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Cincinnati Quickie

Posted on June 8, 2023 by under Pickleball, Travel.    

I traveled to Cincinnati last month to play in the APP Vlasic Classic in Cincinnati. I saw that someone I knew from Oklahoma was listed in mixed doubles without a partner so I asked if I could play with them to try and earn my “golden ticket” to Nationals for mixed doubles. I already had my “golden ticket” for singles and women’s doubles so I really just wanted to play mixed. It was a quick a trip as it could ever be. I literally flew in to Cincinnati on Saturday, played on Sunday, and flew back home on Monday.

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Brian dropped me off at the airport early on Saturday morning, May 13. I arrived in Cincinnati in the afternoon. Went to the hotel first to check in and then went to Sawyer Point Park (tournament venue) to watch the guys — Ryan Luelf and Eric Bunch — play. They played amazing the entire day. They went undefeated in the winner bracket and I honestly thought they would win the whole thing. However, they ended up losing to a team that they had already beaten in the championship match and finished in second place.

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Here’s a picture of Caroline Luelf, Ryan’s wife.

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Due to some rain delays throughout the day, the matches ran late into the evening. I think we were the last people to leave the park that night.

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Here’s a podium pic of the guys. Ryan is on the left and Eric is on the right.

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I’m glad that I didn’t have to play until the afternoon the next day so I could sleep in a little bit since we were there so late. I think Ryan and Caroline got to their Airbnb around midnight and then had to get up early the next morning because they were scheduled to play at 8 AM. I didn’t really end up sleeping in because I wanted to go to the park and watch their matches. I also need to get some feminine hygiene products (aka tampons) because shark week unexpectedly started early for me. I ended up taking an Uber to a Walgreens that I found on Google that (a) was in the same direction as the park, and (b) according to Google was open. Yes, I really did check. Unfortunately, Google let me down. The information online was outdated and the store turned out to be closed. It absolutely sucked for me because I paid money to Uber over there and they weren’t even open.

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Instead of taking a chance on Ubering to another Walgreens that may or may not be open, I decided to call Brian to help me navigate the downtown area. I thought, surely there’s a Walgreens nearby that I could walk to. He couldn’t find anything. Anyway, I saw this young woman walking and asked her if there as any kind of convenience store nearby (because most convenience stores carry tampons) and she pointed me in the direction of a store which I never did find. Lucky for me, I came across a Marriott hotel. I’d stayed at many Marriotts before and they always have a stash of tampons. I went in the lobby and they were able to help me. They let me take as many tampons as I wanted so I didn’t even have to go to Walgreens anymore. LOL.

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The Marriott wasn’t that far from the park so, rather than taking a car, I decided to just walk over there to save money. I walked by the Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds, and a few other sights. It actually worked out great.

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I walked along the river that separates Ohio from Kentucky and followed the path to the park. It was a nice day for a walk and I actually quite enjoyed my little adventure.

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Ran into Brendon Long at the tournament. He is an amazing pickleball player who I had seen on YouTube and Facebook livestreams several times. I met him for the first time at the US Open in Naples and it was a real treat to see him again at the Cincinnati tournament.

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The tournament itself was fine but I didn’t get the results I’d hoped so I still don’t have my mixed doubles “golden ticket” — we are back to the drawing board. Eric is an excellent player but not having played together much prior was a disadvantage. I’m going to try to qualify again in Kansas City in a couple of months. Hopefully, I’ll get my “golden ticket” for mixed then.

Until next time, GNG.

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