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Archive for "Hobbies"

APP Delray Beach Open

Posted on March 30, 2021 by under Hobbies, Travel.    

Here are some of my favorite pictures from APP Delray Beach Open, my first APP Tour tournament. First of all, the location was amazing. The stadium court at the Delray Beach Tennis Center is huge!

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I’ve never been to a place quite like this. They spared no expense. Not only did they paint three pickleball courts in the stadium, they also had a couple of digital scoreboards for championship court.

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This place is so huge that even with the APP Tour’s 27 pickleball courts, there were still several tennis courts available for the locals.

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This is the view from our favorite shady spot at the stadium.

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That blue tent on the right is the main streaming booth. Brian actually got to go in and get some live streaming tips from Kyle Selinko.

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Here are a few pictures with some of my favorite people.

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With Regina Franco, who played with Sarah Ansboury in women’s doubles and Jocelyn Devilliers in mixed doubles.

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With Lauren Stratman, who played with Lea Jansen in women’s doubles and Patrick Smith in mixed doubles. Lauren and Pat took second in pro mixed doubles and Lauren also completed in pro singles where she took fourth.

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With Patrick Smith (aka the Winter Soldier) and Lauren McLaughlin of Live with Lauren fame. She’s the one who gave him the Winter Soldier nickname.

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I got a super awesome Live with Lauren shirt that I can’t wait to wear!

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One more pic with Lauren McLaughlin for good measure. We took this after I French-braided her hair.

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With Jocelyn’s wife Aleks. They took advantage of spring break by going to Florida a few days ahead of the tournament and turned it into a family vacation.

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With Belinda Dettman, photographer extraordinaire, and Dana Joseph, volunteer extraordinaire. Dana gave the best player orientations ever.

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This is a picture of Dana giving her player orientation speech. She did all of them.

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With my 4.0 35+ mixed partner Brent Huff.

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Here’s a photo of the two of us courtesy of Belinda Dettman.

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Belinda also took a great pic of Brian and me.

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With my fabulous 3.5 35+ women’s doubles partner Kerry Shannon, founder of the Pretty Picklers. She gifted me with these awesome sunglasses which I absolutely loved and wore all weekend long.

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This bright pink Pretty Picklers half zip long sleeved shirt was another gift from my new friend Kerry. I felt so official.

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With Ken Hermann, CEO & founder of the APP Tour.

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With Steve Deakin and Dekel Bar, who played together in men’s doubles.

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The guys playing against each other — Patrick and Jocelyn on the left, and Steve and Dekel on the right.

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Here’s a picture of Pat getting a butt rub.

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The community center people did not like their parking lot being overrun by tournament players.

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Here are a few more pictures of the amazing set up at the Delray Beach Tennis Center. They had so much space for everything, including an entire row of vendor tents (after the volunteer and player check in tents and the ticket sales), tournament desk that was centrally located, and food trucks.

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Lastly, here’s a picture of me in action courtesy of Belinda Dettman. It’s my first official pickleball tournament photo.

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For more about the tournament and how I did, follow Zumba with Ching on BMC. Until next time. GNG.

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Linwood Recreation Center

Posted on March 26, 2021 by under Community, Hobbies.    

After two solid years of playing pickleball, amazingly enough, I’ve still never visited all of the locations that offer open play in our area. I think what happens is that, now that I’ve found places that fit my schedule close to me, I don’t ever venture out to new places any more. Once established, it’s always hard to step out of our comfort zones. That said, I’m going to try really hard to hit (and take pictures) of the various places on our Wichita pickleball open play schedule.

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First stop: Linwood Recreation Center. I visited the rec center for the first time ever a few weeks ago. With rec centers, you never know what kind of surface you’ll be playing on. Most of the time they have wood gym floors. Occasionally, you’ll run into vinyl tile floors like at Linwood when they use a multipurpose space.

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At Linwood they have room for three pickleball courts and play using temporary portable nets. Similar to the format used at Edgemoor, everyone lines up on the chairs set up at one side of the room and they use a “four on, four off” rotation. As each game finishes, the games shift toward the furthest court so that they’re always feeding into the nearest court. This limits the need for players to walk back and forth and interrupt play.

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I’m not a huge fan of the “four on, four off” system because sometimes you get stuck playing with the exact same people for the entire open play but it does keep things moving and, even when there are over twenty players there, the wait time is limited. Groups do get mixed up a bit when there is an odd number so there’s opportunity to play with different people.

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The player demographic at Linwood is similar to the player demographic at most rec centers. There’s more older people than younger people but it seems like, unless you’re playing at Chicken N Pickle, that tends to be the case with pickleball because the sport was popular with the retired folks before it became mainstream.

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On the Saturday that I went to check out Linwood, I ran into some people I knew like Ken (above) and Bill (below), and others who I’d never met before.

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I also met a new friend, Phil, who recently discovered pickleball and, just like all of us, is now completely addicted.

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Anyway, I’m going to try to make it out to all the other locations to take some pictures and videos and meet some pickleball players. If you’re looking to play, here are two things you must do to get started because open play options on the weekend are usually quite limited:

The Facebook group will help you connect with other pickleball players so you’ll get invited to play outside of the regularly scheduled open play. PlaytimeScheduler shows you an open plays arranged by people at the parks (or other locations) that are outside of the normal schedule.

As far as the normal open play schedule goes, here’s what typically happens on the weekends:

    SATURDAY

  • Linwood Rec Center – 10 AM to 12 PM
    $2 per person, limited to the first 25 players
  • Edgemoor Rec Center – 1 PM to 3 PM
    $2 per person, limited to the first 25 players
  • SUNDAY

  • Nahola – 12 PM to 2 PM (competitive)
    $7 per person for non-members
  • Edgemoor Rec Center – 1 PM to 3 PM
    $2 per person, limited to the first 25 players
  • El Dorado Rec Center – 2 PM to 5 PM
    FREE open play
  • West YMCA – 4 PM to 7 PM
    $10 per person for non-members

Now that I’ve been to Linwood, I can saw that I’ve been to all of these places. Now I just have to check out all the other locations which is a bit more challenging because I work during the day. I will do my best to get it all done this year, though. Until then, hope you have a great time playing. See you all on the courts soon!

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Women’s League at Nahola

Posted on March 11, 2021 by under Hobbies.    

The women’s league at Nahola started last weekend. This is only my third league ever at Nahola and my second time with this specific one. I was really bummed last month that I was out of town for the league tournament because I felt pretty good about the progress I’d made. I had a rough first week and worse final week but win-loss rate was pretty good overall.

I felt really optimistic about the tournament. It was unfortunate that I was at the PPA Arizona tournament and wasn’t in town to play in it.

This time around I’ll miss one of the regular weeks but will be in town for the league tournament which is on April 17. I’m really excited because, even though there is some tough competition in this league, I feel good about my odds of winning. The main thing will be to get teamed up with a good partner and the way to do that is to have an excellent win-loss record.

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Here’s the sheet from the first week. I’m off to a better start this time than the last time. In the previous session, I had more losses than wins that first week. But it was my first time playing in this league and there were women in the league who I’d never met or played with before. This time around, I know everyone playing and I know what to expect a little better.

I was really proud of my performance on this first day. I won four out of my five games. And on the only game that I lost, we lost 12-10, so it wasn’t a blow out. We even had some match point opportunities. For Melissa Burgess and I to get 10 points against two higher level players (Greta Siemens and Pam Palmer), who were certain to win 99% of the time, was one of the highlights of the weekend for me.

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Here’s a pic of some of the girls warming up. On the far end you have Karin Koch, Erica Lopez, and Lesli Toubassi; and on the near court are Tricia Every, Melissa Burgess, and Teri Farha.

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It was a beautiful day and Erica and I had somewhat coordinated outfits so we had to take a picture. Several people took advantage of the perfect weather to play outside at Seneca Park. Jenny (Cole) and Greta actually went over there to play after we were done with our Nahola league.

As for me, I had to go a VASA group fitness team meeting at Fuzzy’s after league and then I had to fill in for my friend Brooke with Debbie’s mixed group at Chicken N Pickle from 3-5 PM. After my CNP game, I stopped by Seneca Park and found a few people still there including the guy visiting from Joplin (Brandon Funk). I got to play one game with them.

It’s been a while since I had the opportunity to play pickleball at three different locations in one day. Spending an entire day (besides teaching my Aqua Zumba class in the morning) playing pickleball is definitely my definition of a great day!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Until next time. GNG.

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The Pickleball Librarian Visits Wichita

Posted on March 9, 2021 by under Hobbies.    

I finally had the opportunity to meet one of the famous pickleball personalities I’ve been following on social media. Andrew Evans, aka the Pickleball Librarian, and his friend Colleen Mendoza came to visit Wichita on his birthday weekend. Chicken N Pickle was completely booked that day but I was able to get us (Andrew, Colleen, and I) a couple of hours of court time at Riverside and then scheduled open play at Seneca Park immediately after.

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I invited Dave New to be my mixed partner that day since we are playing together in the Chicken N Pickle mixed competitive league this session. We played several games (best 2 out of 3 games to 11 is my preferred format) and I got to play at least twice with Dave, Andrew, and Colleen.

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After mixed at Riverside, Andrew, Colleen, and I went to Seneca Park for open play. I was amazed at how many people came out considering how windy it was that day. I think we had enough players for three courts and some spares.

It was great to finally meet the famed Pickleball Librarian and we had a lot of fun playing. I look forward to playing with him again on his next visit.

Here’s a video we made that day about Playtime Scheduler. As you can tell, it was very windy that day!

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Learning to Play Singles

Posted on March 8, 2021 by under Hobbies.    

A couple of years after learning to play pickleball and playing mostly doubles, I finally learned to play singles. I generally didn’t play singles before because it’s too much work. You have to cover the entire court by yourself and, at first, it was just a lot chasing after the ball which made it not as much fun as playing doubles. However, after finding other people who know how to play singles and experiencing some really good singles rallies, I found it can be a lot of fun. Other reasons I like playing singles include not having to find a partner and it’s a great workout. I feel like a game of singles is almost as much workout as an entire hour of playing doubles in terms of effort.

My new found love for singles led me to joining my first singles pickleball league at Chicken N Pickle (it was also their first time offering it) and playing singles in a tournament. One of my goals for this year is learn how to play singles and get better at it. I’m happy to report that I’m making good progress.

The first ever singles league at Chicken N Pickle consisted of all levels from both genders. Out of the 14 players signed up, 6 were women and 8 were men. We all played one another regardless of gender during the regular session but were divided by gender on tournament night. The plan was to have the 8 guys play against each other and then the 6 women play against each other.

However, on the night of the tournament, a bunch of people were gone. I’m not sure what was going on with the men because only 4 or 5 guys showed up. In the women’s division — Greta was sick, Parrish was in Florida, Bayli forgot, and I’m not sure what happened to Barb. Since only Anna and I showed up for the tournament, we automatically got first and second.

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I knew I didn’t stand a chance but we still played for it. We played a best 2 out of 3 (which surprisingly went to 3 games: 11-9, 9-11, and 11-6) and one game to 15 (Anna creamed me on this game).

You can watch our games (and some of the guys’ games) here:

I lost but I was super proud of myself for having enough energy to play all of those games because I’m usually done after a couple of games. I’ve often joked that, if I can’t win a match in two games, I will probably lose because I never have enough energy for a third game. I was also quite surprised that I was able to keep up with Anna because, being a former tennis player, she is amazing at singles. She did tell me afterwards that I was better than some of the guys that she’s played against in the league which was a huge compliment and almost a better reward than the gift card I won for being the default runner up.

Despite knowing that I only have stamina for a handful of games, I still signed up to play singles at the PPA tournament in Arizona. I mean, I was going all that way and it was only $15 more to enter so I figured I might as well.

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I played five matches on my journey to silver. True to form, my matches consisted of only two games each time. I either won in two or lost in two — which was perfect for me because that’s really all the energy I can muster. We did take extra long timeouts, though. Pat (or of our pro friends) came and found my court and cheering section and totally made fun of our long timeouts which we completely abused. There wasn’t much talk about pickleball strategy during the timeouts. We talked about dinner, going to the lazy river, what we were wearing the next day — everything but. It was hilarious!

To be fair, I didn’t call the timeouts on most of these so I had to wait for the other player (who called the timeout) to say they were ready to resume. That’s a key difference between reffed games and not reffed games. When you don’t have a ref, no one is enforcing the clock (timeouts are only supposed to be 60 seconds in duration and then you have two-minute break when you change sides between games). I appreciated the longer break too so I didn’t complain. LOL.

Speaking of refs, I had my first experience with reffed matches in Arizona. It’s so different and helpful in some ways and not helpful in others. I learned so much. For instance, I learned that the ref can’t really help much with line calls. They’re really only calling the score, ensuring that you’re serving from the correct position (or you’re the correct server in doubles), and watching for foot faults. The don’t chime in on line calls unless they specifically saw the ball land and most of the time they’re not looking. It was a learning experience for me.

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Anyway, I had a blast playing singles and even made a new friend. This is Jimena Monetti from Gilbert, Arizona. She took gold and I got silver. Coincidentally, I think we were the two oldest players in our division (I’m older than her) and we also play with the same paddle.

It’s interesting that I used to hate playing singles when I first started playing pickleball but now I’ve learned to love it. I signed up for singles league again this session and I can’t wait to play singles at my next tournament in Florida.

Until then. GNG.

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