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Archive for "Hobbies"

Pickleball Fun

Posted on May 29, 2020 by under Hobbies.    

Pickleball is ruling my life right now. I am completely addicted to it. Here are my favorite things about pickleball, in no particular order.

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Matching Outfits
I finally met a pickleball friend who enjoys being matchy-matchy just as much as I do. Meet my friend Karen. These are all the matching outfits we have but I have no doubt we will have more.

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Lobsterfest
My friend Tiffany just bought Patti’s lobster so I’m thinking Lobsterfest will now be a regular occurrence.

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Shirtless Pickleball
‘Tis the season for shirtless pickleball.

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Post-Pickleball Picnics
We’ve been taking advantage of the nice weather and having munchies on the patio at Nahola after pickleball. Last weekend we had margaritas, pizza, and wings. Yesterday, Karen brought lasagna for everyone.

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Fan-Girling
It’s perfectly normal in other sports, yet seems completely ludicrous in pickleball, but I’m bound and determined to make it a “thing.”

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#SangriaSunday
I’m not a big drinker but I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy #SangriaSunday. There are days that I’m not feeling particularly competitive. I just want to play and be social and sip on my sangria and have a great time.

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French Braids at the Park
This is probably one of my most favorite developments this year – Karen’s mobile hair braiding station at Seneca Park. I love playing pickleball with my hair in braids because it’s secure and out of the way.

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Making New Friends
Possibly the best part about pickleball is meeting other pickleball addicts and making new friends.

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First Time Back at CNP

Posted on May 13, 2020 by under Community, Hobbies.    

Chicken N Pickle reopened last week, which was just in time for our top contributor reward. A couple of months ago I decided to start giving prizes to recognize top contributors to our Wichita Pickleball Facebook group to encourage more engagement and activity within the group. We had planned a trip to Hilton Head Island and so I was thinking I would bring some Head swag back from Ansboury Academy which I could use as a prize.

Alas, that trip didn’t happen so I ended up just giving a $25 Amazon gift certificate to the winner who turned out to be Cameron. He immediately used it to buy some pickleballs, which makes sense because we are constantly breaking them.

For the month of April, rather than giving away another Amazon gift certificate, I decided the prize would be a one-hour court reservation at Chicken N Pickle. The condition was that, since I’m paying for the reservation, I would get to play but the winner would get to invite two others to play with us.

My friend Mark Smith ended up winning. When I reached out to him about the date and time that he would like to claim his reward, and agreed on Thursday, May 7, I found out that it was his birthday the very next day. So I ended up reserving an extra hour as his birthday present and he got two invite two additional people.

Here are some of our pictures from that evening…

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Our group consisted of (from left) Mark’s siblings Kim Shea and Gregg Smith, Kim Knotts (Mark’s usual mixed doubles partner), Brooke Ayala (Kim Knotts’ doubles partner), and me. We probably could have invited more people to play with us but we were limited by Chicken N Pickle to six people per court based on the current social distancing rules. Everyone in the Wichita pickleball community is just so lovely and so much fun.

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Kim Knotts even brought these delicious cupcakes for everyone.

Anyway, it was great to be back at Chicken N Pickle after being away for so long. I just love playing there because it’s an outside court surface but indoors. I’ve missed playing with these guys so much too so it was great to be together again.

It’s been super rainy this week so I’ve actually been hanging out at CNP quite a bit. Since making the court reservations for Mark’s top contributor reward last week, I’ve made a few more reservations.

Last night I was there to play with Jimmy Cho, Michael Cheung, and Ryan DeSantis. It was so much fun! Jimmy even complimented me on the progress I’ve made since the last time he’d seen me play. It made me feel good.

While we were playing, he gave me a couple of lobs that were unsuccessful for him and winners for me. I hit the first one in the air backwards as I was running to get it and ended up lobbing it right back. It landed in and neither Michael nor Jimmy could get to it. I ended up smashing the second lob for a winner. I think he was utterly surprised. I used to not know how to hit overheads but Chris Heck has been helping me and I can actually hit them now. I still flub them once in a while but I feel pretty good about hitting them now for the most part.

I’m playing at Chicken N Pickle again tonight. This time with my friends Tiffany Lesperance, Donnie Lesperance, and Steve Vetter. On Thursday I’m playing with Mark’s group. I’d be back again on Friday but I have a group lesson with my friends Karen Fox and Jenny Cole at Nahola.

I have some court reservations in queue for next week but I’m think I might reserve something for Saturday too because it’s supposed to be rainy that day. I need to figure out who’s available to play, though. Coordinating everyone’s schedules is usually the biggest challenge. Anyway, I’m super grateful to be playing again finally. Time to run off to Chicken N Pickle. Until next time. GNG.

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Seneca Park Shenanigans

Posted on May 11, 2020 by under Community, Hobbies.    

Now that the stay-at-home order has been lifted, my friends and I are hanging out at the park again for pickleball. I’m so glad to be playing again because I’ve missed it so much. Here are some of my favorite pics from recent trips to the park.

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This is Tiffany and Karen taking Bruce’s vehicle for a joyride.

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Debbie wearing her “I Love Lucy” shirt in honor of Lucy Kovalova’s birthday.

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Karen has been braiding everyone’s hair. She was in a braiding frenzy.

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My most favorite part of the last few days is twinning with Karen in our matching Sofibella skorts. I love that I can twin with someone at pickleball just like we do in Zumba. I am completely hooked on Sofibella outfits. They make the cutest clothes for pickleball. I’m so glad Karen likes them too.

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Anyway, the weather over the next few days is pretty crummy so I’m trying to figure out what to do about playing. Now that I’m playing again, I have to get my regular fix. At least Chicken N Pickle has reopened so that gives us another option on days like today. Can’t wait for the Nahola and Riverside Tennis Center to reopen also.

I’m ready to start playing inside. I’ve only played outside a few times and I have gotten so dark already. My skin color is the way it normally looks when I return from a beach vacation.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and this brief update. Until next time. GNG.

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Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

Posted on April 12, 2020 by under Hobbies.    

I’ve been missing pickleball so much that I caved and ordered a portable net for playing and drilling in the garage. Here are some pictures of my awesome new net.

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The wheeled carry case is my favorite. It’s makes for greater portability.

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Here’s a pic of the net fully assembled. Even though we have a three-car garage, we have a ton of crap in the third-car bay so the full-sized net barely fits in there.

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On the plus side, it’s pretty easy to assemble and dismantle.

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Brian and I measured the driveway and, unfortunately, it isn’t quite long enough for a full pickleball court so I haven’t been using my full-sized net.

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However, my portable net set also came with a mini net which is perfect for wall drills in the garage. I’ll occasionally go in the garage and hit against the wall for a few minutes or practice my drop shots. It’s not the same as hitting with another person but it’s all I’ve got right now.

My friend Karen visited yesterday and we actually got pretty good use out of the mini net. Other than that, I’ve really been the only one playing with it. I wish Brian would hit with me but he still has his other hobbies so for now I’m all alone. All I have is the wall. Unless, of course, someone wants to visit.

Until next time. GNG.

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My Final Days of Freedom

Posted on March 28, 2020 by under Hobbies.    

I tried to get as much playing in as I could in the weeks leading up to the 30-day stay-at-home mandate in Sedgwick County. Several of our usual haunts had already shut down and there were only a couple of places left to play.

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I played at Hoops, which isn’t even a place I would normally play at, a couple of nights. One night with the guys and then the next night with my girlfriends.

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The night I was out with the girls, we decided to go to Stearman Field for dinner after. Here’s a fun #SocialDistancing pic that we took out on the patio.

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Here are some pictures of dinner.

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It was a Thursday night, a week before things got really serious. But even then, we were being very careful. We disinfected the balls carefully between games, sanitized our hands, and practiced good social distancing.

The next day, I spent six hours at Nahola. I had my final one-on-one training with Chris, played the Friday night open play from 5-7 PM, and then played in Debbie’s 7-9 PM private game. I was trying to squeeze every bit of pickleball I could play, fully expecting that my days of playing were numbered.

Nahola followed the other gyms and eventually closed also but they honored our reservations for the weekend. On Saturday I played with Debbie, Cameron, and Tommy and then on Sunday I played with Debbie, Tiffany, and Amy. I had a great time but it was bittersweet because I knew these were going to be my last games. We knew that it was only a matter of time before a 30-day stay-at-home order would be issued for our community.

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The best thing about playing that weekend was running into Lori Belew at Nahola. She gave me her Mid-South tournament shirt. I was so thrilled. She’s one of my pickleball idols and to have something that came from her felt truly special.

The funniest thing to happen that weekend was when Tommy, Debbie, and I went to grab a bite at Merle’s after pickleball. Donnie and Tiffany happened to be there. They were already seated at a booth when the server asked if they were waiting for their pickleball friend to show up. They were regulars at Merle’s because this was a favorite spot after Friday night pickleball. I had never gone with them because I usually go straight home after.

Anyway, the server told them that their friend (Debbie) just walked in with her two kids (me and Tommy). That was hilarious! We had a kick out of it.

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Here’s a picture of my club sandwich that day. It was delicious. It had been over ten years since I had been to Merle’s. My friend Jan first introduced me to the restaurant and we went there a few times for lunch back when we worked together. I had also been there a couple of times for bar poker years ago (back when bar poker was thing) but Brian doesn’t remember it. There were several restaurant closures in the last month. Merle’s was one of the few places that remained open.

The five of us had a great time eating and visiting. This was the last time I got to spend time with Tommy, Donnie, and Tiffany. I know I’m being overly dramatic but I really miss playing pickleball and I really miss my friends.

Debbie and I made plans to do some drills on Monday night but something came up and so I didn’t play. We did get together for drills at Seneca Park on Tuesday night. We ran into Dave and Lori Belew and they were just hitting back and forth. They weren’t expecting anyone else so the four of us ended up playing together. They even gave us pointers and feedback. It was so much fun. That was the last time I played pickleball because the next day the 30-day stay-at-home order for Sedgwick County officially started.

It’s only been four days since my last pickleball game but it feels like four months. I think the situation is exacerbated by the fact that I’ve been working from home for the last two weeks. I haven’t been out of the house since the stay-at-home order began and I’m absolutely going nuts. I am so ready for all of this to be over and for things to return to normal. Until we are all free again. GNG.

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