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Archive for "Hobbies"

New Pickleball Stuff

Posted on August 4, 2020 by under Hobbies, Outfits.    

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My friend Karen designed the cutest pickleball pendant. It’s sterling silver with five little Cubic Zirconias that are supposed to be like the pickleball holes. The pendant is supposed to be a little pickleball ball. The chain is also sterling silver and identical to one that she has. So now we can match, down to our jewelry.

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Speaking of twinning… Here’s one of our newest matching tanks. We actually copied it off Lori and Tiffany who got theirs first. It’s a Selkirk Sport ladies’ tank top. Lori was the first one to get it. Tiffany liked it so she got one for herself. Karen and I both liked it so had Dave (Lori’s husband) get us ours. Now all four of us can match next time we are together!

Saturday morning was super fun. Not only did I get to sport my new gear but we also had some awesome pickleball. We have “King and Queen of Court” format at Chicken N Pickle on Saturdays. The guys have six courts that they play on and you move up to the top court as win (or you move down to the lower courts as you lose). The Saturday morning play at Chicken N Pickle is where its at for the guys. They usually have about 24 guys who play regularly so they really need their six courts. As for the ladies, there are other games that happen. One of the big ones is the play that Debbie organizes at Riverside Tennis Center. So we are lucky to get eight girls to play. We use two courts and our “Queen of Court” format is basically just a winner and loser court. The winners play winners and the losers play losers with the pairs splitting so you’re not playing with the same partner each time. It would be more fun with at least three courts but it’s still plenty fun.

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Saturday was extra fun because Cody celebrated his second 21st birthday on Friday so I brought birthday donuts for everyone on Saturday morning. The guys got two boxes because there’s so many of them. I got a separate box for the ladies.

Cody is a friend I met through pickleball who I didn’t know went to Derby High School also until recently. It’s crazy that we’d never met before considering he is only a year behind me (and we are technically the same age for a few weeks). He is really nice and amazing at pickleball. He actually started playing after me but improved so quickly. He’s actually playing with 4.5 and 5.0 players now. I have no doubt he is going to be a super famous pickleball player one day. He’s already well known in our circles. Anyway, I’m posting this here as proof that I knew him when he was first starting out. LOL.

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Here’s a picture of Cody with a table full of “training food” at Chicken N Pickle. He and his son Caden started working there recently. He has a regular job so this is more of a side hustle for him. After seeing all the food you get to eat, I kind of want to start working there too! Everyone knows I spend a lot of time there already anyways. LOL. Until next time. GNG.

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Weekend Recap

Posted on July 28, 2020 by under Community, Hobbies.    

Besides the Jonny Pickleball Show at Chicken N Pickle on Friday, there was lots of pickleball that happened over the weekend. We had our Saturday morning Queen of Court play from 7:30 AM to 10:00 AM and then we had another weekend of “pool pickleball” at Brooke’s house.

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I debuted a new outfit from Sofibella’s “Love at First Serve” line. I mostly got it because I saw that my friend Regina got it and I always try to get the same stuff so we can twin in the off chance that we happen to be at the same place at the same time… One of these days.

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Our Fil-Am Pickleball Association (FAPA) shirts finally arrived (after months of waiting – stinking COVID) and so I got those delivered to mom and dad (on Saturday morning) and my friend Tom (on Sunday afternoon).

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I delivered the shirt this weekend to everyone this weekend.

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I normally play mixed at Edgemoor Park on Sundays but I decided to skip it weekend because my friend Steve wanted to play. I hadn’t played with him in forever so I chose him over early morning mixed play. We decided that we would go check out the noon open play at Nahola and just see who would be there. Nahola made sense because after almost a month of no lessons with Chris because he’s been super busy, I was supposed to have a lesson (finally) with him on Sunday at ten o’clock. Anyway, Steve asked Chris if he could stay and play with us after my lesson so we could start at eleven. Karen agreed to come to Nahola at eleven also, so that we would have exactly four players. But then Chris had the brilliant idea to just play for a couple of hours if I was okay with skipping my lesson again. I love my lesson time with Chris but it’s not everyday that you get to play with him so it was a no-brainer. So then the four of us agreed to meet at Nahola at 10 AM for two hours of play before the noon open play on Sunday.

It was a great plan until Chris was invited to play with the out of town pros on Sunday morning at Chicken N Pickle so then Chris was like, “Could we play at Chicken N Pickle from 11 AM to 1 PM instead?” I had no problem relocating our game to CNP. It was actually more convenient because it’s closer to my house. Steve lives on the East side too and then Karen was coming from Edgemoor so it was actually better all the way around. Anyway, it was super nice of Chris to accommodate our group instead of canceling since he was already playing for a couple of hours this morning. If people wonder why he is my absolute favorite (above the handsome Patrick Smith), this is why. He is just super nice.

It is such a treat to play with Chris. He is so fun and at the same time so amazing. I’m always left in awe. The only downside about playing with him is that I often find myself just spectating and admiring his awesome shots so, instead of playing well, I end up playing terrible.

I went to Seneca Park later that day to deliver Tom’s FAPA shirt. I wasn’t going to stay originally because I don’t really go to open play at the park these days but I think I wanted to make myself feel better. I mean, I’m pretty decent at pickleball. It’s just that I’ve been playing with some really great players lately so I suck by comparison. I’m pretty good against regular players. And I’m not just saying that because I’m biased. I have actually gotten a lot better.

Anyway, besides Tom, Paul, Becci, Bruce, Roger, Greg, and Bob (McAuley) were there so, even though there were several newbies, we still had some decent games. I had quit going to the park because of the disparate beginner to intermediate player ratio. But Paul, who I haven’t played with in what seems like forever because of his knee surgery, was there so it made it totally worth it. I had fun playing. So much fun that I completely forgot all about my folding chair when I left. I went back to the park last night to see if it was still there. No such luck.

However, I did meet some new pickleball players. Bob happened to be there so I got a game in before my Zumba class. The best part is I hit an ATP (around the post shot) for game point thanks to an assist from Bob. It was really cool. I’ve hit a few ATPs now and that was the most comfortable and natural one I’ve ever hit. I think it helps when I’m playing with newer players because the pace of the game is so much slower. I am so used to playing with people better than me now that when I play with newer players the ball seems to go in slow motion.

Bob has been playing a long time (longer than me even) so his shots aren’t slow. They’re actually pretty good but Jason, the player directly across from me at the time is a beginner, so I think that’s why I wasn’t super stressed about hitting that ATP. It was like, Bam! No biggie. LOL. The fact that it was the game winning point was icing on the cake. What a way to finish!

Anyway, that’s pretty much your weekend (plus Monday) recap. 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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Another Great Pickleball Weekend

Posted on July 20, 2020 by under Hobbies.    

People sometimes will ask me, “What are you up to this weekend?” The answer is always predictably pickleball, pickleball, and more pickleball. The last few weeks I’ve spent my Friday evenings at Nahola (with our Friday night pickleball crew), Saturday mornings at Chicken N Pickle (doubles with the ladies), and then Sunday mornings at Edgemoor Park (Jimmy’s mixed group).

This weekend pretty much followed that normal schedule but it was a really great weekend in several ways. On Friday night, I got to “own” a court for the first time ever. On Fridays nights we have five women and five men who play together. Debbie keeps the group pretty even in terms of skill level so all the games are always fun and competitive. We have two courts between ten people so we always have two people on standby. The format is winners stay and split so the wait is never long. This past Friday, I played one game on court 2 and then, when I got to court 1, I just kept winning so I stayed on that court pretty much the entire time. Eric and I even won against Chris and Tiffany, which never happens!

A bunch of them went out after, which I skipped because I have a 7:30 AM to 10:00 AM play time at Chicken N Pickle on Saturday mornings. We had so much fun playing. And, Karen and I were matchy-matchy per usual.

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After pickleball Karen, Brooke, and I went to grab breakfast at IHOP. Brian joined us. It had to be a quick one because I had an 11:15 AM facial and waxing at Beau Monde that morning. On the way home, I stopped by Chicken N Pickle to check out the Dink and Drink tournament. I caught a few games and then just watched the rest of the tournament at home. Matt (Mayfield) did a livestream of the best 2 out of 3 final match between Flying Monkeys (the Rick and Jacob Thomspson father-son team) and Sober Living (buddies Jeff and Bobbie who play as #Town in the Thursday night men’s league). Flying Monkeys prevailed.

Brian and I spent the rest of Saturday watching Bad Boys 1-3. He wanted to see Bad Boys 3 (Bad Boys for Life) but I didn’t recall every watching the first two so we had to watch those two films first before diving into the third one. We only had to pay for the latest one because the first two movies are available to stream on Netflix.

Anyway, I couldn’t stay up late on Saturday night either because I had an even earlier play time on Sunday. On Sundays we start at 6:00 AM to ensure that we get all six courts at Edgemoor Park. Yesterday one of the courts was already taken when we got there so we only had five courts for the first hour or so. Since we had 12 teams, some people had to sit out quite a bit. It was weird and not as until after seven-ish when the other people finally left and we had use of all six courts.

Another thing that was weird about Sunday was that, instead of having 12 men and 12 women, we somehow ended up having too many guys. It’s not necessarily bad because we were mixing partners anyway, instead of staying with the same partner the entire day but even that turned out really weird. On the plus slide, it gave people a chance to play with various partners but if brought a great partner then you didn’t really necessarily want to play with someone else.

The mixed partner I invited, Jamie, is really good so even though we started at the bottom court, he kept winning and went straight to the top court. As for me, we had to split up after the first game. He ended up beating me in the second game so I went back down to the bottom court and had to fight my way to the top. It took several games for me to get to the second to the top court. It was rough. Unless you are really good and can carry your partner, you have to have the right partner to win games and move up. I think, had we been able to keep our own partners, I could have gone with him to the top court right away.

On the plus side, I did get a chance to play with two of the strongest guy players on Sunday morning so that was a lot of fun. I got to play with Han, who is the nicest guy ever. He always makes me feel better when I miss my shots. And I also got to play with Tom, my favorite lefty of all time.

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Here’s a couple of pictures of me with Tom and Karen. Predictably, Karen and I were in matching outfits.

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But the fun didn’t stop there. Karen, Kim, Brooke, and I continued the fun at Brooke’s house after where we hung out in her pool and played even more pickleball. Here are a few pictures from that afternoon.

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I have no idea why Brooke put the pickleball paddles on our backs. LOL. Anyway, we had a great time. Monty smoked some ribs and they were fall-off-the-bone amazing. Thank you so much to Brooke and Monty for having us over. #GoodTimes. Until next time. GNG.

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Sunday Mixed at the Park

Posted on July 17, 2020 by under Community, Hobbies, Things to Do.    

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Seneca Park is hands down my most favorite public park. I’m not really much of a park goer. Except, twenty years ago visiting Sedgwick County Parks to have a nice picnic and feed the ducks was one of our favorite cheap date activities. I can honestly say, I haven’t been to Sedgwick County Park in forever. For one, we have ducks out back that I can feed any time I get the hankering for it. Secondly, it’s clear out West.

Seneca Park is probably the only park (besides Edgemoor Park) that I visit regularly (and mostly only because of pickleball). I like playing at both public parks (primarily because it doesn’t cost a dime to play) but Seneca Park is my ultimate favorite because of the shade provided by the trees and street access. You can basically park right next to the pickleball courts. Also, it’s easy to do a quick drive-by, see who is playing, and decided whether or not you want to stay and play.

At Edgemoor Park, there’s a little skate park between the pickleball courts and the parking lot. There are also windscreens that prevent you from seeing who is playing. You can’t tell who’s playing just by driving by. You actually have to get out of your car and walk over to the courts. LOL.

Of course, it’s a lot easier to figure out who’s playing when people post their play times on Playtime Scheduler, but people don’t always do that. Sometimes people just want to play privately with their own crew. When you post on Playtime Scheduler (or on the Wichita Pickleball Facebook group, for that matter), it’s an open invitation for everyone to come and play.

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I don’t really do open plays as much anymore because I’m always already playing with specific people. My favorite thing right now is Jimmy’s mixed doubles events on Sunday. Our start time is so early but totally worth it. At first we started with only 9 mixed teams and now we are up to a solid 12 teams on our roster.

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The first weekend that I played, I played with my friend Michael Cheung and we revived our Cobra Kai team shirts. The following weekend, I played with my friend Tom Pham (one of my favorite leftys). The funny thing about this is I actually asked my friend Chris Wilson first (also a lefty) but Kim Knotts had already asked him to play and they usually play together because the have an upcoming tournaments so he had already said yes to her. So anyway, I told him I found another lefty to play with. He immediately thought I was referring to Cody Courter, another lefty who is super amazing and well-known in our circle. I didn’t reply to his text because I just wanted him to mull it over because Cody is probably the best lefty pickleball player in all of Wichita. LOL.

The other hilarious thing is when Jimmy sends a group text to the ladies to tell him who their partners will be, and all of these texts come in, I’m usually texting some random made up thing like “Ching and Chris Heck” or “Ching and Patrick Smith” just to see people’s reactions. They know I’m totally joking because those guys wouldn’t play in our little Sunday thing, but I think it’s the funniest thing ever.

This last Sunday however, I did get Patrick Smith’s men’s league partner Jamie Lynch to play. So I had three different partners over the last three weeks. Since Brian doesn’t play pickleball and I don’t have a “pickleball husband” (like my friend Karen does — she’s gone through two already), I’m not locked in to a specific partner. I’m kind of enjoying the flexibility that I have to play with various people. Sometimes it sucks because I don’t have someone I can count on to play with me for various events and play times but the positive side of it is if there’s a different person I want to play with for a specific thing then I don’t feel like I have to “check” with my normal partner to give them first rights of refusal.

Anyway, we first started our Sunday games at Seneca Park but quickly outgrew it. Patti has a large group that plays there on Sundays and the most we can get is usually three courts. We relocated our mixed doubles games to Edgemoor Park where we know we can get all six courts as long as we start at 6 AM. It’s worked well for us the last couple of weeks. We will be playing with a full group of 24 players again this weekend. This time were doing full-on King of Court. Normally, the mixed pairs stay together as they move up or down the court ladder. This weekend Jimmy is going to have the pairs split up. It should be interesting.

I’ll let you know how it goes this weekend. Until next time. GNG.

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