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My Final Days of Freedom

Posted on March 28, 2020 by under Hobbies.    

I tried to get as much playing in as I could in the weeks leading up to the 30-day stay-at-home mandate in Sedgwick County. Several of our usual haunts had already shut down and there were only a couple of places left to play.


I played at Hoops, which isn’t even a place I would normally play at, a couple of nights. One night with the guys and then the next night with my girlfriends.


The night I was out with the girls, we decided to go to Stearman Field for dinner after. Here’s a fun #SocialDistancing pic that we took out on the patio.


Here are some pictures of dinner.



It was a Thursday night, a week before things got really serious. But even then, we were being very careful. We disinfected the balls carefully between games, sanitized our hands, and practiced good social distancing.

The next day, I spent six hours at Nahola. I had my final one-on-one training with Chris, played the Friday night open play from 5-7 PM, and then played in Debbie’s 7-9 PM private game. I was trying to squeeze every bit of pickleball I could play, fully expecting that my days of playing were numbered.

Nahola followed the other gyms and eventually closed also but they honored our reservations for the weekend. On Saturday I played with Debbie, Cameron, and Tommy and then on Sunday I played with Debbie, Tiffany, and Amy. I had a great time but it was bittersweet because I knew these were going to be my last games. We knew that it was only a matter of time before a 30-day stay-at-home order would be issued for our community.


The best thing about playing that weekend was running into Lori Belew at Nahola. She gave me her Mid-South tournament shirt. I was so thrilled. She’s one of my pickleball idols and to have something that came from her felt truly special.

The funniest thing to happen that weekend was when Tommy, Debbie, and I went to grab a bite at Merle’s after pickleball. Donnie and Tiffany happened to be there. They were already seated at a booth when the server asked if they were waiting for their pickleball friend to show up. They were regulars at Merle’s because this was a favorite spot after Friday night pickleball. I had never gone with them because I usually go straight home after.

Anyway, the server told them that their friend (Debbie) just walked in with her two kids (me and Tommy). That was hilarious! We had a kick out of it.


Here’s a picture of my club sandwich that day. It was delicious. It had been over ten years since I had been to Merle’s. My friend Jan first introduced me to the restaurant and we went there a few times for lunch back when we worked together. I had also been there a couple of times for bar poker years ago (back when bar poker was thing) but Brian doesn’t remember it. There were several restaurant closures in the last month. Merle’s was one of the few places that remained open.

The five of us had a great time eating and visiting. This was the last time I got to spend time with Tommy, Donnie, and Tiffany. I know I’m being overly dramatic but I really miss playing pickleball and I really miss my friends.

Debbie and I made plans to do some drills on Monday night but something came up and so I didn’t play. We did get together for drills at Seneca Park on Tuesday night. We ran into Dave and Lori Belew and they were just hitting back and forth. They weren’t expecting anyone else so the four of us ended up playing together. They even gave us pointers and feedback. It was so much fun. That was the last time I played pickleball because the next day the 30-day stay-at-home order for Sedgwick County officially started.

It’s only been four days since my last pickleball game but it feels like four months. I think the situation is exacerbated by the fact that I’ve been working from home for the last two weeks. I haven’t been out of the house since the stay-at-home order began and I’m absolutely going nuts. I am so ready for all of this to be over and for things to return to normal. Until we are all free again. GNG.

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