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Archive for "Hobbies"

Frozen Pickleballs

Posted on February 22, 2020 by under Hobbies.    

I was super excited to play in the Frozen Pickleballs tournament this year. I found out about it last year but I couldn’t play because I had just started playing and I wasn’t good enough. Gregg Smith handpicked all of the teams last year. This year he let people sign up rather than picking the teams.

The tournament was announced all the way back in October. Tom Joyce invited me to play with him but, the week of the event, he ended up coming down with the flu so I had to scramble and find a new partner. Thankfully, Chris Wilson stepped up. You’ll remember him from the Wichita Corporate Challenge last year. We were the only two people at work who were interested in pickleball back then so we played together. We got to reprise our partnership for the Frozen Pickleballs tournament.

Chris and I made a pretty good team. We actually took second place in the round robin. It was on a technicality because we ended up tying Gary Hofmeier and Sherri Marney’s record but we beat them when we played against them so Matt, who was running the tournament, put us ahead of them in the standings. Mark Smith and Kim Knotts were undefeated. I was really bummed that there weren’t playoffs because I wanted another shot at them. We got really close. They beat us 16-14 so we had to go into overtime.

Chris is amazing so I felt like we had a really good chance at winning the tournament had we gone into playoffs. I can’t be too greedy, though. I’m just glad I actually got to play in it this year. I had a ton of fun. And, it actually was pretty nice this year. Unlike last year when they were playing in 30-degree weather. The sun was out and some people were even wearing shorts.

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Here’s a group photo of the top teams (from left): me and Chris (unofficial second), Kim and Mark (undefeated in the round robin), Gary and Sherri (they had two losses, same record as ours). No medals were given so we were just playing for bragging rights, and of course to raise money for the “Light Up Edgemoor” effort.

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Greg Spring took a bunch of photos and captured some great action shots.

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Here’s a pic of me with some of the girls who played in the tournament this year: Karen Fox, Kimberly How, and Amy Jaramillo.

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Then here’s our group photo. It turned out to be a great day for an outdoor pickleball tournament. We had a great turnout. Looking forward to hopefully playing in it again next year.

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Pickleball League Nights

Posted on February 21, 2020 by under Hobbies.    

I’ve been participating in pickleball leagues at Chicken N Pickle for a few months now. In the past I’ve only played in one league at a time. I went a little nuts this season and actually signed up for a couple of leagues. It seems crazy considering my busy schedule but with a little help from Aaron Trost (the lead pickleball guy at CNP), I was able to make it work.

I’m currently in Intermediate Mixed Doubles with my friend Mike on Monday nights and then Intermediate Women’s Doubles with my friend Renee on Wednesday nights. And then I’ve also been hitting the weekend open plays and special events at CNP so now more than ever I really feel like I’ve been spending practically all my free time there.

Anyway, Mike and I are team Cobra Kai on Monday nights. We actually started this team back in the Fall when we played in the Bob Jackson Friendship Tournament together. Mike already had the shirt and talked me into buying myself one so that we could wear it as our team uniform. We already have the same paddle so it was cool to wear the same shirts too. It’s a little nerdy but fun.

Speaking of nerdy, Mike agreed to recreate this meme with me last month. I thought it was hilarous!

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Oh, I forgot to mention that he got the same yellow Zumba shoes that I do so we can actually match head to toe now (if we felt like it) — from our shirts to our paddles to our shoes!

Here’s a video of our toughest match of the season. Up until this match, our two teams — Bananas (Tommy and Sammi) and Cobra Kai — were the only undefeated teams left in our league. Both teams went into the match with 10-0 records so it was a really important one. Mike and I are still undefeated so long story short – we won. But watch the video anyway. LOL.

My record in my other league (the Wednesday night Intermediate Women’s Doubles) is not quite as fabulous. We’re actually one of the bottom teams. It’s crazy how vast the difference in skill level is within the intermediate range. Some of the women in the Wednesday night league are just amazing. Aaron recognizes it too and he’s actually moved some of my friends up to play with the competitive group.

Despite having mixed results on Wednesday nights I do love going because the competitive men play after us and they are really fun to watch. We have a couple of pros and a bunch of semi-pros in that league and the level of play is out of this world good. A few of us usually stay after and watch some of the games. The last couple of weeks I’ve stayed until the end and played a couple of open play games with the guys who are nice enough to play with me.

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A few weeks ago Frank Anthony Davis was in town and subbed for Mason who was out of town that week on a ski trip with his wife. Above is a pic of me and my friend Karen with Frank. Below is a pic of us with Jocelyn Devilliers (one of our local pros) and Logan (Mason’s partner who got to play with Frank that night).

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These guys are so nice and super approachable.

If you want to learn more about Frank, check out the video above. He was the special guest on the Eddie and Webby podcast last night. He is not only fun to watch play but he is super smart, stands for equality, and is an all around great guy.

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Here’s a pic of me, Debbie, and Sharmin on one of the Wednesday evenings when we stayed and watched they guys play. I think Jocelyn Devilliers and Matt Conrad played against Patrick Smith and Jamie Lynch. It was a big, big match up that drew lots of spectators because Jocelyn and Patrick are both professional pickleball players who play together in the tournament circuit. Thankfully, they’re not playing together in the Wednesday night league or no one would have any chance at all of winning. They’re both amazing players separately and would be practically impossible to beat in league if they played together. LOL.

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I wanted to share this last pic of Jocelyn and Matt because it is the cutest. It’s not often that men do the matchy-matchy thing and they did it spectacularly with matching shirts and shorts. The significance of the 2018 Collegiate Girls State Tennis shirts is Jocelyn coaches that team and Matt’s daughter was in it.

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Anyway, while league play isn’t always the most fun for me (I’m skipping it next season and possibly the rest of the year), Chicken N Pickle is always a fun place to be — most specially on Wednesday evenings. It’s definitely my favorite night to watch some amazing matches.

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Pickleball Connection Anniversary

Posted on February 15, 2020 by under Community, Events, Hobbies.    

The Wichita Pickleball Connection Facebook group celebrated its first anniversary last month at the West YMCA, the place where the idea for creating a Facebook group was hatched. Our official one year anniversary was on January 19 but we celebrated a week later on the 26th with some cake and free pickleball for members and non-members. It was also a celebration of the new gym floor at the West Y.

The gym floor got damaged because of an issue with the swimming pool over Thanksgiving break. The gym was flooded and it took weeks for the floor to be repaired. West Y regulars were displaced and dispersed throughout the city looking for places to play. Everyone was so happy when the repairs were complete and they finally reopened the gym for pickleball. West Y is like the epicenter of YMCA pickleball because they have the most pickleball play times available of any of the Ys in our area. It’s so great to have it back!

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With the new floors came an expanded pickleball schedule. West YMCA now has pickleball every single day of the week. Isn’t that awesome?

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As the birthplace of the Wichita Pickleball Connection, West YMCA was the perfect location for our first anniversary celebration. However, we underestimated how many people would come to celebrate with us and, with only four courts, the waits were a little long that day. It’s a good problem to have though and, hopefully, we’ve successfully demonstrated the need for more pickleball courts and more play times throughout at YMCA branches the city.

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Ashley Sorensen at West Y was super nice and set up a birthday table for our cake. Brian was little bit confused at first and he didn’t think it was for us. He thought it was for a child’s birthday. LOL.

Anyway, besides the long line to play, the event turned out well overall. Lots of pickleball players came out to celebrate with us. Here are a few of my favorite pics from that day…

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Up close pic of the cake.

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Brian serving it up.

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Beth and Bruce.

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Being silly with Pam and Debbie.

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Aaron even stopped by bearing goodies from Chicken N Pickle.

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It was awesome to see the new floors put to good use. All four courts were going with several waiting to play.

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With Matt and Connie.

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With Debbie.

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Got some solo birthday/anniversary pics with the birthday balloon. Huge thanks to West YMCA and Ashley Sorensen for letting us have our party at the Y.

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Matt and Lucy Day at CNP

Posted on February 8, 2020 by under Events, Hobbies.    

I think I’m going to have to create a new pickleball category for the blog. I post about pickleball so much that I think it now needs its own category.

Anyway, Matt and Lucy day at Chicken N Pickle was seriously the best ever. These two are pickleball superstars. I can’t believe they live in Wichita. Even so, you don’t just run into them (unless you’re a Wichita Country Club member) so it’s quite special to be able to see them in the flesh. I’m so grateful for Missy covering my Aqua Zumba class that morning so that I could attend.

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The day started out with some open play and then Q&A with Matt and Lucy followed by an exhibition match. Matt and Lucy offered some great insights but my favorite part was hearing the story of how they got their pickleball start. In the beginning there was Matt Wright, Chris Heck, and Jack Oxler just messing around with an old tennis ball and then Lucy became their permanent fourth. I’m not going to tell the story because I’m afraid I will butcher it. It’s a neat story involving some amazing people who are now pickleball legends.

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Quite a few people showed up for the event despite the crummy weather.

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They held an exhibition match with Eric Rasmussen and Patrick Smith after the Q&A. I had heard these names before but I’d never seen or met them until that day. Patrick is probably one of the most handsome pickleball players I’d ever seen. The man is beautiful and so is his German accent.

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Here’s a short clip from the exhibition match. Patrick is playing with Lucy while Eric is playing with Matt.

The Q&A was great as were the exhibition matches but my most favorite part of that morning was the opportunity to play with the two superstars, Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova. As soon as the exhibition was over, my friends Karen and Matt and I immediately nabbed Matt Wright for a game. I got to play on Matt Wright’s team and got to paddle-tap with him after a couple of good points, which made the fan-girl in me completely giddy. LOL.

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After that game ended, the three of us moved to Lucy’s court. This time Karen got to play with Lucy while my friend Matt and I played together. Lucy was super nice but it didn’t make me any less nervous playing against her. Anyway, it was so fun.

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So glad someone got a pic of us playing with Lucy!

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I totally fangirled it, and got a pic with Lucy. I’m so unabashedly dorky!!

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My friend Karen and I with Lucy.

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With Teri and Beth. We were the first ones to get there!

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The weather was actually not the best that day but I am so glad I went. It’s not everyday that you get to play rec ball with the pros. It was the best day ever!

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A Different Kind of NYE

Posted on February 8, 2020 by under Events, Hobbies.    

Last year we hosted a NYE party at our house. This year we decided to keep it pretty low key. We neither hosted nor accepted party invitations. Although, as the NYE drew closer, the prospect of sitting at home watching Brian play video games all night started to seem less and less appealing. Thankfully, I managed to finagle a last minute invite to Betty’s NYE pickleball party at the Andover Community Center.

Let’s see… Sit on the couch all night while Brian plays video games or go to Betty’s party at ACC and play some pickleball. It was a no-brainer.

Michael, Bill, and Karen all went and got to play some games together. I also made some new friends that night. Brian even came out after he finished his livestream. It was a blast! Pickleball parties are the best.

Here are some pics…

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