a.m. when I checked my phone.
Having split the two games, Binh suggested we play a tiebreaker. Avery and I went ahead 9-6, but went on to lose 9-11, giving them 5 unanswered points.
In that very first game, while I was on the left and Charles was on the right, Avery, who was diagonal from me, hit a hard backhand volley down between Charles and myself. The ball l hit the end of my paddle and really tweaked my wrist. That was significantly painful. I took a moment then to re-strap my right wrist a bit tighter and even closer to my hand to provide more support. The pain didn’t completely go away, but it went from 8 or 9 on a scale of 10 down to a more nagging 1 or 2 constant ache by the end of our session. I really do need to schedule that X-ray for my wrist.
There is no shade and while there is a fairly constant breeze, it was pretty insignificant. Fortunately, the temperature never got over 70°F. I don’t sweat particularly easily, but I was doing some sweating. In-between the last few games, I was telling sweat off my forehead.
Today was good game after good game. I can’t tell you how many times myself or my partner would hit a shot that during normal circumstances would’ve ended the rally only to have that ball come back. Remember a rally where we had such a shot and I was thinking “winner!“ and then the ball would come back anyway, we’d hit another one, and I would think “winner!“ We had this happen several times within the one rally. It was a whole lot of fun.
Me being a nerd, here is my analysis of our seven games. Below is the difference of scored points of each game totaled up. Negative numbers are losses.
Being we played one more game than a perfect round robin, here’s a grid only taking the best and worst games with a specific partner.
It’s easy to rank our play for this given day. Charles played the best, followed by Avery, then me, then Binh. It’s the same player ranking as taking all the games into account. The last time I did an analysis like this two years ago (back when I was playing left-handed), there was a 61 point spread from the best player to the weakest player over all the games. Today, it was a 44 point total spread.
So, my right knee is hurting. Walking is uncomfortable. Sitting seems fine, but walking is definitely painful, maybe 5 on scale to 10. I’m limping a bit.
So, little Barb G. found my blog here (“Hi Barb!”) and dropped me a note. My favorite line: “I went down the rabbit hole for a while. It’s so fun to read about the club and the people before I arrived in 2021.”
I do wonder once in a while about players who I don’t see anymore. They either gave up pickleball, moved, or passed away. A couple players that I remember are Geoff and Grita who both died in the last 6 years. Both nice people. Wayne moved to the east coast. He’s missed. I’m sure there are others whom I have not thought about. I’ve been meaning to go back and read my own blog, but I have so much on my plate!
On a completely different note, the latest upgrade of WordPress (used for this site) broke the toolbar which makes some editing nearly impossible . . . such as adding image captions or adding a link to some text. I may need to delay posting until it’s fixed. Such a pain.
Wednesday, September 6, 2023 (No Play)
I came down with a sore throat and stinging sinuses. Not fun. I’m home from work sick.
I really did a number on my knee playing 8 hours over two days. While it’s getting better, it’s still hurting a bit to walk. My knee pain would wake me up last night every time that I turned over.
There are so many basic rule questions that get asked on Facebook that one random fellow, Mike Bray, posted this question…
What’s perhaps even more funny was the people answering his question seriously! Really, people?
I found this in a message that emailed to myself, but I can’t recall if I shared it or not, in case I didn’t, here it is:
I think this is a brilliant means of increasing hand speed.
My daughter Charlotte asked if I had an extra “pickleball racket” for her to have. I have that barely used Paddletek Wave paddle that I haven’t touched in 2-3 years. That should serve her well.
Thursday, September 7, 2023 (No Play)
I’m still down with a sore throat and irritated sinuses. I went so far as taking a trip to urgent care for a strep throat test and they also did a COVID test, though two home COVID tests had already came back negative. The doctor said that this latest strain of COVID isn’t always showing up on home tests.
I keep getting fed versions of this ad on social media this week:
Apparently, as a pickleball nut, I’m a good target for ping pong ads.
My knee is improving, but it’s still far from me being comfortable to play on it. It often hurts when simply walking and side-strain on it is always painful.
I watched portions of the first NFL regular season game tonight. (The Lions beat the Chiefs.) During the game, Subway had an advertisement. Of course, I wouldn’t be mentioning it if it didn’t include their Pickleball Club sandwich!
Friday, September 8, 2023 (No Play)
My throat has gotten mostly better, but now I have a constant runny nose and coughing. I can’t win.
So, this weekend, September 8-10, is the first event of the former Pacific Pickleball League (PPL) newly rebranded after an agreement as “MLP Australia”. The battle for players and turf continue between the MLP and PPA tours.
Between being sick and my knee still giving me trouble, I asked Barb G. if she’d cover Derby Park for me on Sunday, to which she agreed. Thanks, Barb!
Sunday, September 10, 2023 (No Play)
This cold is still just dragging on. I feel a little better but I’m still really stuffy.
I found my missing sports camera in a desk drawer. My wife had cleaned up. Ah, well. I would have really liked to analyze those Monday games.
My knee is getting better, it’s been almost a week now, but I’m not close to playing on it yet.
Monday, September 11, 2023 (No Play)
I returned to work today, even though I am still congested and not feeling 100%. I took the morning off, but my plan of leaving early got buried under work duties.
My knee continues to protest going down stairs and getting up after sitting in a low position, like a couch.
There are so many . . . well . . . dumb questions that get asked in the Pickleball Rules Facebook group that could be answered if the asker would simply take the time to read the rulebook. Especially NVZ questions. I figured I’d make fun of these questions with a question of my own. Apparently, one of the group moderators didn’t like my post and deleted it as being “off topic”. I guess poking fun is off topic. You can comment on this post and tell me what you think.
Tuesday, September 12, 2023 (No Play)
During the day, I’ll sometimes feel pain on the outside of my right knee, and more frequently on the inside. It’s weird. It’s getting to the point where I’d almost consider playing on it. But, regardless, I’m still congested from this week-long cold. I went to work again today. I’m no longer blowing my nose all the time, but now, it’s heartily to try and clear things out. I’m in a constant state of being some degree of stuffy.
My daughter Charlotte sent me a photo of the pickleball courts where she played again. It looks like Apodaca Park in Las Cruces where I played while visiting her in July last year. She says she will play with me when she comes home for Thanksgiving in a couple of months. I’m looking forward to that. She’s been out playing with a couple of her friends who, she says, play twice each week.
Thursday, September 14, 2023 (No Play)
I’m still stuffy from being sick, but I rode our Peleton last night. I wanted to work off the pizza I had at work yesterday!
Resistance (%): 33
Distance (mi): 8.85
Calories (kcal): 212
That’s a record for me. I could have gone longer, my legs were fine. But my right knee wasn’t super happy though.
I’m hovering between 177 and 178 pounds. I did weigh in at 176.9 this week, that was a new low. When I get down to 176.8, I will have lost 20 pounds.
I noticed that the pickleball paddle I’d set aside for my daughter’s boyfriend Aiden to pick up was either gone or moved by my wife. Hopefully, it’s on its way to New Mexico. I had an extra new “swirl design” paddle cover that I put it in for Charlotte. She should like that.
Friday, September 15, 2023 (No Play)
The war is over. It’s official! MLP and the PPA have merged. That’s good. The less drama, the better.
One big happy family!
Math and Pickleball
As I was almost a math minor in college and my son was an Applied Mathematics major at UCLA, we have math in our family. If found this article somewhat interesting:
Given the fact that I’m still regularly blowing my nose and am congested plus my knee is making itself known with just regular activities, I asked Barb if she could open Derby for me and she said she would. (Thanks, Barb!)
Saturday, September 16, 2023 (No Play)
This is a clip claims to be of 1980s pickleball in action:
Now, one never knows with the internet, but I don’t see anything that indicates that it might be a modern game. In fact, you can just glimpse a paddle face off to the left. It appears to be an old Prolite model. Prolite started in 1984—making this video 1984 or later—and you can see their original logo in this 2021 blog article:
Sure, someone could have “planted” an old paddle and had the woman cut her hair in the popular 1980s “Dorthy Hamill” style and got vintage clothing for everyone, but it’d be a lot of work for a short clip simply posted to social media. I believe it’s legitimate.
One thing to think about. It’d be a mistake to use this one clip as an example of the primary play style of the time—like little to no dinking . . . any more than it’d be to take a clip of some random recreational play this week and use that to make assumptions about the popular style of play in the 2020s.
Sunday, September 17, 2023 (No Play)
This morning laying in bed on my back, the inside of my right knee was very mildly aching. We had a party at my folks for my niece and goddaughter Gigi, who is turning 7 this coming week. Walking around, and in particular, turning certain ways, was causing noticeable pain. I was thinking, “If I were a pro athlete—like playing in the NFL—this would force me into retirement.” And, “What does this mean? Will this just go on and not get better? Will I have to give up pickleball? Will I need a knee replacement to be pain-free?”
I rode the Peloton again tonight—it’s been three days since the last time—for about 25 minutes before my knee was feeling weird and worried me. I need to get some exercise somehow.
I’ve been watching the tennis documentary Break Point on Netflix. I had forgotten that I hadn’t finished the series a few months ago and had more episodes left to view. A year ago this month, Ajla Tomljanovic, a young top tennis player, was walking to center court to play in the third round of the U.S. Open against the greatest female tennis player of all time, Serena Williams. Talk about intimidating. There’s a plaque posted on the wall at the entrance to the court.
”Pressure is a privilege.” Indeed. It’s so easy to get into your own head and forget to enjoy the moment and what you’ve earned for yourself. I think I generally do a pretty good job of keeping perspective. I’ve played in several tournament gold medal matches over the years and I feel I’ve done a reasonably good job of enjoying the experience. (Maybe not so much after losing, but during the game, I don’t freak out.) Sure, there are medals and sometimes prizes involved in my tournament matches, but unlike, say, Ajla, I’m not playing on a court for multimillion dollar sponsorship deals for huge prize purses or putting my full-time job of training on the line. In that case, losing can be a major impact on your livelihood. But even then, no one is going to die if I—or Ajla—lose playing a match.
Monday, September 18, 2023 (No Play)
Thanks to Brenden Zimmer for granting my request today to moderate the Santa Cruz Pickleball Facebook group that he started. (I was starting to think he forgot that he said he would!) There’s a Santa Cruz Pickleball account that’s run by the Santa Cruz Pickleball Club, but that account is set up as an individual and not a group, so it’s a different animal.
It’s been a solid two weeks now since I started showing symptoms of this cold. It’s still dragging on. It must be a rhinovirus which thrives in the human sinuses.
Tuesday, September 19, 2023 (No Play)
I went and had my hand X-rayed this morning. They reviewed it pretty quickly, with the following results within a few hours:
Bones: No acute fracture or dislocation.
Joint: No significant degenerative or inflammatory changes.
I suppose that’s good, but it’s still a bit of mystery. The PA suspects that it’s “some smoldering tendonitis”. If I were to put my palm on the floor and press down on my wrist as if to do a pushup, there is still significant pain.
Monday, September 25, 2023 (No Play)
Barb and Eric S. covered for my site coordinator duties at Derby Park yesterday.
I messaged the surgery PA, Heather, at the end of last week about my knee pain. Walking hurts. Shifting my foot from the gas pedal to the brake pedal and back has some pain. Heather called me while I was at home for lunch. She recommended a standing X-ray. As opposed to a lying-down MRI, which doesn’t show weight on the knee. I have an appointment on Thursday for the X-ray followed immediately by an evaluation of it. (Modern technology is great, no wait for developing film!)
Local Pro Workshop
The SCPC sent out an email notice yesterday about a workshop in October put on pro players Lindsey and Riley Newman. There’s a 2-day workshop for intermediate players 3.0-4.0+ and a 2-day workshop for 4.0+ players. The cost of the workshop is $700, $699 to be exact. $700 divided by 10 hours = $70/hour. I have conflict on both days of the 4.0+ workshop and that’s the only one that I’d be interested in. I think I’d rather take 10 hours of private instruction at $70/hour than be one of 20 people (or whatever that cap is) in a group workshop. Still, there’s something to be said for advice from pro players.
Tuesday, September 26, 2023 (No Play)
I reached out to Patty, who’s the contact for the Newman workshop, via email and offered to help on the day for check-in or whatever else she’d need help with. Maybe I can get out and see people.
As of yesterday, it’s been three full weeks since I last played. It’s frustrating. On the flipside, with my knee hurting, my subconscious is dampening my desire to play. Just the thought of bending and twisting my knee gives me major pause. Going up and down stairs is a slow step-at-a-time process, especially if it comes very soon after sitting.
USA Pickleball Launches “Quiet Category” Initiative
Last Friday, us Ambassadors were notified of a new initiative by USA Pickleball that was publicly announced yesterday:
Basically, USAP is trying to address the “sound of pickleball is annoying” complaint we get when courts are near residential areas. It states “USA Pickleball’s Quiet Category for equipment will promote products that deliver essentially 50 percent or less of the acoustic footprint…”
They’ve been quietly (no pun intended) working on this since the beginning of summer last year.
What I’d really like to see is a quieter ball that holds up significantly longer than balls we currently see. Balls are becoming far more durable, but we still see breakage. The trick is we don’t want performance of the ball to change. Maybe with new 3D printing technology, something will be coming. There is a new 3D printed basketball that is hollow and has a honeycomb surface (that you can see through the holes out the other side) but bounces and behaves extremely similarly to a traditional inflated basketball. There are some who hope that the NBA will adopt this ball that doesn’t need to be inflated.
Wednesday, September 27, 2023 (No Play)
Patty got back to me and put me on the list to help with the Newman workshop.
New County Beginner Classes
Yesterday, a woman named Elise Hudson posted in the Santa Cruz Pickleball Facebook group a notice for “Pickleball 101” classes next month at Brommer Park. Nolan will be teaching them.
There were immediately protests over the time, which is mid-morning. Morning—especially weekends—are peak times for play at all the courts.
Thursday, September 28, 2023 (No Play)
I went to my knee appointment this afternoon.
I was expecting to have an X-ray taken. Instead, I’ve been instructed by Heather (the PA) to take 600mg of ibuprofen three times a day for six days and see how it goes. I have a follow-up appointment set up for three weeks, but she said if we get to two weeks and it’s miserable to let her know and she’d squeeze me in. She said to ride the stationary bike at least 5 minutes each day but to stop after that if it hurts. If it doesn’t hurt, ride longer. She also gave me a informational page of knee care for me to review.
More on Beginner Classes
I messaged Elise Hudson who was posting on Facebook’s Santa Cruz Pickleball group and it turns out that she works for Rec, the company partnered with the County of Santa Cruz to have the new paid reservation system for the courts at Brommer and Willowbrook.
Saturday, September 30, 2023 (No Play)
The ibuprofen is unquestionably helping. I’m not as prone to limping. My knee felt good enough that I rode the Peloton for about 20 minutes last night. I bought a product called a “Freeze Sleeve” and tried it out last night for the first time.
You are supposed to put it in your freezer, but I tried it first by just keeping it in the fridge. (I’m a bit concerned about it being too cold.) I may try it the second time with keeping it in the freezer, though I put it back in my fridge. It comes with a white plastic “Ziplock-like” bag that you are supposed to keep it in.
Sunday, October 1, 2023 (No Play)
Well, that’s a first. An article from a few days ago…
Utah Tech University is now offering pickleball scholarships
Also in that article:
“Utah Tech competes in DUPR Collegiate Pickleball, the only collegiate-level pickleball league. Last season, the team finished second nationally and has already qualified to compete in the DUPR Collegiate National Championship in November.”
I believe this is going to continue. Pickleball will be a club sport in college across the country and eventually will become a D1 sport.
Thursday, October 5, 2023 (No Play)
Yesterday, “Monica Lbc Lee” posted this link to the Santa Cruz Pickleball Facebook group, obsensibly with regard to Nolan teaching beginner classes (for a fee) sponsored by the County of Santa Cruz:
She also mentioned an instructor who go sued in Connecticut. I tracked down an article about the incident two years ago:
I may have even shared that article here before. The photo of the instructor looked familiar in another article linked from the one above:
Heather, the PA, had prescribed 6 days of ibuprofen and that ended yesterday. Today, I’m not taking any. My knee is still a bit sore, but noticeably better than it was a week ago, for certain. And that was even with me riding the Peloton for 45 minutes last night.
The Santa Cruz Downtown Association is hosting its annual Holiday Parade again. The deadline for registering is a few days into November. The clock is ticking. I reached out the SCPC board and told them about it. Club president Mark Dettle got back to me and said they’d be discussing it soon, though a few other board members voiced their support of participating in the parade for a second year.
Tuesday, October 10, 2023 (No Play)
I have a PT appointment tonight.
It’s been a over a month since I played and I don’t know when I’ll be playing again, so I’m just going to go ahead and push this blog post out and start work on the next one.
Number of days on a court: 609
Number of total hours: 2,675
Number of paid coaching hours: 2
To start at the beginning of this blog click on “1st Post” in the menu above.