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Mixed Doubles Fun

Posted on September 2, 2021 by under Community, Hobbies.    

Been enjoying some fabulous mixed doubles action the last few weeks. We had one of the best groups I’d ever had a couple of weeks ago thanks to my friend Kyle Starkel (Nick Soapdish). It all came together because I saw him on the waitlist for Debbie’s group so I knew he wanted to play. I wanted to play too but I couldn’t start at 10 AM like the others. I asked Kyle if he wanted to play 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM at Riverside Tennis Center instead and we could create a foursome.

He asked Lacy Waugh who happened to be available and then it was up to me to find a mixed partner. Lacy suggested I ask either Chris Heck, Steve Vetter or Jon Maugans. Chris had a tennis match in Topeka and Steve was going to be out of town that weekend. Jon is always kind of a meh-let-me-think-about-it-for-a-bit kind of guy so he told me to ask him again on Friday because he didn’t know what he was doing that weekend so early in the week. I think it was Wednesday when I was putting together play for Sunday.

So then I convinced my friend Ramon Lozano who was in town for the weekend to team up with Greta Siemens for Downtown YMCA Men’s Group’s charity tournament at Chicken N Pickle to stay an extra day and play with us on Sunday, to which he agreed. Unbeknownst to me, Lacy also asked Jon and, of course, Jon said yes to Lacy because Lacy is Lacy and I am just me. So then we had an extra person. I was stuck with either bumping either Ramon or Jon off, which I didn’t want to do, so I came up with the best solution. Add more courts and find more players to make it ladder play. But, once I got the all stars (Kyle, Lacy, Jon and Ramon) on board, it made it easier for the other better players to say yes so we ended up with Dave and Lori Belew and Heather Griffin.

It was quite an intimidating bunch, with me being the weakest link, to say the least. Thankfully, my friend Karen Fox really wanted to play so that gave me a reason to open up another court which we filled with players who are more my speed. It still turned out to be really fantastic group, though.

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Dave and I even had a little duet in between games. I have a ton of fun playing pickleball but this was seriously the most fun session I’ve had in a really long time.

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The last couple of Wednesdays, my mixed doubles partner Bo Tolbert and I have been practicing with Tony Mathews and Parrish Gumeringer after my Aqua Zumba class. The first week we won most of the games but lost quite a few times also. Last week we won all of the games but one. So this week I thought we could get a couple more mixed teams to play against for greater diversity. And also to make it more challenging.

It was definitely more challenging! We added a couple of 5.0s (Lacy and Steve) and a couple of 4.5s (Kim and Kyle). The teams were as follows: Ching and Bo, Parrish and Tony, Kim and Steve, and Lacy and Kyle. Lacy and Kyle did not lose a single game and pretty much owned winner court all session. We only played one game against Kim and Steve — the very first game, which we lost. And then after than our two teams bounced back and forth between winner and loser court, never meeting up again.

I really love it when higher level players play because it challenges me to be better. We got some great games in last night and I feel like as Bo and I learn each others strengths and weaknesses and how to effectively communicate with one another, we continue to get stronger as a team.

My other favorite pickleball play night is Tuesday, since Chicken N Pickle is in between league sessions. Michael and I have been doing different things the last few weeks. The first week we just did a regular ladder, where winners move up and losers move down (partners split at each rotation). I invited too many people to play so he fired me from setting up the play on Playtime Scheduler. The last could of times he set it up himself, hand-picking the players.

Last week, we did a “random partner” round robin tournament. All the guys picked numbers and all the girls picked numbers to determine teams. After that, you kept your same partner throughout the night. The team with the most wins won.

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Donnie Lesperance and Krystal Fosnight were the champs of our little round robin tournament that night. I drew Matthew Rochat as my partner, which I was super excited about because he is amazing, but he hurt himself in Jujitsu earlier that day so he couldn’t finish. He had to quit after the third game because he was hurting too much. We won two of our three games together (we lost the last one for obvious reasons, my partner was in pain) and then Caden Courter took over. Caden and I played pretty well together. We won two and lost two, so not a bad record over all. There was no way we could catch up to Donnie and Krystal, though, because they didn’t drop a single game and were flawless all night. I donated a couple of gift cards as prizes for the mini tournament and they definitely earned them.

The other night, Micheal set up the play again (I think I’m banned from setting these up forever) and we went back to a ladder format except only the winners moved. The losers stay on their same court. Partners still split each team but only the winners advanced to the next court. The only difference is at the top court, the winner stays and the loser gets to start over at the bottom. It’s a really challenging format and you really have to earn your way to the top. Once you make it there and you drop a game, it’s a grind to get back up.

I love playing mixed doubles specially these smaller invite only groups we’ve been playing. The level of play is pretty competitive and really makes you play harder. Some days are better than others but I feel like each day I play I’m getting better so that makes me feel good. Until next time. GNG.

Related Stories

  • Sunday Mixed at the Park on July 17, 2020
  • Pro Mixed Doubles Day on March 1, 2021
  • League Update on August 18, 2020
  • League Recap on November 6, 2019
  • Friday Night Fun on August 16, 2021

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