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Archive for "Community"

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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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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Shock ‘N Clause at the New Neighbors

Posted on January 25, 2020 by under Community, Food and Drink, Things to Do.    

I can’t believe I completely forgot to blog about the one of the best things that I was part of in 2019. Our friend Marc discovered the Shock ‘N Clause movement and organized one for our group.

There are many variations of this random act of kindness but our group agreed upon $50 per person (or $100 per couple). It basically works this way: All the participants pool their cash, use the funds to pay the meal, and the remaining cash goes to the server as their tip.

Our group consisted of the #VacayWithJayJay #CostaRica2019 gang plus Mama Dill and two other couples. One of the non #CostaRica2019 couples was friends with the Huntees and the other couple was friends with the Shooks. Here’s a group photo of the most generous bunch of people I know…

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We ended up taking our Shock ‘N Clause to the New Neighbors because none of the other diners could accommodate our large group (we had 15 people total) for brunch. Neighbors holds a special place in my heart because we used to play “bar” poker there back in the day. This was back in our Amateur Poker League (APL) days about fifteen years ago. I actually thought we were going to that same restaurant where we used to play but Brian and I hadn’t been there in years and we didn’t realize they moved. The restaurant is in a new spot and now called the New Neighbors Bar & Grill, instead of simply just Neighbors Bar & Grill.

I think the move to the new location happened a few years prior but the name change happened only a few months ago. After the owner was murdered back in July, the restaurant was closed for some time. The restaurant reopened in October under new ownership and that’s when the name change to the New Neighbors Bar & Grill happened.

Anyway, we were lucky to have a great server who seemed truly deserving of the gift. The restaurant isn’t a fancy place and the menu items are quite reasonably priced. Our group’s entire meal cost under $200. Since we brought $750 with us, our server ended up with just slightly over $550 as her tip. It felt really heartwarming to be able to pay it forward and bless someone’s life in this way specially around the holidays. I’d have to say this was the most gratifying meal I’ve had ever in my entire lifetime.

Speaking of meal, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share pictures of our food. That’s kind of my thing and I’m not about to let you down.

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I had their corned beef hash which was refreshingly very different than any other corned beef hash I’d ever had. I think it’s the best ever compared to all the other ones I’ve had in town, and I’m not just saying that because my heart was full.

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I couldn’t take pics of everyone’s food, because there were two other couples in attendance who I didn’t know very well and I didn’t want to seem weird, but I took as many as I could.

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At least our #VacayWithJayJay pals knew better than to start eating before I could take a photo of their meals. LOL. Seriously though, we have the most amazing and generous bunch of friends. I hope that Brian and I are able to participate when we do this again later this year. Until then, keep paying it forward and GNG.

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Dance ‘Til You’re Dead

Posted on November 15, 2019 by under Community, Events, Zumba.    

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This event is by far one of the best Zumba events I’ve been part of this year. Earlier this year, during the Spring, we had a Y Takeover event at Chicken N Pickle. The event is similar to this one but it was Zumba and Sh’bam combo. That event was a lot of fun too, I found the event last month even more fun because it was all Zumba. If you can’t already tell, I am not a huge fan of Sh’bam so as much as possible have been staying away from those events. I know my mantra is “Never miss a party if you can help it” but if I have to do Sh’bam then I usual somehow magically have other better, more fun things to do. LOL.

I think I was open-minded about Sh’bam before I actually tried it. They say always give something a few tries before coming to a conclusion. Now that I’ve tried it a few times, I can safely say I do not enjoy it as much as I enjoy Zumba.

The event a few weeks ago at Chicken N Pickle was just all Zumba so it was perfect. It was a collaboration between North and South YMCA instructors. There were eight of us altogether.

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From left: Joel, Todd, Jessie, Aisha, Bryden, Missy, Rose and me.

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Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the event.

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I love these events at Chicken N Pickle. The setup over there is just awesome and perfect for outdoor events like this one. I can’t wait until winter is over and we can start having these events again.

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