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Archive for "Events"

League Finals

Posted on September 21, 2020 by under Events, Hobbies.    

I’ve been totally slacking on the blog because I’ve been consumed with pickleball. We had our league finals this week at Chicken N Pickle. While I didn’t make my goal of winning all three of my leagues this session, I actually didn’t do too shabby.

So I wrote about how Jimmy H and I won our Nahola league a few weeks ago. I wanted to also win my Wednesday night competitive women’s doubles and Thursday night competitive mixed doubles leagues at Chicken N Pickle. Unlike the Nahola league, you have a permanent partner for the CNP leagues so I actually got team shirts made for us. I found this lady who does amazing customizations through a mutual friend. Her business is called Simply Charming Designs and her work is awesome!

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I got matching “Asian Invasion” shirts for me and my mixed partner Tom. I picked this team name since we are both Asian. We’re actually going to continue playing together this next session. Since it’s a Halloween league, we had to modify our team name a bit. Our official team name for this session is “Asian Invasion of the Pickle Snatchers” — so we can get more mileage out of our existing team shirts.

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I don’t really like playing in t-shirts so I always turn my shirts into tank tops or muscle shirts. Here’s a pic of me and my partner Tom.

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Our team name for women’s doubles is “Backhanded Compliments” so I got matching shirts for Renae and me from the same lady. Both shirts turned out fabulous! Anyway, before our maroon team shirts, we were wearing our tie dye CNP shirts that I’d gotten for us at the beginning of league.

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I just love matching outfits! This is a group photo of us after the competitive women’s doubles league tournament championship match. Karen and Jenny (in the pink tanks) won our league. Renae and I came in second.

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Even though we didn’t win, I still had a ton of fun.

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Karen and Jenny lost their first match so they came out of the opportunity bracket (it was a double elimination tournament format). Since Renae and I were undefeated in the winner’s bracket, even though we lost the best 2 out of 3 championship match, we had to play again. Karen and Jenny had to beat us in a game to 15 to win it all.

The championship match was a bloodbath. Karen and Jenny played amazing and we couldn’t do anything. Here’s a video of that brutal championship match, in case you want to watch it.

The competitive men had their league finals that same night. Patrick Smith and Jamie Lynch won (again). This is their fifth consecutive time winning. The only thing that ever changes is who comes in second. Matt Conrad (aka Dr. Conrad) and Dave Belew took second this time.

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There were more men’s teams so their bracket is bigger and messier.

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The following night, Tom and I played in the competitive mixed league tournament final and won it. Huyen Nguyen and Michael Harris came in second, defeating lots of higher seeded teams including Undercover Secret Weapon (Jimmy and Fong) and Dropping L’s (Donnie and Tiffany).

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Here’s a picture of our bracket on Thursday night.

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We actually ended up playing only three matches total that night because we had a bye for being the top seeded team out of the seven teams. There were originally eight teams but Michael Cheung and Jen Reifschneider had to move to Tuesday evenings because of her work schedule.

Our first match was against C&K (Chris Wilson and Kim Knotts) after they won against Barbie & Ken (Amy Jaramillo with Robert Bell subbing for Amy’s husband Todd). After that, we played against Dropping L’s (Donnie and Tiffany) who won against Undercover Secret Weapon (Jimmy and Fong).

Then we had to wait for all of the opportunity bracket matches (one game to 15) to finish to play the championship match. It ended up being Dink, Dink, Goose (Michael Harris and Huyen Nguyen) with us in the finals. They did the hard work of eliminating our toughest competitors so they actually saved us a lot of effort.

In the end, I fell short of my goal of winning all three of my Fall leagues but first in two leagues and second in one is nothing to shake a stick at — I’m actually quite happy with how I did this time around.

The next session is only five weeks long and I’m playing in both mixed and women’s again. Tom and I are going to try to defend our league title in competitive mixed and then I’m playing with my friend Brooke Ayala this time for women’s because my previous partner Renae DeSantis can’t play.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to another fun, succession league session. I hope I have great results to share next month. Until next then. GNG.

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Passing of the Gavel at Rio

Posted on September 1, 2020 by under Events, Hobbies.    

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We said thank you and farewell (for now) to our Rotary Club’s outgoing president Josh Vargo on Thursday. The gavel was officially passed to Norm Duncan, who has been our acting president for a few months now since Josh resigned because his work responsibilities had changed. Anyway, the year runs July through June so, even though Norm has been performing the role of president, his term didn’t officially start until July. Of course it’s already September. There were several factors that prevented us from getting together and making the transition official, the COVID-19 pandemic not being the least of them. Anyway, I’m hoping that Josh will rejoin the club soon because he is a great guy and it has been wonderful working with him on our various community events and getting to know him.

Speaking of, I have pickleball league at Chicken N Pickle every Thursday at 6:30 PM but I wanted to attend the social to make sure that I got picture of the passing of the gavel for our club’s Facebook page. It’s kind of my responsibility being PR Chair. I really didn’t want to eat anything because I was worried about not being able to move and playing terribly but I was starving. So my plan to simply stick to just eating chips and salsa went out the window. I ordered my favorite thing to get, which is the Burrito California, and quickly scarfed it up (to put as much distance from the eating and playing as possible). And it was so delicious that I lost all self control and ate all of it, instead of just eating half. That burrito is so good!

Thankfully, we didn’t have to play teams that were as intense as last week. The previous week we had to play the two other undefeated teams in our league – Undercover Secret Weapon (Jimmy Cho and Fong Witte) and Dropping L’s (Donnie and Tiffany Lesperance). They are probably our toughest competitors on Thursday nights. Both of our matches lasted over an hour because we went three games both times. And all of the games were really close. Overall we had to play about two and half hours, which is the longest I’ve ever had to play in league. Tom and I were victorious and so we are the only undefeated team left in that league.

I knew it was going to be a tough night so I mentally prepared myself by making some wagers (because I often play better when properly motivated). Tiffany and Donnie had been wanting my Engage Encore MX 6.0 paddle forever. I think they called dibs on it before it was even delivered. Tiffany already had the purple one but she also wanted the green one, which is the one I got. So Donnie immediately asked me to sell it to them whenever I’m ready to move on to a new paddle. I go through paddles like most people go through underwear so I think he knew that it wouldn’t be long before I would be ready to part with it.

Since I knew that they wanted my paddle, I made it the wager when I found out we would be playing against one another. I told Tiffany and Donnie that if they won our match then they would get my paddle but, if Tom and I won, then they would pay me $75 for it. Brian thought it was a stupid wager because he felt that I would get nothing out of it since Tiffany and Donnie wanted to buy my paddle anyway. I could just sell them my paddle and not risk it on a silly bet. I told Brian that I didn’t intend to lose and just laughed it off.

Anyway, to properly motivate myself, I told myself that if Tom and I won both matches that night I could buy this new outfit that I’d been eyeing. To motivate Tom, I told him I would buy him dinner and drinks if we won both of our matches that night. At the time I didn’t realize that he doesn’t drink. LOL. So that wasn’t very motivating. We won both matches so I ordered my outfit that evening. I received it pretty quickly and actually wore it to league this past Thursday. Tom is yet to collect on his reward.

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Here’s the outfit. It’s super cute. I ordered both the top and the skort in medium because the website said that this style ran “very small” and I was worried about not having sized up enough but both pieces fit me perfectly. I absolutely love this outfit! Specially since I earned it.

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This is the paddle that I sold on that wager. Tiffany cleaned up and customized it with her fancy edge guard and overgrip. She removed my name and phone number that I wrote on one side but she kept my name on the other side because she said that my autograph might be worth something one day. She’s joking, of course, but I got a kick out of it.

All of the teams in our league are pretty strong so, while we weren’t playing the toughest teams again, I still didn’t want to be moving around slow because my belly is full of that giant burrito I just ate. I did tell myself (and also Tom) that if we lost our matches that night it would be because I didn’t have enough self-discipline not to eat before league. If there’s anything that I cannot resist, it’s delicious food. I do love to eat! And that night, I happened to show up to the social starving.

Thankfully, we didn’t play too bad. We won against Chudley Cannons (Kyle Long and Rachel McMahon) and C&K (Chris Wilson and Kim Knotts) in two straight sets. I was relieved that we didn’t have to play longer than 30 minutes each time. There was no way I was surviving an hour-long match that night with my belly full of food. Let alone two of them.

We are about halfway through this session and so far we are doing well. I’ll keep you posted on how the rest of the league session (and our league tournment) goes. Wish us luck! GNG.

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Nick and Shanda’s Wedding

Posted on August 23, 2020 by under Events.    

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Brian and I had the opportunity to attend Nick and Shanda’s wedding last weekend. It was a beautiful wedding and super sweet. They wrote their own vows! Also, my friend/coworker Alicia was the officiant. The funny thing is she is ordained from the same church as Brian, the Universal Life Church. The only difference is, Brian has never done anything with his certificate despite numerous friends asking him to officiate their weddings.

Nick and Shanda both work for the same company as me so their wedding brought lots of our coworkers together who I hadn’t seen since March when the majority of the organization went remote. I also got to see Jodi, our old wellness coordinator, who I hadn’t seen in forever.

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Here’s a photo of us with Alex and Kishan (above) and with Faith (below).

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Nick and Shanda actually had to postpone their wedding because of the whole COVID situation. I’m so glad they were finally able to have it. I am also grateful that were able to attend the celebration of their love and witness their union. I just love weddings! Until next time. GNG.

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Jonny Show at Chicken N Pickle

Posted on July 25, 2020 by under Events, Hobbies.    

The Jonny Pickleball Show was at Chicken N Pickle this weekend. Jonny Andrews and Lauren Stratman actually arrived early. I had the opportunity to meet them on Thursday night when I was at CNP watching the men’s competitive league final.

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Jonny and Lauren were both super nice. They even played a couple of games with me and my friend Karen.

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The next day we got to watch them both play with our best local pickleball players and also Dylan Frazier from Columbia, Missouri. From left in the picture below: Tony Swantek, Dylan Frazier, Jocelyn Devilliers, Lauren Stratford, Lucy Kovalova, Matt Wright, Jonny Andrews, and Patrick Smith.

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Here are some pictures that I took during the pre-show/interviews.

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Karen and I got a pic with Jonny and my “We Love Jonny Pickleball” sign at the end of the evening.

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We also got to play a couple of games with Lauren and Dylan after. It was really nice of them to play with us. I love when all of these professional pickleball players from out of town visit. It has been a great couple of days. Until next time. GNG.

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Independence Day Cookout

Posted on July 11, 2020 by under Events.    

We’ve had a couple of impromptu cookouts at Seneca Park in the last month but nothing in magnitude compared to the one that Matt threw on 4th of July weekend. The first time we joined Jimmy and the guys for a cookout, I think we just kind of invited ourselves. Well, Jimmy told Karen about it and, since I was playing mixed doubles with Karen that morning, she invited it me.

It was the weekend of Chris Wilson’s birthday and, since we were playing together, I brought him his favorite donuts (apple fritter donuts) from Krispy Kreme. Anyway, I brought extras because I figured we’d be sharing with the guys. Seneca Park was super busy that morning so we couldn’t even play there. Karen, Chris, Rick, and I had to relocate our mixed doubles to Aley Park down the street. There are no nets there so it gave me a reason to break in my portable pickleball net.

After we finished playing, we went to Seneca Park to meet up with Jimmy and the guys. They hadn’t started cooking yet but had me concerned because instead of a grill, they had a wok and a burner. I ended up interrupting Brian’s gaming that day because I asked him to bring the portable grill out. When we had another cookout again the following weekend, Jimmy knew to give me a heads up about borrowing the portable grill. LOL.

Anyway, those cookouts were basically just warm ups for the one that Matt organized last Friday. I was worried because Friday also happened to be the first day of the new mandatory mask mandate. It turned out pretty well, though. My college friend Brandi Richardson even came out. Here are some pics…

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Jimmy came to join us after he finished his pickleball lesson at Riverside Tennis Center. We had a wonderful turnout. All six courts were used and part of the group rotation. There were lots of familiar faces but also new ones.

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We had so many people waiting that we didn’t have enough room on the paddle holders. The paddles actually overflowed and we just propped them on the chain link fence. I think this may be the biggest group we’ve had to date.

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Here are a few pictures of the players in action.

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As you know, my friend Karen and I like to twin, so she got us matching tutus. We looked super festive!

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I’m so glad Mother Nature cooperated. It turned out to be a beautiful day, perfect for a fun cookout and pickleball. Matt always does such a great job of organizing these things. Until next time. GNG.

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