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Pickleball Lessons

Posted on March 17, 2020 by under Hobbies.    

As you know (or maybe you don’t), I started taking pickleball lessons from Chris Heck earlier this year. We’ve been meeting weekly since about mid-January and he’s been teaching me things I don’t know how to do or don’t do very well like defending, speed-ups, overheads, and most recently I learned how to set up and execute an erne. The lessons are really fun and I enjoy them almost more than actually playing. I look forward to it every week.

Our schedule has actually worked pretty well except for a few weeks ago when he went to Missouri for a tournament. While we didn’t get to train together that weekend, it was fun following his tournament progress online.

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He played mixed with Lindsey Newman (right) at the tournament. In case you don’t already know of her, she is amazing and a big name in the professional pickleball circuit. She played in the Franklin Pickleball Masters invitational tournament at Chicken N Pickle last year. The tournament is so exclusive that you could only participate if you were invited. And, to be invited, you had to be really good. Anyway, she’s a big deal. And, as big of a deal as Chris is (because he’s also amazing in his own right), she is an even bigger deal so it was really awesome that he got to play with her as his partner.

Here’s a video of their gold medal match from that tournament. He and Lindsey won gold against Quinton Birkeness and Rachel Chai-Wise.

In addition to playing in mixed, he also played in men’s doubles with our friend Jon Maugans. Chris and Jon lost to Brad Tursky and Quinton Birkeness and ended taking silver in this event.

Anyway, it is such a privilege to take lessons from a pickleball player of Chris’ calibre. He is amazing not just as a pickleball player but also at teaching skills, techniques, and strategies. Our training sessions have helped me improve tremendously. At least I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about my playing of late. I think it’s because of skills I’m learning in our training.

Besides training with Chris, I’ve also started training with others in our pickleball community. We are very lucky to have so many talented pros in Wichita who offer instruction. Kimberly and I have had a couple of partner sessions with Kayla Keuter (Nahola Pickleball Club) and Debbie and I have had some group sessions with Lucy Kovalova (Wichita Country Club).

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Here are a couple of pics with Lucy from our group session this Sunday.

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This past weekend, I actually had training with Chris on Saturday afternoon, Kayla on Sunday morning, and then Lucy on Sunday afternoon. As addicted as I am to pickleball, I think I’m now also addicted to pickleball training. I especially love my one on one time with Chris. It’s like therapy. Plus, everyone I’ve trained with has been so motivating. All three are great at providing constructive feedback that makes you come away feeling encouraged. You can’t help but feel totally positive and energized after.

Speaking of training, I was really bummed when Ansboury Academy was canceled. I was looking forward to traveling to Hilton Head Island next week and training with Sarah Ansboury. However, I understand that, given the current situation with the Corona Virus pandemic, everyone needs to buckle down and do their part. That means limiting all unnecessary social contact. Everyone needs to be in isolation so as not to spread the virus. At first it was just no gatherings of 250 people or more, then over 50, and now it’s down to 10. It’s gotten so serious that work has even mandated that everyone who can work remotely should work from home for at least the next two weeks. And poof, no more South Carolina trip just like that.

I’ve canceled our hotel and Brian is working on canceling our flights. I have also reached out to Sarah Ansboury to begin the refund process. Once we have contacted everyone, it’s just a matter of waiting for all the refunds to come through but I’m less bummed about that than not having the opportunity to train with Sarah. Hopefully, an Ansboury Academy will be offered again later this year that fits my schedule and I’ll be able to attend at that point.

In the meantime, I’m stuck in Wichita which won’t really be too bad as long as I can still continue my training sessions with Chris and others locally. However, almost all the gyms have shut down so there may not be anywhere to train. If we really shut everything down and we are all stuck at home for several weeks, at least we have YouTube. Until next time. GNG.

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My Tho with Teresa

Posted on March 14, 2020 by under Reviews.    

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I met my friend Teresa at My Tho a couple of weeks ago. I have to say, even though it’s been over ten years since I’d last eaten there, not much has changed. They still don’t take cards. So take note, if you are eating at My Tho, remember to bring cash for payment.

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I got a picture of the menu and the restaurant interior but forgot to take pics of our food. #FAIL We ordered the exact same thing (pho with pork) though, so the pics would not have been that exciting.

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It was fun catching up with Teresa. I do not get to see her enough and we should catch up more often. Speaking of catching up, our friend Jason was supposed to join us but something came up at the last minute and he couldn’t make it.

I wouldn’t mind going back to My Tho. Their food is quite good. Perhaps next time we’ll have a full group with us.

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Rotary Social at Dave & Buster’s

Posted on March 7, 2020 by under Events.    

Finally got around to checking out the Dave & Buster’s thanks to my Rotary club. The Andover Rotary Club decided to hold our final Thursday club social there last month. I have been wanting to check it out but, because of my crazy, jam-packed schedule, we have never had the time to do it. I’m not sure we would ever have another opportunity so, even though I teach Aqua Zumba on Thursday evenings, I told them I would just join them after class.

Brian was a trooper. He went about an hour ahead of me and ordered my food so it would be ready by the time I got there. I felt really bad because, when I finally arrived, everyone had moved on to playing games and Brian was sitting alone at the table. I quickly scarfed up my food — I was starving as I usually always am, specially after teaching a class — so we could also move on to playing games.

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Norm got this pic of us while we were playing. In classing Brian fashion, his RBF makes him look grumpy even when he’s having fun. Trust me. He was having fun. He loves arcade games.

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I, on the other hand, absolutely suck at them. However, I have fun doing everything — even the things I suck at. Also, I usually always look like I’m having fun even when I’m really not. Heck, I made my thyroidectomy look like a party. LOL. That’s just the way I am.

Anyway, that night reminded me of the time we spent the weekend in Kansas City thirteen years ago. It wasn’t our first time there because I found some older Dave & Buster’s pics on Flickr but it was one of the times I blogged about it. During the 2007-2011 span, we went a few times before we finally grew tired of it. It was kind of a fun thing to do within driving distance.

I think part of the reason it started to lose its appeal for us is that the Wichita landscape began to change about ten years ago. We started to get more fun things to do in Wichita so you really didn’t have to drive to Kansas City as much anymore. Also, there were other fun things to do like Top Golf. And we were started taking bigger trips so we didn’t do as many weekend road trips anymore.

Speaking of the Wichita landscape changing, besides finally getting a Dave & Buster’s here, we also have a Chicken N Pickle, which I think is even cooler. I spend a lot of time there because I’m completely addicted to pickleball. The next big thing Wichita is about to get is Top Golf. That is another fun place/activity that Brian and I have driven out of town to do. We even did an up and back for our wedding anniversary one year. I’m so excited that the one in Wichita will be less than ten minutes away from our house! Of course, the tricky part will be finding time to check it out when it finally does open.

Speaking of finding time — yes, I am blogging this at 4 AM. I just don’t have as much time to devote to blogging anymore but I know how important it is to keep grandma updated. Until next time. GNG.

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First Group Lesson with Lucy

Posted on March 5, 2020 by under Hobbies.    

I had the most amazing Sunday. I had my normal one-on-one lesson with Chris Heck in the morning and then had a group lesson with Lucy Kovalova in the afternoon following my Aqua Zumba and Zumba classes. It was the best day ever!

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The best part is spending time with these amazing pickleball peeps.

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It was my first experience taking a group lesson with Lucy. It was a lesson for me, Debbie, and Jen (who had to leave early thus, she isn’t in the photos). Lucy invited Caesar to assist with the lesson so that’s why he’s with us.

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We had such a wonderful time learning from Lucy that we’re doing it all again this weekend. I’m so excited. It’s such a privilege to be able to learn from the top female pickleball player. We’re so lucky she lives in Wichita.

Above is an old video from 2018 when Lucy and Matt were playing for Engage Pickleball. They are now both sponsored by Onix.

This video is from the Franklin Pickleball Masters at Chicken N Pickle last year.

Anyway, group lessons with Lucy are a welcome addition to my normal weekly training sessions with Chris Heck who is my absolute favorite person to learn from. He is absolutely magnificent. I’ll have to remember to get a pic with him this Sunday so I can share it here.

Until then, have a fabulous weekend and enjoy this beautiful weather!

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Another Weekend, Another Pickleball Tournament

Posted on March 4, 2020 by under Events, Hobbies.    

Kimberly and I had the opportunity to play in one of the the “Light Up Edgemoor” Tournaments in February. They’re happening almost every weekend these days. We didn’t do so hot but we had the most awesome “Jail Sucks” shirts that her friend who owns Big Fish Bail Bonds provided for us to wear.

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Here’s a picture of all the amazing women who played in the tournament (minus one team, not sure where they were at the time of our group pic).

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Do you like all the matching outfits? I love it!

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Here’s me and my friend Kimberly showing off the front and back of our awesome “Jail Sucks” shirts from Big Fish Bail Bonds.

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With my friends Patti and Karen.

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With Krystal, Huyen, and Tommy.

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Krystal and Huyen played amazing and won the tournament.

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Winning is definitely more fun but I was grateful to be able to play with this group and grateful to my partner for inviting me to play with her. And, I was happy to support a worthy cause. I can’t wait until we can get some lights over the Edgemoor Park pickleball courts. Anyway, we will get them next time!

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