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Archive for the year 2021

Happy Hollitini Social

Posted on December 26, 2021 by under Events, Food and Drink.    

Debbie Fanning organized a fun holiday social at Todd Brian’s Brick Street Cafe & Tavern for the lady picklers a couple of weeks ago. It was so much fun!


Here’s a picture of me with Kimberly Howe and Tami Racine.


Karen Fox and Janelle Lindeman.


Tiffany Lesperance, Debbie Fanning, and Brooke Ayala.


Todd Brian’s is known for its fun and delicious martinis aka funtinis. They have 75 different flavors plus a special new holiday one.


I didn’t get pictures of all the food but I got a few.


I didn’t have them but the wings looked pretty good.


I had the crab cakes and they were fabulous.


I heard the salmon was cooked to perfection.


I used the opportunity to give the girls their presents — cute little fuzzy animal tape measure key chains, so they can measure the net whenever the need arises.


There were 12 of us at dinner. Clockwise from left: MariAnn Hereen, Karen Fox, Janelle Lindeman, Chandi Bongers, Melissa Burgess, Amy Jaramillo, Tiffany Lesperance, Debbie Fanning, Brooke Ayala, Kimberly Howe, and Tami Racine.


There were a few ladies who couldn’t make it due to schedule conflicts but it was a great turnout overall.


A few of us stuck around for some fun pictures with the big Christmas tree in the middle of Old Town Square after dinner.


Everyone had a lovely time. Here’s a fun video montage that I made of the various pictures and video clips we took that night.

I am so grateful that pickleball has brought all of us together. I just love these ladies. They are fun both on and off the pickleball court. Until next post, GNG.

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Holiday Mixed League Recap

Posted on December 23, 2021 by under Hobbies.    

As many of you know, I love playing with new people so this past league session I was super excited to have the opportunity to team up with Dustin Herman. I totally would have played with Jamie again because I felt like I had the best odds of winning league with him as my partner. We were #1 seed going into the league tournament the previous session but he was out of town for the tournament so we didn’t really get to put our team to the test.

So anyway, I asked Jamie if he wanted to play in mixed again but he said he was undecided because Klee Watchous asked him to play in men’s super competitive. I was waiting to sign up until I heard back from him. In the meantime, Colby Fugit and Dustin Herman were already signed up but Colby got mono so she would have have missed at least two of the five weeks so she asked me to take her place. I’m all about playing with different people so I sent her $50 over Venmo and took her spot.

Ironically, super competitive didn’t have enough teams so that league was canceled this last session. Jamie and I totally could have played together had I signed us up before all the spots were filled but I kinda sensed that he wasn’t feeling up to it so I didn’t want to sign up with someone who didn’t really want to play.

I absolutely loved playing with Dustin. On our first night of league, we played against Steve Vetter and Jen Tiano (Steve and Jen) and Ian Carr and Jen Reifschneider (Volley Llamas) and beat both teams in 2 games. Those were two of the toughest teams in league and we were able to beat them on our first time playing together. The session looked very promising.

Of course, most people don’t really try as hard until the league tournament night so that was the true test. We ended up being seeded #3 going into the tournament, which wasn’t really ideal. Byes are kind of hard because, for your first match, you end up playing against a team that’s already got one win under their belt. I wouldn’t have minded being a #1 or #2 seed with a bye because those teams are not as tough as the other ones but in the mixed competitive league the top six teams are all equally tough. Any of those teams could really win the league. It just depends on who makes the least amount of errors or who’s on fire that night.

We ended up having to play Scott Wolford and Jenny Cole (J & S) as our first match, which is unfortunate because they are super tough. We actually lost to them in pool play. Not only are they the defending champions from the last session, but they practice and drill together daily and they almost exclusively play with one another so they have tons of experience as mixed doubles team.

After that match we dropped to the opportunity bracket where we won against Bread and Butter (this would have been Adam and Kristina Korfhage but Daryn Hayner was subbing for Adam who was out of town that night) and also Double Trouble (Zach Nguyen and Fong Witte) before meeting back up with Volley Llamas, who were sent to the back draw by Steve and Jen. We ended up losing to Volley Llamas which ended our tournament run.


Steve and Jen won league this session which is pretty familiar territory for these two. They’ve won this league once or twice before and when they don’t win, they are usually in the finals. Here’s a video of some of the matches that night if you’d like to watch them. I always like to rewatch these and try to learn from them.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to play with Dustin. He is so much fun to play with. We got a few freebies off his serves and his drives which helped a ton. Colby is back this next session so I will be facing off against him at some point. As much fun as he is to play with, I have to say that I will probably have even more fun playing against him. I just thrive on playing against players who love to drive the ball and drive it hard. I enjoy using their own power and spin against them.

I’ll be teaming up with Tony Mathews this time. This is a new team up but we were actually supposed to play together the previous session when Jamie ended up taking Tony’s place last minute because he fell through. This time Tony and I are also playing in the Monday night Nahola league together so we will get to prepare for Tuesday night league by playing on Monday nights. It is shaping up to be another promising session. I can’t wait to get started!

Will let you know how it goes in a few weeks. Until then, GNG.

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A Special Saturday

Posted on December 20, 2021 by under Life.    

Brian and I had a fun but busy day the Saturday before last. I started with my Aqua Zumba class and then met Brian at the shooting range.


We had a quick lunch before parting ways. He had his things to do and then I went to Riverside to play some pickleball with Greta Siemens, Ian Carr, and Devon Fuller. Devon drove down to Wichita specially so we could practice.


While there we ran into Tara Snyder who was gracious enough to stop for a photo. Tara was a professional tennis player from 1995 to 2006 and reached her highest individual ranking in the WTA Tour in 1998 when she was ranked #33 in the world. She is quite famous among the tennis players in town and Greta was super excited to see her, and for our photo.


Later that night we went to Chad and Laura’s beer (and wine) gift exchange. It’s one of our favorite Christmas parties. We missed it last year because of the whole COVID thing so we were super thrilled that they were having it this year. Chad and Laura are such wonderful hosts.

Check out the highlights from the party in the below video montage.

Until next time, GNG.

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And That’s a Wrap

Posted on December 19, 2021 by under Hobbies.    

The women’s advanced league tournament finished last weekend and I’m happy to report that my doubles partner Anna Le and I won the league. It was a far cry from our last league together a year ago, when we only got to play together twice because COVID wreaked havoc on everything.

She missed a couple of weeks and I missed a couple of weeks and it was only a five week league so it was really rough. We did get to play together for the tournament but, as we hadn’t been playing together, we didn’t fare as well.

This time around, I was in great health and I didn’t miss any weeks at all. Anna missed a couple of weeks ago because she had a wedding out of town and I got my friend Brooke to fill in that night.


Brooke and I have played together in women’s league before too and she’s always down to be matchy-matchy so it was a lot of fun having her sub.


Brooke had never been to Snowbound so we went up there after for some post-pickleball league cocktails and of course some fun pics.



The following week Anna was back and we had a great tournament run. We lost to Sassy Cats (Susan and Janet) in pool play but the Social Dinkers (our team) prevailed on league tournament night. We had an undefeated run and didn’t drop a game until the championship. Despite losing the first game in the best 2 out of 3 match, we ended up winning the next two games so we didn’t need the game to 15 (which was nice to have in our back pocket, just in case).

This session has been super fun. Unfortunately, the women’s advanced league moves back to Thursdays next session and the time doesn’t work for me so I will be out at least until around this time next year when it moves back to Sundays.


Until then, that’s a wrap! GNG.

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Major League Pickleball – ICT Version

Posted on December 15, 2021 by under Community, Hobbies.    

I had the opportunity to participate in another team pickleball event recently. This time it was at Chicken N Pickle. This one was a little different than the Nahola team tournament that we did last month because it was patterned after Major League Pickleball (MLP) complete with a draft and everything.

We had 32 players participate — 16 men and 16 women — and broke out into 8 teams of 4 — 2 men and 2 women. They drew 8 guys randomly and made them team captains and then the captains drafted their team members via a snake draft (to make it more fair — so the captain who gets first pick doesn’t get to pick first every time). I was hoping to livestream the draft just like they did for the real MLP but Michael Harris (the man in charge) decided that it should be a private draft to avoid hurt feelings. I guess people get butt hurt when they are picked last. I can’t really relate because I have such thick skin but some people are very sensitive about this stuff. I told Michael that I don’t mind getting picked last. I’m just happy that I get to play. I mean, there are dozens of pickleball players who probably would have loved to have been invited to play in the first ever ICT MLP but it was a hand-picked select group so the fact that you’re one of the 32 lucky ones who get to join the fun means you’re already winning. But I often see things differently than most.

So they had a somewhat secret draft (it’s not really that private because they did it during the men’s league at CNP on a Wednesday night) and here’s how it turned out:


The captains drew for their pick order and our team captain Daniel Nguyen was lucky enough to get the first pick. Amazingly, he didn’t pick Steve Vetter who I think everyone pretty much assumed would be the #1 draft pick. I was going to tease Daniel and ask him how much Zach Nguyen (who got to pick second) paid him to not pick Steve. LOL.

Anyway, Matthew Rochat is actually an excellent first pick. He will forever be known as the #1 draft pick of the first ever ICT MLP event — a HUGE honor.

Later that night, Daniel messaged me on Facebook to ask for my number and I immediately knew I was on his team. When I found out who the rest of our teammates would be, I was stoked. Fong Witte was our other female team member and she is rock solid and I really enjoy playing with her. I was so excited! Specially after seeing the other team rosters, I thought our team looked pretty darn good. I already had visions of winning the whole thing.

Here are the teams:

Team 1: In It 2 Nguyen It
— Daniel Nguyen (captain)
— Matthew Rochat
— Fong Witte
— Ching Brubaker

Team 2: Tickle My Pickle (don’t ask)
— Zach Nguyen (captain)
— Steve Vetter
— Jody Vinson
— Deana Holman

Team 3: We’d Like to Speak to Your Manager
— Ian Carr (captain)
— Michael Harris
— Krista Crawford
— Karen Fox


Team 4: Watchous Win
— Klee Watchous (captain)
— Scott Wolford
— Karen Taylor
— Lesli Toubassi

Team 5: 3 Dinks and a Fireball
— Donnie Lesperance (captain)
— Bobby Weisbrodt
— Tiffany Lesperance
— Missina Sharp

Team 6: The Porn-stachers
— Kyle Starkel (captain)
— Jeff Bally
— Amy Jaramillo
— Rachel McMahon


Team 7: Old Man and His Posse
— Han You (captain)
— Tim Hereen
— Jen Reifschneider
— MariAnn Hereen

Team 8: 20/20
— Rick McKinney (captain)
— Adam Korfhage
— Jenny Cole
— Jen Tiano


Daniel didn’t really want to come up with a team name and, since I pictured our awesome team winning it all, I suggested we be #InIt2WinIt which later evolved into “In It 2 Nguyen It” after Daniel’s last name. Other team name ideas included Team Electrum (since Matthew, Daniel and I all play with Electrum paddles but we couldn’t do that because Fong plays with a Franklin) and Asian Sensations (which would have worked except for Matthew isn’t Asian). Someone on the Facebook suggested we could have been Matthew and the Asian Sensations, which is actually pretty clever and has a nice ring to it.


We actually did really well in our pool. The teams were randomly divided into two groups and we ended up in the same group as Tickle My Pickle, 3 Dinks and a Fireball, and 20/20. The match format is as follows:
— women’s doubles
— men’s doubles
— two rounds of mixed doubles
— optional team singles tie breaker (if needed)


The games are all one game to 15, win by 1 (normal scoring) — except for the singles round which is also one game to 15 but with rally scoring. A team can avoid the singles round by winning 3 out of the 4 games. But if it’s 2 and 2, then you go into a singles tie breaker. During pool play, we still played out the second mixed doubles games even if one team already won the first 3 games so that the remaining players could still get their game in; however, during the single elimination bracket play portion, we were running out of time of if one team sweeps the first 3 games then the other team just gets knocked out.

We came out on fire and won all four games — women’s doubles, men’s doubles, and both rounds of mixed doubles — for our first match of the day against Tickle My Pickle. I think it’s because Steve, who is not a morning person, wasn’t quite awake yet. Amazingly enough though, he was at CNP warming up a few minutes before 7 AM, which is completely unheard of — Steve usually doesn’t play any earlier than 9 or 10 AM. No singles for us that round!

Our next match was against 3 Dinks and Fireball. Fong and I lost to Tiffany and Missina but Daniel and Matthew won against Donnie and Bobbie. Before you play, there is a coin toss and the winner of the coin toss decides if they will release their mixed line up first or their singles line up (and the other team would do the opposite). Donnie decided they would release their mixed first, which meant our team was on the hook for releasing our singles line up first. We weren’t really all that concerned because we didn’t have to go into a singles tie breaker for our first match — but maybe we should have been, LOL. Their team had Bobby and Missina playing first. Since I usually struggle when playing against Donnie and Tiffany, we decided to have me and Matthew go first.

We really should have won but we had a ridiculous amount of unforced errors that game. I blame the fact that their team soundtrack was playing in the background. Here’s a video if you want to watch the massacre. It was brutal.

At this point, we were down 2-1 and we really need Fong and Daniel to win in order to force the singles tie breaker game. Luckily, Fong and Daniel came through, which kept us alive. The downside is that we had to release our singles player order first, which meant the other team got to dictate the match ups. They ended up winning the singles and taking the match.

Our final round robin match was against 20/20. That’s Rick, Jen T, Adam, and Jenny. Because there were only 3 round robin pool play matches, it made the seeding very interesting. A lot hung in the balance of that match. If we lost, our win-loss record would be tied with 3 Dinks and a Fireball but, since they beat us head-to-head, we would end up as #4 seed within our pool. However, if we won, then we would be tied with Tickle My Pickle who we beat head-to-head so then we would be the #1 seed. So wild.


Much like the match against 3 Dinks and a Fireball, out team lost women’s, won men’s, lost the first mixed doubles match up (me and Matthew), and won the second one (Fong and Daniel came through for us — again) to force the singles tie breaker. We kept our same order for singles — Matthew, Daniel, Fong and me — our strategy being to put our strongest singles players first because, with the rotation every four points, the weaker players may not get to play a second time (which would be a good thing).

Our team won singles and earned #1 seed for our pool. However, since the seeding was so random and out-of-whack anyway, it didn’t really mean anything other than determine who would play first in the single elimination bracket. Being #1 seed in Pool B meant we were playing the #4 seed of Pool A. But being number #4 seed didn’t really mean your team isn’t as strong because we could have easily been #4 in our pool depending on the outcome of that last match against 20/20.


Our ranking put us against Old Man and His Posse in the first round. This was actually the worse we’d ever played all day. We lost both our gender doubles games and now it came down to winning both of the mixed doubles matches, with the added pressure of the second mixed doubles game not being able to play if our first mixed doubles team loses because we were running out of time to finish the tournament (so Michael decided to start eliminating unnecessary games to save time). That said, since Fong and Daniel had been doing much better than me and Matthew, our team decided to have them go first. They had to play Jen and Han. While that game was going on, Matthew noticed that there was an open court, so he negotiated with Michael to let us play our mixed game as well. Since both games would be going on at the same time, it wouldn’t really prolong the match and this meant that Matthew and I could still get one extra game in no matter the outcome of Fong and Daniel’s game.

Matthew and I started with a huge deficit against Tim and MariAnn right off the bat. However, we made a good run after the side switch and came back to win it. All I could think of was that I could not let my teammates down. We desperately needed the singles tie breaker.

Funny thing is, though Matthew and I started after our other teammates had already played several points, we actually finished before Fong and Daniel. It was such a close game, which could have gone either way. In the end, Jen and Han prevailed which meant their team won 3-1 and therefore we did not get that singles tie breaker that we needed. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. LOL.

I think Brian was relieved because it gave us plenty of time to make our nail appointment, which we had already rescheduled after the Nahola team tournament ran long. Had my team done really well and made it to the championship, we would have had to miss our nail appointment — again. It all worked out for the best.

The tournament went on until about 5 PM so it ran two hours longer than scheduled. Michael had originally planned for us to play from 7 AM to 3 PM that day. In the end, the two teams that made it to the championship round were both #4 seeds in their respective pools which only affirms what I already knew — it’s pretty much a crap shoot. I mean, all of teams consisted of some really good players so it came down to the match ups and who played the cleanest games.


Old Man and His Posse (Han, Tim, MariAnn, and Jen) ended up winning the championship and own the bragging rights to being the first ever ICT MLP champions. The players who stuck around until the very end took this fun group picture. I wish we could have taken a group picture with all 32 players at the beginning because many of us had already left and our teams were eliminated from the tournament one at a time.

I had high hopes for my team at the start of the tournament but I am by no means upset about not winning. Win or lose, I’m happy either way as long as I get to play. I had an absolute blast playing in our first ever local MLP event and the team singles, which we tried so hard to avoid for every match, actually turned out to be my favorite of all the games. It was such a fun day and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Here’s a highlight video I made of that day:

Brian got a few games on the GoPro (before we ran out of space) and I have those up on YouTube here. Follow the link if you want to watch them.

Until next time. GNG.

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