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First Time Back at CNP

Posted on May 13, 2020 by under Community, Hobbies.    

Chicken N Pickle reopened last week, which was just in time for our top contributor reward. A couple of months ago I decided to start giving prizes to recognize top contributors to our Wichita Pickleball Facebook group to encourage more engagement and activity within the group. We had planned a trip to Hilton Head Island and so I was thinking I would bring some Head swag back from Ansboury Academy which I could use as a prize.

Alas, that trip didn’t happen so I ended up just giving a $25 Amazon gift certificate to the winner who turned out to be Cameron. He immediately used it to buy some pickleballs, which makes sense because we are constantly breaking them.

For the month of April, rather than giving away another Amazon gift certificate, I decided the prize would be a one-hour court reservation at Chicken N Pickle. The condition was that, since I’m paying for the reservation, I would get to play but the winner would get to invite two others to play with us.

My friend Mark Smith ended up winning. When I reached out to him about the date and time that he would like to claim his reward, and agreed on Thursday, May 7, I found out that it was his birthday the very next day. So I ended up reserving an extra hour as his birthday present and he got two invite two additional people.

Here are some of our pictures from that evening…




Our group consisted of (from left) Mark’s siblings Kim Shea and Gregg Smith, Kim Knotts (Mark’s usual mixed doubles partner), Brooke Ayala (Kim Knotts’ doubles partner), and me. We probably could have invited more people to play with us but we were limited by Chicken N Pickle to six people per court based on the current social distancing rules. Everyone in the Wichita pickleball community is just so lovely and so much fun.


Kim Knotts even brought these delicious cupcakes for everyone.

Anyway, it was great to be back at Chicken N Pickle after being away for so long. I just love playing there because it’s an outside court surface but indoors. I’ve missed playing with these guys so much too so it was great to be together again.

It’s been super rainy this week so I’ve actually been hanging out at CNP quite a bit. Since making the court reservations for Mark’s top contributor reward last week, I’ve made a few more reservations.

Last night I was there to play with Jimmy Cho, Michael Cheung, and Ryan DeSantis. It was so much fun! Jimmy even complimented me on the progress I’ve made since the last time he’d seen me play. It made me feel good.

While we were playing, he gave me a couple of lobs that were unsuccessful for him and winners for me. I hit the first one in the air backwards as I was running to get it and ended up lobbing it right back. It landed in and neither Michael nor Jimmy could get to it. I ended up smashing the second lob for a winner. I think he was utterly surprised. I used to not know how to hit overheads but Chris Heck has been helping me and I can actually hit them now. I still flub them once in a while but I feel pretty good about hitting them now for the most part.

I’m playing at Chicken N Pickle again tonight. This time with my friends Tiffany Lesperance, Donnie Lesperance, and Steve Vetter. On Thursday I’m playing with Mark’s group. I’d be back again on Friday but I have a group lesson with my friends Karen Fox and Jenny Cole at Nahola.

I have some court reservations in queue for next week but I’m think I might reserve something for Saturday too because it’s supposed to be rainy that day. I need to figure out who’s available to play, though. Coordinating everyone’s schedules is usually the biggest challenge. Anyway, I’m super grateful to be playing again finally. Time to run off to Chicken N Pickle. Until next time. GNG.

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