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Rotary Luncheons are Back

Posted on June 23, 2021 by under Community.    

It’s so great to have our in-person Rotary meetings again. The past year has been a real challenge. It was difficult to engage club members without meeting on a regular basis. I hope with regular programming, everyone will start coming back.

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Last week we had a great presentation from Jenny Shipman with the Alzheimer’s Association. She shared information about the diseases and helpful tips on how we can reduce our risk. While no one is immune from aging, there are several things we can do now like exercising, eating well, being social, and stimulating our minds by learning new things and doing brain puzzles.

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We have several great speakers visiting our club over the next couple of months. I’m hoping that we will start to see our members at the meetings again. Here’s to a great Rotary year.

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ICT Classic Pickleball Tournament

Posted on June 22, 2021 by under Events, Hobbies.    

The ICT Pickleball Tournament is our big pickeball tournament in Wichita every year. Last year the tournament got pushed to September because of the pandemic but it was as huge success so this year they decided to have it twice, calling the June tournament the ICT Classic and the September tournament the ICT Fall-out.

Here are some fun pictures from the tournament.

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Me with Tiffany and Karen

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MariAnn and Jody

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With Fong and Chef Jen

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Brandon and Tommy

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Michelle and Krista

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Erica and Traci

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Kimberly and Brooke

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Ramon and Karen

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Matt and Sammi

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The tournament was a two-day event with men’s and women’s doubles on Saturday, June 12, and mixed doubles on Sunday, June 13. I really only had a mixed partner lined up because Mason asked me to play with him but it was only $5 more to play a second event so I decided to play women’s doubles on Saturday also (knowing it would be crazy with Symphony in the Flint Hills that same night). I originally asked Karen to play 3.5 19+ women’s doubles with me but then she decided she would prefer to play 4.0 50+ with Tiffany so I was left without a partner. I knew that Amy wanted to play in women’s and since I didn’t have a partner, the two of us teamed up last minute.

Amy and I have played a handful of times together but I haven’t played with her quite as much as the other ladies so I figured we would do decent but didn’t expect us to do quite as well as we did. Brian and I had plans to drive an hour and half (almost 2 hours) to Symphony in the Flint Hills that same day and so, when he asked what time I would be home, I told him I would be back by noon — which is reasonable considering we started at 8:30 AM that morning and there were only 7 teams in our bracket. Well, 2:30 PM rolled around and I was still at Riverside Tennis Center.

Amy and I somehow found ourselves in the the championship match against Krista and Michelle. We defeated them earlier in the winner bracket final but they came back with a vengeance and decisively won the best 2 out of 3 games to 11 and also the game to 15, earning the gold medal. They were fierce competitors and truly earned their win!

I didn’t really have the greatest expectations that day. I was just grateful to have a partner and be able to participate. Making the podium was just icing on the cake.

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Me and my mixed partner Mason. You can tell the players that teamed up because their outfits coordinated for the most part.

I met Mason during the pickleball event of the 2019 Wichita Corporate Challenge. He was representing his employer and I was representing mine. We were competitors who were united in our common desire to beat the Koch Industries team. Little did we know that Genesis Health Clubs would bring in ringers to win the whole pickleball tournament. Fast forward to two years later when he asked me to play with him in ICT Classic. I’m not sure how many other female players he asked before he got to me but I was flattered to be invited to play.

I don’t get to play with Mason much because our schedules don’t typically align but I have always enjoyed playing with him because he gives me room to play on the court treats me like a true partner and not just a body to take up space. He allows me to play but is there to cover for me when I get myself in a bind. He is super solid and reliable and and encouraging. He did not yell at me one time for making errors, which I was grateful for.

I felt like we played pretty well together, considering we’ve only played together a few times. We didn’t stack and strategize too much but with stacking, practice, and more strategy, I think we would be a really strong contender in this division.

I was super proud of our 0-8 comeback in the first game against Deana and Michael (#TeamOklahoma). We managed to dig deep and win that game 14-12. We didn’t get as far as I hoped we would but our first loss was to the team that won bronze and our second loss was to to the team that won silver (#TeamKC — Williams/Gleason).

I was happy with how we played. It was just unfortunate that we ran into these two teams so soon in the bracket before we could build more momentum behind us. I look forward to battling against these teams again in future tournaments. We didn’t make the podium but I had a lot of fun competing with Mason.

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Pickleball peeps are so much fun!

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Here’s a link to the full results of the ICT Classic Pickleball Tournament. Last weekend was super hectic with two days of tournaments, Symphony in the Flint Hills, and the happy hour joint birthday celebration at the Belmont but so totally worth it. I live for crazy busy weekend. Until the next one. GNG.

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It’s a Joint Celebration

Posted on June 21, 2021 by under Events, Food and Drink.    

Brian’s birthday was on Sunday, June 13, and Karen’s was on Monday, June 14, so we decided to have a joint birthday celebration for them at the Belmont – our favorite place for happy hour. None of our regular friends could make it so it was just mostly pickleball friends plus mom and dad who, now that they’ve gotten hooked on pickleball, are part of the pickleball community now too.

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Here’s a pic of Karen with the birthday hat from her neighbor.

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Chandi stopped by briefly but could not stay. We made sure to snap a pictures of her as proof that she came, though.

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We had a great turnout for the celebration.

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Beth and Erica had already left by the time we got around to taking group photos. But we made the times flexible so people could come and go.

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Here are some pictures of the food.

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Mason had a ginormous chicken sandwich. I don’t know how he managed to fit it in his mouth. I guess you just have to smoosh it really good.

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Karen got the bruschetta trio. I wish I could remember which ones she picked.

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The Belmont also has a great veggie tray, which isn’t my thing, but Erica seemed to enjoy it. I’m sure it tasted as good as it looked. It looked amazing but I’m just more of a meat-eater.

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The smoked salmon is so good.

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Of course, we can never go without getting the cheese course. That’s kind of a staple for us when we are there.

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I didn’t get pictures of all the pretty drinks because I’ve gotten pictures of them previously but I got a picture of my Doctor No and Brian’s Rackhouse. There was only one drink left on the list that I hadn’t tried yet and when I ordered it that night, the server told us that they quit making it because no one liked it. I was so relieved! I didn’t want to drink it either. That’s why I had been saving it for last. I was so glad that now I didn’t have to.

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Here’s a picture of the Rackhouse drink. It’s Brian’s favorite at the Belmont.

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And, what’s celebration without cake? We got a chocolate sheet cake from our go-to cake place, Costco, to share with everyone. We had so much cake left that we brought what was left to Chicken N Pickle and had them store it in their cooler so Karen could enjoy it the next day with others on her actual birthday.

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Celebrations are fun but it’s even more fun to celebrate with these guys. GNG.

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Chicken N Pickle League Recap

Posted on June 18, 2021 by under Hobbies.    

This has probably been the most uneventful league session I’ve ever had. Not enough people want to play singles so they stopped the singles league at Chicken N Pickle. I only had one league this session, Mixed Advanced (which is a step down from the Mixed Competitive league that I normally play in). Chris Wilson and I were playing together to practice for the Middle States Regional Championships tournament in St. Louis and he couldn’t play in the later league because he gets up super early everyday. However, it was clearly the wrong skill level for us because we never went to a third set and we gave up very few points.

Anyway, we really should have won that league but Chris was out on tournament night (vacationing in Minnesota) so I had to get a sub. The downside of getting a sub is you’re not allowed to get anyone better than your partner and, even when you try to get someone equivalent to your partner skill-wise, they’re never going to be as good because you haven’t been playing with them all session as you have your normal partner. I usually try not to drink while I’m playing in a tournament but I was drinking that night so you can tell how seriously I was taking things. LOL.

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Obviously, I hoped that we would win but I didn’t really care one way or the other. I just wanted to have fun playing and Bryant was the perfect sub. He can be hard on himself sometimes but he is so fun to play with.

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The one thing I learned that night is that doubles is truly a team effort and that I am not as good without Chris. Just as my some of my shots set up my mixed partner for put-aways, Chris’ shots put me in a better position to make my shots. I feel like, having played together for some time now, he knows what why weaknesses are and he does what he can to protect me from making these shots.

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This past Tuesday night was the Mixed Competitive league tournament. Jen T hurt her knee so Steve asked me to fill in. I took advantage of the opportunity to wear my “Vetter Luck Next Time” headband from last year. LOL.

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We ended up finishing in third place. The Conrads (Matt and his daughter Lauren) ended up second, and the Lesperances (Tiffany and Donnie) took first place. I think Steve is hands down the best male player in that league but he was a victim of the whole sub situation. It’s so hard to play with a sub on tournament night and I feel like we have absolutely zero chemistry on the pickleball court.

I have never been one to stick to one doubles partner but I’m starting to rethink my whole stance on this. There is a huge advantage to playing with the same partner on a regular basis because they know your strengths and weakness and you have plays and strategies that you can use in various situations and it is so hard to do this on the fly. And, I’m not very good at adjusting and being spontaneous. I can’t just do things without practicing it repeatedly first.

Anyway, I might take a break from league play this coming session. None of the other leagues fit my schedule and the Mixed Advanced league was not as fun for me. Mixed Competitive would work but Chris can’t do an 8:00 PM start. It’s just way too late. But it’s all good because I prefer playing in the mornings anyway so it’s not ideal to be up late when I’m trying to pay at 5 AM the next day.

That is all for now. Until next time. GNG.

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Symphony in the Flint Hills 2021

Posted on June 16, 2021 by under Date Ideas, Events, Things to Do.    

After two years Symphony in the Flint Hills is finally back. Brian and I went to volunteer last week and attended the event on Saturday. Here are some pictures from our volunteer day with the Evergy Green Team.

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Kishan, Alex, and Krystee volunteered the same day so we had a little reunion.

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I originally volunteered to help on Friday but they had too many people helping that day already so we switched our volunteer day to Wednesday.

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Thousands of people came out for the sunset symphony concert.

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We had a nice evening hanging out with Kishan and Alex.

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The weather was absolutely perfect. It was such a nice night for the symphony. I hope we get to go again next year.

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