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Archive for "Community"

Adaptable is My Middle Name

Posted on July 12, 2024 by under Community, Family.    

Several weeks ago, I was chatting with my friend Jenny Marcos. She’s the resident pickleball pro at Rose Creek Golf Club, a fancy schmancy country club in Edmond, Oklahoma. Anyway, I found out that she leads cardio pickleball on Saturday mornings. I’ve actually been asked to lead cardio pickleball before, but not having participated in one, I wasn’t really comfortable saying yes. I’ve attended cardio tennis at Genesis Health Clubs. I’m sure it’s similar but I really would rather not take on something, I know little about and have zero experience. When she told me about her class, I naturally asked if I could attend so I could learn more about it and perhaps take some notes so I can facilitate a similar class in the future.

We picked a Saturday in June which turned out to be the same Saturday that we were driving down to Oklahoma to have lunch with Brian’s parents. We were coming down to celebrate Brian’s 50th birthday and his mom and dad’s 51st wedding anniversary. Cardio pickle is at 9 AM in Edmond so I figured we could hit it on the way down to Oklahoma City, then meet for lunch, before driving back home to Wichita. Easy peazy.

The Friday before, I texted Jenny to confirm that cardio pickle is still on and to remind her that I’m coming. That’s when I found out that they actually canceled cardio pickle for that day because she, along with several others, were competing in the USSP tournament at Life Time that weekend. I immediately told Brian the good news — that we could sleep in on Saturday morning. He was actually not too thrilled about having to get up early and driving down first thing in the morning so we could make the 9 AM class but he was being a good sport about it.

Brian told his dad who asked if we still wanted to come down for lunch. He was worried that it was a long drive just to have lunch. To which Brian responded, “I’m sure Ching has some other plans that she hasn’t told me yet. She’ll probably bring it up over lunch. She’ll go, while we are here —”

Brian shared this conversation with me when he got home from work on Friday night. I was like, “Funny you said that. I was going to ask you if we could swing by the pickleball tournament to say hello to friends and watch some matches after lunch. But I wasn’t going to wait until we were there. I had planned to ask you tonight — like right now — because the restaurant is in the same area. We would literally be two minutes away.”

If there is one thing that you should know about me by now, it is that I always have a “Plan B.” I guess another good thing to note about me is that I’m really good at flexing. Famous coach John Wooden once said, “Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out.” This describes me to a tee. My life is not without hardships but somehow, whenever negative things happen (or things just don’t work out the way I’d hoped), I am really good at convincing myself that this is good thing. Finding the silver lining in any situation is one of my many talents.

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It was June 8 (I know the blog is super far behind). We didn’t have to get up early. Instead, we had a nice leisurely drive down to Oklahoma City. We met Brian’s parents at the P.F. Chang’s and had a lovely lunch. BTW, while we were there, we saw that they were building a Fogo De Chao (which is probably open now) so our next celebratory lunch or dinner will probably be there. I love the whole Brazilian churascaria thing but I just can’t justify going unless it’s a special occasion.

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After lunch we went to Life Time to cheer for our Wichita pals. Also go to see some Oklahoma friends who I hadn’t seen in a long time because I’ve been on a tournament sabbatical. But I realized that, just because I’m not playing, doesn’t mean that I can’t come watch and cheer for friends. It was wonderful to see everyone. I even got to see Gene Click who moved to Texas from Oklahoma about two years ago. He just happened to be there as well.

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Gene wasn’t the only surprise of the day. Famous pickleball pro Chris Haworth was also there watching friends play.

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And, even though I didn’t get to do cardio pickle with Jenny, at least I got to see her and watch her play.

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And I got to see some of my favorite Oklahomans — Kumar Krishnan, Josh McAllister, and his girlfriend Mackenzie Wood.

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And Danny McAllister, patriarch of the McAllister pickleball dynasty.

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And the lovely Deana Holman.

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Sure, the day didn’t turn out as planned. It actually turned out better!

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Picklemania MMXXII

Posted on June 10, 2024 by under Community, Pickleball.    

I know this recap is very, very late but it always takes me a while to recover from Picklemania. It is such a relief when it’s all over!

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A bunch of us met at the tournament on Friday afternoon to tape the courts, assemble the portable nets, and hang up signage. Since most of the volunteers were coming at 3 PM, and Brian couldn’t get off work until 3 o’clock, we decided to load up his car the night before so then he could come straight from work instead of driving home first and taking another 20 minutes to load the car. He had to go to work on Friday morning with his car like this.

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It didn’t take long to get all the signs hung up.

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Taping the courts went pretty smoothly also. Half of the courts were painted so we really only had to make six pickleball courts. And, the markings we left from the October Minor League Pickleball event were still there so the guys didn’t really have to do any measuring. That saved ton of time!

This is a little highlight video that I made of the entire day. Brian and I left the house around 6 AM to meet Devin at the venue at 6:30 AM so we could unload and assemble the Wichita Wagonmasters tent canopies. That was the only time that worked for him because he had another commitment that morning. The tournament technically didn’t start until 8:30 AM but there were some players who were there by 7 o’clock, before our check-in desk volunteers were even there and before we were completely set up. The one thing I can say about Wichita players, they are very enthusiastic and most of them show up an hour early to events. Early is always better than late but, if you’re not ready for them, it can be overwhelming.

We were worried about the weather leading up to the event and I had several people text me asking about our “weather contingency plan” but, other than being quite windy during parts of the day, the weather turned out perfect. We did run later than I expected but I think things went smoothly overall. The competition was intense in all divisions and our champions (we had 4 divisions of 8 teams each) really earned their medals.

I am so grateful to all the players, sponsors, and volunteers for making our annual pickleball tournament a huge success. Now off to planning next year’s event!

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It’s Pickleball Tournament Season Again

Posted on May 13, 2024 by under Community, Pickleball.    

Cinco de Mayo weekend was packed with tournaments but it’s only the beginning. Once we get to this time of year, I feel like there’s multiple tournaments competing for your attention every weekend.

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On Saturday, May 4, we were at Chicken N Pickle for Erica Case’s pickleball tournament to raise money for her Leukemia Lymphoma Society visionary of the year campaign. Ronnie, Jay, and Becca were actually playing in that one and they needed a fourth. I volunteered Brian. I hadn’t donated to Erica’s campaign yet at this point so I figured paying for Brian’s team was a good way to show my support.

The next day was the day of the first iPickle Nation 3-player team tournament which was held at Genesis Rock Road. We had just the right number of teams for the courts that we had. Katie Merrill and Deana Holman came up from Oklahoma to play. The event went pretty smoothly and we finished right on schedule.

Here’s a little highlight video that I made.

Speaking of iPN, the weekly Nation Builder Series round robins are back at Riverside. We are playing every Sunday starting at 9:30 AM (except June 16 because that’s the weekend of the Midwest pickleball tournament). You can sign up for the weekly iPN mini tournament here.

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Highlights from an Epic Pickleball Tournament

Posted on April 25, 2024 by under Community, Pickleball.    

I had the privilege of helping with the pickleball tournament at the Wichita Country Club benefiting the Wichita Children’s Home (WCH) again this year. WCH has two big fundraising events: “It’s a Big Dill” which was their pickleball tournament and “Fore the Kids” which was the golf tournament. This year they decided to combine both events into one truly epic weekend.

Festivities kicked off with the party at the Wichita Country Club on Friday night, April 12, followed by the pickleball tournament the next morning. The golf tournament was held on Monday at Terradyne Country Club.

My involvement is pretty much limited to pickleball but there are so many people who make the whole thing happen – from asking donors for sponsorships, inviting people to the party, recruiting players for both pickleball and golf, asking for donations for the live and silent auction packages, decorating for the party, helping at the party, setting up and tearing down the pickleball tournament – I am always super impressed at how seamlessly everything comes together.

This is one of my most favorite tournaments because the Wichita Country Club team is phenomenal. I’m used to doing everything – getting volunteers for taping, hanging sponsor banners, setting up nets etc., tearing down, running the event – but with WCH tournament, the country club staff pretty much has everything taken care of so all I really have to do is come up with the tournament format (we’ve been doing round robin into single elimination bracket) and put together the schedule/plan and then follow the schedule on the day. My job is super easy.

Anyway, if you are looking to play in this highly sought-after event next year, mark your calendar for April 12. Kickoff party will be Friday, April 11, and then the pickleball tournament is the next day. Hope to see you then!

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10 Years as a Rotarian

Posted on April 21, 2024 by under Community, Things to Do.    

This year marks my 10th year as a Rotarian. I joined in 2014 when I was looking to be more involved in the community. At the time my office was located at Douglas and Broadway so I was originally looking at the Rotary Club of Wichita which meets on Mondays at Botanica. However, they already had 400 members (and a few from my company) so my joining wasn’t likely to make much of a difference.

Living in Southeast Wichita, I was close to the Andover branch of the Greater Wichita YMCA so I was working there as a group fitness instructor in my off time. I also had a coworker David Austin, who was a member of the Rotary Club of Andover, and he invited me to visit. It was a small club consisting of only twenty or so members. Anyway, I ended up joining the Andover club because I felt like I would make much more of an impact there.

For such a small club, the Andover Rotary does a lot. We’ve contributed to so many things in the Andover community and internationally. We’ve also partnered with other Rotary clubs in the Wichita area on several initiatives. You can find out more about our club’s current and past projects here

Last month we sponsored food packing at Christ Church – East in partnership with the Outreach Program. Club members, along with volunteers from the church, Boy Scouts of America, and National Honors Society, participated in this community service project. The boxes of food packaged were donated to the Andover Community Food Pantry, Butler Community College Food Pantry, and Christ Church’s own ministry with North High School.

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Last week Rotary Club of Andover school mini grant recipients for the 2023-2024 school year (five teachers from the Andover school district along with their students) presented their community service projects to the club.

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I am so grateful to be part of a club that makes an impact in our community both directly (through our own community service projects) and indirectly by supporting and funding the projects of others. The school mini grant program is particularly meaningful because it encourages our youth to get involved in their community.

If you would like to learn more about our club, and/or support our projects and initiatives, we have a fundraising event next month at Crestview Country Club. It’s our annual team pickleball tournament. Spectator tickets (which cover lunch and drinks) are available for purchase here. We will also be raffling off some awesome prizes at the event. I hope you can make it.

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