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Archive for "Community"

Mother’s Day 2022

Posted on June 14, 2022 by under Community, Pickleball.    

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I spend so much time at Chicken N Pickle that it was only fitting that I spent my Mother’s Day there. They had the best Mother’s Day brunch and mimosa bar!

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They had various fruit juices that you could use to mix with champagne and a wide array of fruits for flavor and garnish. It made me want to throw a mimosa party at my house but then I thought of all the work to prep all those fruits and I was like, “I’ll just wait until they have another one of these.” LOL.

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These were the best mimosas ever!

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Here’s a picture of Huyen’s breakfast. She got the Mother’s Day skillet.

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Here’s Huyen double-fisting the mimosas.

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FUN FACT — When I first met Huyen a couple of years ago, I found out that I am bout the same age as her mother. Since her mother doesn’t play pickleball and I don’t have a child, we’ve kind of adopted each other. Plus, most people who see us think we are mother-and-daughter anyway so we decided to just roll with it.

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We played in the Mother’s Day tournament at Chicken N Pickle and played against “real” mother-and-daughter duo Stacy and Brittney Wessley. It was so much fun! Specially since Huyen and I finally got to wear one of our matching skirts.

This fall, Huyen and I will get to play in a real tournament together when we play in the Tulsa Pickleball Classic. I can’t wait to see how many more people we can convince that we’re mother and daughter. LOL.

Until next time, GNG.

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Picklemania MMXXII

Posted on June 11, 2022 by under Community, Pickleball.    

Our second annual pickleball tournament for the Rotary Club of Andover was a huge success. We engaged several sponsors this year that allowed us to provide shirts for our players and volunteers and just make the tournament 100x better. We decided to go with a team-style tournament this year, which meant fewer teams/players, but turned out to be way more fun because then the tournament wasn’t too serious.

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Lesli Toubassi provided some breakfast power bars and cinnamon rolls from Great Harvest Bread Co. Nick Gerstner (owner of Tea Taze) provided tea. Bryce Lob provided three bottles of Una Vida Tequila. Gamma Sports gave us some overgrips.

Besides in-kind sponsors, we received monetary support from the following generous people/companies:

  • PRESENTING SPONSOR — Palomino Petroleum
  • T-SHIRT SPONSORS
  • — Chicken N Pickle
  • — CoreNorth Capital Planning
  • — Expert Auto Center
  • — Royal Caribbean/Sunflower Travel
  • NET SPONSOR — Verity Jet

We also had a couple of teams travel from out of town to play in the tournament. One was a team that fellow Rotarian Kumar Krishnan put together. Kumar, along with Brent and Karen Taylor and Deana Holman, traveled from Bartlesville, Oklahoma to complete. They went by the team name Cucumbers.

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The other team that traveled a good distance to play was Did Someone Say Unlimited Drinks? From left: David Gleason, Karly Gleason (formerly Williams), Liz Sharp, and Ian Wright.

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I actually didn’t think these guys were going to make it. I got a text late on Friday night that they had a flat tire in Emporia. As it turns out, the key for the lugs weren’t in the car so they couldn’t replace the tire. They ended up towing the car back to Kansas City and changing vehicles. They made it to Wichita around 1 AM.

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They are such troopers! I’m glad they made it. Otherwise, we would have missed seeing their awesome team shirts that Liz made.

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I think everyone had a great time, except maybe Krystal Fosnight, who rolled her ankle in the first round of bracket play. Their team, The Experts, consisting of Tom Pham, Huyen Nguyen, and Tommy Chau had a really good shot at winning their pool also. I think they were just behind Klee Watchous and Chris Heck’s team in pool play.

Don’t worry, Krystal’s ankle is pretty much all better. She even won gold in 4.5 Mixed Doubles with her partner Hanbeen You in the ICT Classic pickleball tournament this past weekend.

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As far as the tournament went, Patti Mackey made us eight medals so we could have two sets of winners. After the pool play, we divided the 16 teams into 2 pools of 8 teams each. There was an upper pool and a lower pool.

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Dinkers and Bongers (from left: Ryan Kellenbarger, Krista Crawford, Chandi Bongers, and Bo Tolbert) defeated the CoreNorth team consisting of Ryan and Renae DeSantis and Dave and Lori Belew to win their division.

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There were lots of upsets in the upper division. First, with the Blazing Paddles team (consisting of Heather Griffin, Mike Ellison, Noi Sourinthone, and Amy Jaramillo pictured below) eliminating Palomino Petroleum (Chris Heck, Klee Watchous, Melissa Youngers, and Lacy Waugh – not pictured) but then falling to 1 Small 3 Mediums (next picture).

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The upper division champions (from left): Ian Carr, Fong Witte, Jen Reifschneider, and Ev Kim. Honestly, the tournament was stacked with amazing players and teams this year, anyone could have won but I think Palomino Petroleum was the favorite going in.

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For a fun, charity tournament, this one was full of talented players which made the matches very competitive, which I think, made it even more fun for everyone. Of course, the unlimited drinks was a great draw as well. The players and spectators got breakfast treats, lunch, and pretty much all the mimosas, margaritas, and beer they could drink. Maybe that’s why Chris’ team didn’t win. LOL.

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Anyway, I am so grateful to everyone who came to support our event (by playing, spectating, or volunteering), most specially these two: Brian and Jody Vinson. For someone who doesn’t enjoy pickleball and isn’t even a Rotarian, Brian was there from 6:30 AM all the way to the tear down at the end. And, Jody just makes tournaments run super smoothly. I’m so glad she was there to help me.

The event helped us raise over $6,000 toward our club service projects. Last year, we didn’t have any sponsors so we only raised $1,200. The sponsors really came through for us this year. The event was a huge success and I’m looking forward to having it again next year. Until next time, GNG.

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Spread HopeICT Event

Posted on June 10, 2022 by under Community, Health.    

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Here are some pictures from HopeNet’s Spread HopeICT event at Chicken N Pickle last month. The purpose of the panel is to promote positive youth mental health and support for suicide awareness and prevention.

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We ran into Judy and Malachi Nola.

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And also Jo Lynn Bright, HopeNet’s Director of Community Impact.

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I felt overwhelming emotion upon seeing Jo Lynn. She was my most favorite EMPAC counselor and helped me work through some issues 12 years ago. It was so great to see her again and to know that she continues to make a difference for so many through the HopeNet organization.

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Pickleball Kickoff Party at Crestview

Posted on June 6, 2022 by under Community, Events, Pickleball.    

Crestview Country Club is going all-in with pickleball. Last month they hosted a super fun kickoff party to (re)introduce pickleball to members and unveil their newly painted courts.

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They did such a great job of decorating for the party.

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Here are a few pictures from the event…

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Shout out to Jeff Kenworthy (DJ/KJ Entertainment) for providing awesome tunes at the party. If you have an event, be sure to hire him!

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Lunch with Denise Neil

Posted on May 6, 2022 by under Community, Food and Drink.    

It’s not everyday that I get to have local celebrity so, of course, I’m documenting this. Well, actually, I document any time I eat anywhere so I guess the post is not that special but the person is – for sure!

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As per my usual MO, I only got pictures of our food so there are no pictures of the two of us. I know, “Pictures or it didn’t happen.” You’re just going to have to take my word for it that I got to have lunch with THE Denise Neil.

Denise and I met at La Galette. This place is so good and it is so close to one of my favorite pickleball hangouts (Seneca Park). I really don’t know why I don’t go more often. Probably because I’m mostly hanging out with guys who always want to go to TJ’s instead. TJ’s does have the good rootbeer float.

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Anyway, here’s what I had that day: chicken salad sandwich in a croissant and chips. Denise had a quiche and salad.

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They also randomly delivered some cookies and a cup of French onion soup to our table. I wondered if it was because they were trying to impress Denise, who is kind of a big deal. I mean, she’s a household name around here.

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I’m not really into French onion soup, though I’m sure it’s very good, so it remained untouched. We were busy with conversation and enjoying the food that we did order that neither of us ended up eating the cookies either during lunch either. I did take those back to work and shared them with my friend Chris Townley.

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One of the best things about having lunch with Denise, besides the good conversation, is that she makes me feel totally normal. She takes pictures of her food too! One can never have too many food pictures and we sat by a window so we had excellent natural light. Anyway, are alike in that way. No one really understands my obsession with take food pics but she gets it.

I first met Denise through Twitter back in 2008 — the early days — but we hadn’t really done anything together since the Wichita Eagle dining panel ten years ago. I follow her on social media and we see each other at events like the Wichita Orpheum’s Celebrity & Chef Cookoff (not as much the last couple of years because of the pandemic). She did speak to my Rotary club last year to promote her book. Other than that, we’ve only really seen each other a few times.

Recently, she’s gotten into pickleball (as with the rest of the world) and someone referred her to me, which was perfect because we already knew each other. It made sense because everyone knows I am completely obsessed with the sport and it has consumed my life over the last three years. Conversation at lunch centered around pickleball which is one of my favorite topics to talk about — even to people who really don’t care to hear about it. Anyway, as someone who is new to the sport, she had a genuine curiosity and I was more than happy to fill the gaps.

Denise is now officially part of our Wichita Pickleball Facebook group that’s about 2,200 strong and I cannot wait to see her on the pickleball courts!

Until next time, GNG.

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