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Holiday Break

Posted on January 8, 2022 by under Hobbies, Pickleball.    

We had some great weather over the Christmas holiday. We had highs in the 70s! It was awesome! I pretty much played all day on Christmas Eve. First at Edgemoor Park with Jimmy Cho and crew and then later at Seneca Park with a bunch of other fellow pickleball addicts.

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Jimmy Cho

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Lonnie Lollar

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I took advantage of vacation time between Christmas and New Year, and even made it to Mulvane to play some pickleball with mom and dad.

Others I got to play with during the break include Mason McCanless, Tom Pham, and Karen Fox. Mason arranged play for us at Edgemoor Park on a cold morning when we were the only people playing — five courts empty except for ours.

Here are some clips from our games that day at Edgemoor.

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The next day I got to play with Jimmy Cho, Karen Fox, and Matt Nola. Matt and I are trying to get more games in together because we plan to play together in the US Open this year. That is, if we can make it through the lottery process.

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I need to switch back to playing with an Electrum paddle, though.

Here are some of the fun points we had. This next video contains highlights from our 22-minute game. Would you believe all of these rallies happened in one game only? That was a crazy, fun game!

You can watch the full game on YouTube here. It’s so great to have Jimmy back. I can’t wait to play with him some more. GNG.

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Open Play with the Pros

Posted on January 5, 2022 by under Events, Pickleball.    

Jack Sock came to Wichita last month. I took a vacation day so I could attend the “Open Play with the Pros” event at Chicken N Pickle featuring Jack Sock (world famous tennis pro), Lauren Stratman (the #1 female pickleball player on the APP Tour), Dylan Frazier (young, up and coming pickleball pro), and Jack Oxler (director of pickleball and resident pro at Kansas City Chicken N Pickle location).

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I originally signed up for the 10 AM session only but my Oklahoma friends Grant Bond and Alvaro Terron Gonzalez (pictured above with me and my friend Karen Fox) said they were coming and were signed up for the 1 PM session so then I signed up to attend the afternoon as well.

They actually ended up driving up on Thursday night and staying with Patrick Smith so they played a lot that weekend. My friend Donnie Lesperance, who works at Chicken N Pickle, texted me on Thursday to let me know that “my guys” were there. I didn’t come out that night but, when Karen texted me the next morning with a pic of her and Alvaro, I skedaddled over.

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I was going to be there for the 10 am open play session anyway so I basically just went an hour or so early. It worked out great because I got to watch Grant (Pat 2.0) play with Pat and Alvaro (Jay 2.0 aka “the Spanish Sensation”) play with Jocelyn “Jay” Devilliers. It was like seeing double. It was pretty much like an exhibition match for an audience of one.

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Here are some pics from that day. The above pic features Jen Reifschneider (aka Chef Jen or Lefty Jen), Lesli Toubassi (who gets mistaken for me sometimes so I consider her like a sister), and Lauren Stratman.

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This pic has Tami Racine and Ron Owens with me and Lauren.

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Of course, I look like a midget next to Jack Sock. LOL.

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It was fun watching them play a couple of games in between the two sessions.

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Hanging out with Alvaro.

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Lauren and Karen.

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With my buddy Matt Nola who hopefully will be playing with me at the Minto US Open Pickleball Championships in April.

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With Jack Oxler, plus Jody Vinson and Lonnie Lollar below.

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The guys were smart and stayed together so they had some super fun competitive games. Pictured below are Ev Kim (playing with Jack Sock) and Grant and Alvaro (who are playing together on the far end).

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With Dylan Frazier. He is the nicest guy ever! One night he was waiting for Jay at Chicken N Pickle and agreed to hit with me and we got two others to play with us and we actually got a few points in before Jay arrived.

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Here’s a pic of me and Dylan with Zach Nguyen and Matt Nola.

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I will leave you with a fun video montage that I made of some of the pics and video clips I took that day. Enjoy!

Until next time, GNG.

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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!

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

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Karen Fox and Janelle Lindeman.

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Tiffany Lesperance, Debbie Fanning, and Brooke Ayala.

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

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

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

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I had the crab cakes and they were fabulous.

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I heard the salmon was cooked to perfection.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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