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Meeting the Legendary Jack Oxler

Posted on March 20, 2020 by under Hobbies, Life.    

Jack Oxler is a name that comes up quite frequently in our little pickleball community because the Wichita people are so very proud of Jack and legendary achievements. When I first started playing and had the opportunity to meet and play with some of the more seasoned pickleball players they would always ask, “Do you know Jack Oxler?” Immediately followed by, “You need to meet him.”

I’ve actually wrote about Jack before without even meeting him. It was about a year go at Chicken N Pickle when I met one of his friends. So many people know Jack because he used to live in Wichita before moving to Kansas City. Even though he doesn’t even live here, his name comes up a lot. Matt Wright, one of the biggest names in pickleball, even mentioned him during a Q&A at Chicken N Pickle a few months ago. Currently Jack is the Director of Pickleball and one of the teaching professionals at the Kansas City Chicken N Pickle. I didn’t think I’d ever have the opportunity to meet him unless I made a trip to KC for a pickleball lesson.

But then fate intervened. A few weeks ago Aaron Trost, the former head of pickleball at the Wichita Chicken N Pickle, moved to San Antonio to run the pickleball program at that new location. They hired Michael Harris to replace him and brought Jack Oxler down to Wichita to train the new guy and show him the ropes. Jack offered some lessons while he was in town. Of course, they were all during the day from Tuesday through Thursday and, when Michael first posted the info in our Facebook group, none of the times worked.

On Tuesday I found out that my lunch meeting on Wednesday got canceled so I actually would have time to squeeze in a lesson but all of the appointment times were taken at that point. I still wanted to meet this guy in the flesh because tales of his pickleball and tennis prowess are legendary so I thought, even though I couldn’t book a lesson, I could still have lunch at Chicken N Pickle, meet him, and have him sign my special pickleball paddles. I didn’t want to go up there unannounced and unexpected, though. People already think I’m a weirdo. I didn’t want to provide yet another example of me being weird by going up to a total stranger and asking for his autograph. But then I recalled that, in his how we got started with pickleball story, Matt Wright also mentioned Chris Heck. Chis Heck is another local pickleball pro who is magnificent and happens to be my friend. I’ve been taking lessons from Chris since January and we have now officially moved into friend status and with him being my friend I asked for my first friend favor — to give Jack a heads up that I will stop by Chicken N Pickle at lunch because I’m dying to meet him.

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And so that’s how it happened. I finally got to meet the great and legendary Jack Oxler. And, I got his autograph on my paddles.

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He is much shorter in real life than I expected, even though I’d watched enough YouTube videos. I just assumed it’s because all the other players are super tall. I always had it in my brain that I would never be any good at pickleball because I’m not tall enough. Meeting Jack gave me hope. I can be amazing even with the height disadvantage. Of course, Jack is very talented and skilled so he’s in a special category but now I’m thinking maybe it’s not so bad being short. If I continue to learn from Chris (and Kayla and Lucy and others I’m taking pickleball lessons from) and work hard, I can compete with players at my level and maybe even beat them despite the height disadvantage.

I’m hoping that Jack will return to Wichita and offer some lessons again. If not, I’m hoping to make a trip out to Kansas City at some point to schedule a session with him. I just want to get his perspective — short person to short person. LOL.

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Jokes aside, some of my friends (Jenny, Amy, Beth, and Debbie) got to learn from Jack while he was here. I took some pics of their session when I was at Chicken N Pickle for lunch that day.

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A bunch of us got together for a group photo with Jack before I went back to work. From left: Beth, Jenny, Debbie, Jack, Tammy, Amy, Jack’s mom, and me.

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After their lesson, they all stayed and played some more pickleball. Of course, I had to go back to work before returning that night for the Intermediate Women’s Doubles League Tournament. I usually stay to watch the Competitive Men’s Doubles League. This was actually a record day for my friend Debbie because she stayed to watch the men play too. Their tournament lasted past 11 o’clock that night. She spent over 14 hours at Chicken N Pickle without ever leaving that day.

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Brian came out to livestream the league tournament that night. Debbie got this picture of us. I later realized that she got Jack Oxler in the background looking very James Bond (Daniel Craig without the tux).

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Here’s a better pic of us with Brian looking at the camera this time.

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It’s always great when Brian can come out to capture videos and do a livestream. You can watch some of the videos we captured that night in this post. But I digress, it was so great to finally meet Jack Oxler. I’m hoping it won’t be our last encounter. Until next time. GNG.

Related Posts

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  • Mom and Dad’s First Pickleball Lesson on May 31, 2020
  • Making New Friends on May 24, 2019
  • Aaron’s Farewell Party on February 23, 2020
  • Matt and Lucy Day at CNP on February 8, 2020

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