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Archive for "Life"

Lesson with Kas at NPC

Posted on January 17, 2023 by under Life.    


Finally got to check out Newton Pickleball Club when my friends Janelle, Karen, and I took a “play with a pro” type lesson with Kasandra Gehrke while she was in Wichita conducting her Empowher pickleball camps at Chicken N Pickle.

Each of us took turns playing with Kas and all the while receiving nuggets of wisdom to help us take our pickleball game to the next level. Kas was informative and helpful and I thoroughly enjoyed the time we got to spend with her. But what I loved most of all was we got to have this experience in a private setting.

Laurie’s house is amazing and her backyard pickleball setup is probably the best I’d ever seen. It was the perfect setting for our lesson with Kas. It’s also a great party house and it’s no surprise that it is super popular with the picklers. It was cold and windy that day but I bet it’s a fantastic hangout spot all summer long.

Thank you to Laurie for opening her house up for Kas’ private group lessons and also to Kas for sharing her knowledge.

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New Year’s Day

Posted on January 11, 2023 by under Life, Pickleball.    

Last year, I was out of town playing in a pickleball tournament on New Year’s Day. This year I decided to have a purposefully relaxing NYD by not leaving town. I did play in a fun team tournament on NYE but nothing too serious.

Brian and I prepared a hearty breakfast, consisting of bacon, sausage, potatoes, eggs, and biscuits, the next morning for our house guests. We thought we were going to have three (Katie Merrill, Ramon Lozano, and Josh McAllister) but Josh decided to just make an up-and-back trip so we ended up with leftovers.


Ramon, Katie, and several other friends played in the Hangover pickleball tournament at Chicken N Pickle that day. Speaking of Chicken N Pickle, huge shout out to them for hooking Katie up with the blue dri-fit shirt from the last sponsored athletes box so that she could match me, Ramon, and Jared (Smart) for the team event. Lindsey Vermillion actually had to expedite the package so it would arrive in time for her to wear it to the team event.

I didn’t get any pictures at the tournament but I did livestream the championship match between Vi Dang and Mitch Spencer vs Molly Sager and Austin Corley. Interestingly, Molly and Cory Sager were supposed to play together but then Jenny and Austin Corley signed up for the tournament when we were all hanging out during NYE at the Egan’s. They made a game-time decision to swap partners because Austin and Molly and Cory and Jenny are playing together in the iPickle Nation January Jam this weekend. The four of them figured they would use the Hangover tournament for practice.

Despite this being Austin and Molly’s first time playing together, they played really well and had great on-court chemistry. I think the four of them will do really well at the iPN tournament in Kansas City this weekend.


I think the highlight of my day had to be taking Rosie (Katie’s dog) to Chicken N Pickle to watch her mama play pickleball but also to show her off because she is so stinkin’ cute. Anyway, I’ve always dreamed of taking my dog there but our dogs are not fit to be in public. Molly was always too amped and Saki is super jittery and afraid of people. Everyone was asking me about my dog. I wish she was mine because she is so good and well-behaved. And, she is super cuddly.

The weather was absolutely beautiful and the way NYD went was the perfect start to the year. I remember thinking, “If the rest of the year goes like this, it will be an amazing one!” It was just a super relaxing, fun day. Until next time, GNG.

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The Best of 2022

Posted on December 23, 2022 by under Life, Pickleball.    

Each year I take time to reflect on the best parts of the year and recall all of my favorite moments. This year it seems all of my best memories revolve around pickleball, which is not surprising considering I spent New Year’s Day playing pickleball. We always believed that whatever you are doing on New Year’s Day is what you will be doing all year long and so I ended up playing in a ton of tournaments this year, starting with the Vetta Dink in the New Year tournament.

I guess we can just start this recap with my most favorite tournaments this year (listed somewhat chronologically).


  • Dink in the New Year – I played 3.5/4.0 singles, 4.0 mixed doubles with Devon Fuller, and 3.5 women’s doubles with Tiffany Lesperance. We traveled with Tiffany and Donnie to that tournament and had such a great time spending the weekend with them.
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  • Oak Tree – I played 3.5 singles, 4.0 mixed with Ramon Lozano, and 4.0 women’s with Jen Reifshneider. Even though this tournament was a complete shit show, it was a ton of fun. Not only did a learn so much, but I also met some people at that tournament that are really good friends now. I played against Katie Merrill and now we are thick as thieves. Also, I was going through some old tournament footage and found a Tanner Rice cameo. It’s so wild that he was in one of my YouTube videos before we actually knew each other.
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  • US Open – I played women’s doubles with my friend Erica Case and we won our first US Open gold medal. I only got to play in one event but Brian and I stayed the entire week and it was amazing. I can’t wait to try again next year!


  • WPT Kansas City Classic – I played 3.5 singles, 3.5 mixed with Ryan Kellenbarger and 3.5 women’s with Kimberly Howe. This was a money tournament so I was hoping (and had a real shot at getting gold medals at both events). Kimberly and I finished in 3rd place and Ryan and I won gold and actually made money. One of best memories is getting stuck with some people during the rain delay who are good friends of mine now.
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  • ICT Classic – I played 3.5 singles, 5.0 mixed with Matt Nola, and 4.0 women’s with Jenny Corley. This is worth a mention because it was my first time playing 5.0 level and, even though we went 0-2, I actually didn’t suck and I didn’t feel out of place. Looking back, I feel like I was actually a lot better than some of the other players, as crazy as that sounds. This is the beginning of me realizing I can absolutely play any level I want to play.
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  • Middle States – I played 3.0 singles, 3.5 mixed with Ramon Lozano, and 3.0 women’s with Kendra Wicks. This is only my second time playing in this tournament (the first time I played with my friend Chris Wilson) and my first time winning triple gold. This tournament qualified me for the Diamond Amateur Championships (DAC) earlier this month in Florida.


  • USAP Newport Beach – I played 3.0 singles, 3.5 mixed with Ramon Lozano, and 3.0 women’s doubles with Nancy Kaplan (blind date). I agreed to play in this tournament at the beginning of the year thinking I was going to try to qualify for Nationals but then, once I qualified for the DAC, I realized I couldn’t swing both trips so I was completely unmotivated. I couldn’t say no to Ramon, though. Around this time of the year, he was my #1 favorite mixed doubles partner. He could have asked me to play on Jupiter and I probably would’ve figured out a way to make it work. Anyway, it was a fun trip. Brian and I had a great time vacationing in California and it was nice to meet Ramon’s family.
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  • Tulsa Pickleball Classic – I played Intermediate 50/50 with Robert Mansfield, 4.5 mixed with Tanner Rice, and 4.0 women’s with Huyen Nguyen. This was my first tournament team up with my fake daughter who everyone thinks is my real daughter. Also, I ended up teaming up with Tanner completely by accident when I meant to send a message to Tanner Blaske on Facebook. Tanner and I chatted and, even though we didn’t really know each other in person at the time, we agreed to play a couple of tournaments together. This was our first one. I actually felt pretty special that Robert agreed to play with me because 50/50 was the same day as singles and he normally prefers to play singles over doubles.

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  • Bartlesville Pickleball Classic – I played Advanced 50/50 with Chris Wilson, 4.0 mixed with Michael Douglas, and 4.0 women’s with Jenny Corley. It felt so good to team up with Chris Wilson again. We actually did really well together. Fourth was not too shabby considering that draw. My other events didn’t go so well but it was my first time playing Bartlesville and I had an amazing time.


  • PPA Championships – I played 3.5 mixed with Zach Nguyen and 4.0 women’s with Jen Reifschneider. This was actually not on the list for the year so it was a last minute addition. This format was double elimination with a consolation bracket (not an opportunity bracket) which means once you lose the best you can do is bronze. We lost in the semis in both events. Zach and I came so close to playing for gold and silver too. We were literally up 10-6 in the third game of our semi-final match. We ended up losing 10-12. It was a heart-breaker!
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  • Shangri-la Pickleball Open – I played 4.5 mixed with Devon Fuller and 3.5 women’s with Molly Sager. This was another tournament that wasn’t on the list but my friend Kumar Krishnan told me about it and offered to host me and Brian at his lake house so I couldn’t pass it up. I’d never been to this part of Oklahoma before so it was a great adventure for me and Brian and I’m actually looking forward to playing in this again next year.


  • ICT Fall-out – I played 4.0 singles, 4.5 mixed with Tanner Rice, and 4.0 women’s doubles with Jenny Corley. The funny part of this is, I was originally signed up for 3.5 singles but then moved myself up to 4.0 singles when I only saw two players signed up but then apparently Chanell Nguyen and Fong Witte had the same idea and signed up for 4.0 singles also. Instead of getting a bronze medal handed to me, I actually had to work for it. Also, this is the tournament that Tanner took over as my #1 favorite mixed doubles partner.
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  • SMASH 5 – I played 4.5 mixed with Isaiah McAllister and 4.0 women’s with Nicole Mathis. I was originally signed up for 4.0 35+ with Jason Doll but then ended up grabbing another partner for mixed so he wouldn’t have to play on both days because he’s still nursing his knees. It worked out great because I ended up moving up to 4.5 19+ with Isaiah who I had such an amazing time playing with. Also, 4.0 35+ might have been too easy for Jason because he is so dang good! I think my most favorite part of this tournament is finally winning a match against Ramon who I always end up playing in the first round whenever we are signed up for the same division.


  • Diamond Amateur Championships – I played 3.0 singles, 3.5 mixed with Ramon Lozano, and 3.0 women’s with Kendra Wicks. I qualified, played, and medaled in the first ever DAC. And, I punched my singles and women’s doubles tickets to 2023 USAP National Championships. I actually thought this was going to be my final tournament of the year but I ended up tacking on a couple of last minute team events at the end of the year.


  • Mother’s Day Tournament – I played in a Mother’s Day pickleball tournament at Chicken N Pickle with Huyen. It was one of several little tournaments (most of them charity tournaments benefiting local non-profits) that I played this year.

Besides playing in tournaments, I actually organized and helped with several events this year. Here’s a few of them:

  • Picklemania MMXXII – Second tournament for my Rotary club. We made it a team event this time and it made the event so much for fun. I feel like team events are the way to go.

  • Picklepalooza – I didn’t have much to do for this tournament actually other than help spread the board but I did join the Senior Services of Wichita board this year so I will probably have a lot more to do this next year.

  • One Last Dink – This one isn’t until next weekend. I pitched the idea to the Pickle Club owners and they came up with the name for the event. I’m super excited for this team tournament, not just because it will my final event for the year, but because I’m part of a super awesome team. Also, it means that I’ve basically started and ended the entire year with pickleball.

This was also the year of the DUPRs. I started a digital club on DUPR so that I could help our local rec players (those who don’t normally play in tournaments) get official ratings. I hosted a bunch of DUPR match sessions over the summer and entered scores so everyone could get ratings.

Besides organizing DUPR play, I also participated in DUPR events myself — a couple in Oklahoma during my DUPR double dip weekend and a couple in Kansas City hosted by iPickleNation. I also brought back the Queen of Courts but beefed up because now they are DUPR QoCs.

Other notable things that happened this year… Nahola sold and then re-opened a few months later. It is now the Pickle Club. Other than being limited to two courts, it’s still hands down the best place to play in town. Except when the weather is nice, then my favorite spot is Wichita State where they have four lighted courts that you can use free of charge. The county also converted two of the tennis courts at Sedgwick County Park into pickleball courts this fall and it’s been quite popular with the players. We even had a couple of cookouts there already.


In terms of travel, we didn’t get to do much but we did go to Mexico in August to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary slash crash Erica’s wedding. LOL. It was fun. I always enjoy and appreciate any time I can spend with my girlfriends. Brian and I stayed in our first Airbnb during Middle States Regional and now he’s not anti Airbnbs anymore.


And, finally, in non-pickleball news, grandma turned 100 this year. That pretty much sums up 2022 in a nutshell (or long post). Can’t wait to see what the new year will bring. Until then, GNG.

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Rain Cafe Revisited

Posted on April 9, 2022 by under Food and Drink, Life.    

Now that I’m back in working the office again, I’m getting to visit some restaurants downtown that I have not visited in a while. One such place is Rain Cafe and Lounge on Kellogg. My coworker and friend Chris Townley and I went there for lunch a few weeks ago.


Chris got a burger and fries and I ordered the chicken skewer item, not because I felt like eating chicken, but mostly because the table next to us ordered it and, when I asked, our server mentioned it was the most popular item on their lunch menu.


I’m glad I ordered it because it was really good. The teriyaki flavor was excellent. If we make another trip back, I would not hesitate to order this again. Until next time, GNG.

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Looking Back at 2021

Posted on January 27, 2022 by under Life.    

A bunch of friends at the PPA Carvana Desert Ridge Open this week which brings back memories of when I was there last year for PPA Foot Solutions Arizona Open, which this year is at the new Bell Bank Park at the Legacy Sports Complex in Mesa, AZ. Anyway, this got me reflecting on 2021 as a whole.

I am a little bit sad that 2021 is basically just a continuation of 2020 and I haven’t traveled out of the country at all since our Mexico trip in late 2019. I went to some tournaments out of state but we really didn’t get to do any international travel. We were going to break the cycle in January this year but the Jamaica trip ended up falling through — because COVID ruins everything.

Despite failed plans, 2021 wasn’t all bad. I finally got participate in some big tournaments, which I had originally planned to do in 2020 but couldn’t because everything was canceled when the pandemic brought the world to a screeching halt.

I also participated in some tournaments closer to home like one in Lenexa and another in Great Bend. I played with my friend Ramon Lozano in both who is the main reason I actually did them. The one in Lenexa means a lot to me because it was my first 4.0+ tournament and we actually beat some really good teams.

I played in a couple of tournaments in Oklahoma, which I have decided is the state that runs the best tournaments because you get fed lunch and they provide lots of snacks. The first one was called Picklemania (at Lifetime Athletics) and it was non-sanctioned and the second was PC Smash (Gene Click’s tournament) and that one is sanctioned by USA Pickleball so even though it’s not a regional tournament, it’s a totally legitimate one.

Speaking of tournaments, I intentionally participated in the ICT Tournaments last year (unlike in 2020 when I ended up playing because one of the guys mixed partners fell through, so I played as a stand in) and got my first ICT medal.

I think my entire year revolved around pickleball, which is not entirely unusual because when I get into something I really go all out — much like I did with Zumba. There was a whole decade of my life that was pretty much dedicated to all things Zumba.

Other pickleball-related things that happened last year include:

Speaking of hanging out with friends, late in 2021 (before Omicron happened), things were almost returning back to normal and I feel like people were starting to feel comfortable gathering again. I actually got to see my Leadership Wichita classmates a few times last year. Tallgrass Film Festival was back and had in person viewings and parties. Zach Hyatt (Brian’s cousin) and Krystle (now also Hyatt) finally had their wedding.

I think with more people getting vaccinated, people started feeling more comfortable and maybe even a little complacent. After my bout with COVID in 2020 (natural immunity) and getting shots 1 and 2, I have to say, I was feeling pretty invincible until some of my friends started getting COVID. Some of them were vaccinated.

By the way, as paranoid as Brian is about getting sick, he was super reluctant to get vaccinated and only got his shots because he wouldn’t be able to leave country. So even though we didn’t get to go to Jamaica this month as planned, at least Brian got vaccinated as a result. I got my booster shot a few weeks ago to protect myself because it seemed like all of my pickleball friends were catching COVID. Brian still hasn’t had his booster and I think he’s still on the fence about it.

So far, we managed to get through 2021 without catching COVID again (that we know of). I think one encounter with COVID is enough for me.

Nothing too exciting happened last year, other than I got to play a lot of pickleball. After ringing in the new year at pickleball tournament in St. Louis this month, I’m not joking when I say I have even more pickleball planned this year.

Stay tuned! GNG.

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