Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Time to reflect - UPG P'ball - Tuesday, December, 28, 2010

Eleven players were in action on this beautiful 40 + degree day: Ralph,  Gary, Steve, Jan, Joanie, Anne, Sharon, Peter, Mike, Claude and Ron.
It was a spectacular pickleball day and those who showed up were proof positive that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Sharon played brilliantly and was able to return some shots two or even three times in a row. Steve, complimented her profusely for her remarkable talent. Ron tried very hard to not play his usual hard core game and was able to leave the court without the need for subsequent medical attention at the ER. Mikey and Gary were unbelievable and everyone who saw them play , even passers by, were duly impressed. Anne, Jan,and Joanie smashed, bashed and pulled out all the rest of the stops to pulverize their opponents. Stevie Wonder, well what can I say, he was the Lebron James of pickleball. Ralph was formidable Ralph. If he put any more "English " on the ball it would go into outer space and Claude was Claude . Merci!!! We will miss him, his humor, and those balls he so innocently drops over the net. Sacre bleu!!! and Peter "played like a man". What more can I say. See you all Friday for more fun on the courts.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winter Solstice & P'ball - what a combo! Tuesday, 12/21/10

Temp was in the mid-40s, but it seemed a little raw. Good turnout. Players in action: Joanie, Peter, Mike, Bob H, Ralph, Gary, Sharon, Claude, Anne & John. This chronicler was on-site as well, but was on the Injured Reserve List. With the energetic help of Joanie's granddaughter Prema, I spent mucho time shagging balls. Joanie brought a plate of Christmas cookies and Peter some unspiked egg nog. So, between matches - and sometimes during matches - players took in the yummies. 

Sorry about no pictures. The UPG camera crew failed to charge the batteries of the camera. Another miserable failure.

Here we go. The troops kept both courts busy, and by the racket (pun intended), it was clear that at least some of the games were tight and exciting. Two players were observed weeping - so, the consensus from the UPG Analysts, is that they (the blubbering players) may have suffered a grievous loss. But, who can know for sure? Who keeps score anyway?

 The UPG is taking this Friday off (12/24) so folks can prepare for the holidays. Hope it is happy and safe. We are planning another P'ball session on Tuesday, Dec 28th and that may very well be our last match in twenty - ten (I like two thousand and ten better).

Happy Holidays.
Spike & Cupcake

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Where's Nantucket? - Friday, 12/17/2010 - Pickleball

The courts were wet when we first arrived, but Spidy was already on site swabbing away. At one point we had 5 players drying the courts. We let the sun and the light breeze finish the job. Present: Johnny, John, Bob H, Jan, Anne, Lynne, Joanie, Steve, Mike, Peter, Gary, Sharon and yours not-necessarily-truly. Qualifier: Ronaldo only played 1/2 a game due to a bum right arm. Johnny had a knee problem, but he played 4 or 5 matches; Stevie Wonder was a little out-of-sorts, but he played most of the time when he was able to remain vertical. That left 9 perfectly healthy players (and Steve) who played for 2-1/2 hours under bright sun and a light breeze - that mostly pestered John. Temp: Low 50s.
Near the end of the session, and while everyone was still on the court - yon Editor and loving wife Cupcake were very surprised and pleased to be presented with a generous gift certificate for Rick Erwin's West End Grill (Nantucket Seafood Grill) and a very nice card thanking us for tending to the Upstate Pickleball Group. Ed Note:  His Loquaciousness Spidy thought a gift certificate for Chick-fil-A would be more fitting for the occasion (or,  for the recipients), but thankfully, he was overruled by the rest of the troops.
Above: Cupcake & Spike read  the card while Pit Bull and Spidy look on to help with 'big' words.
Below: Sophie tends to her dog. She also helped out by shagging a few balls for the players who were burning up the courts - especially firecrackers Pit Bull, Ace and Joanie.
We'll be playing on Tuesday (the 21st) whether or not the weather permits. Stay tuned.

Thanks P'ballers. We are humbled by your thoughtfulness.

Spike & Cupcake

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Weather or not. P'ball - Tuesday, 12/14/10

Cold-weather toughies: L-R: Peter, Anne (Pit Bull), Jan, Steve (Stevie Wonder), Sharon (Cupcake) and yon editor (Spike). That should tally up to about a half dozen. This event, with the temperatures hovering right around the freezing point - sets an all-time World record for cold-temp P'ball matches - played outdoors. The temperature was recorded on an official scientific instrument that is often loaned to the National Weather Service (see below).
Six players didn't quite fill the courts, so we played doubles on one court and half-court singles on the other. There were a lot of missed balls because Spidy wasn't here to direct his partners: "you got, I got, we both got, who got?" But, we carried on for 1-1/2 hours. Taking breaks was a chilly affair (that's Jan below - bundled up).
Below: Cupcake dressed for the conditions.
Should be a playable day on Friday the 17th. Watch for the e-mail announcement.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

The UPG Blob. P'ball - Friday, Dec. 12, 2010.

Fifteen p'ballers showed up for court action. Nice day, too. Players: Johnny, Carol, Catherine, Lynne,     Bob H, Mike, Ralph, Steve, Norma, Jan, John, Gary,  Anne, Sharon and yon Blobist  Blogist. The pictures say it all.                                                          Below: Hoot hammering.
Below: Ralph returning.

Below: Covered Carol stands by as Slamming Stevorama lets one fly.

Below: Spike and Norma. Photo by Catherine
 Below: Catherine and Gary closing in on the kitchen.
A bunch of players showed up at the start of the session; others trickled in as the matches progressed and others departed early. So, even thought we had 15 players overall, they were never there all at once, so we managed to keep almost everyone occupied almost all of the time. We had a fun 40 + degree day, played scads of matches and toughed it out for 2-1/2 hours.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Hardy or Foolhardy" - Tuesday 12/07/10 P'ball

"Hardy or Foolhardy". That quote of the day is graciously attributed to Spidy. We were milling around between matches commenting on the brisk weather. Someone said we were hardy and Spidy responded with this nugget: are we hardy or foolhardy? A fair question. The temperature was 36 degrees when we started and reached all the way up to a balmy 41 degrees when we quit 2-1/2 hours later. Above: Cupcake and Pit Bull fight the elements: Chilly-Weather and Sun-in-the Face. Present: Sharon (Cupcake), Anne (Pit Bull), Mike (Spidy), Mike B, Steve (Stevie Wonder), Peter, Joanie, Claude & Ron (Spike).
Above: Spidy and his shadow each send the ball for a ride.
Above: Everyone is bundled up, but no one packed it in because of the temp. We had to contend with some breezy moments as well. Bottom line: No problem. We came to have some fun and that's what we did.
We'll be at it again on Friday, December 10th. Check your email.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

P'balling and partying - Friday, 12/03/10

We had nine players today including a newbie to the World of Pickleball - Norma. She is a tennis player, so started getting into the game after missing her first few shoots which tennis players traditionally do. Also present: Lynne (and Bridgett), Steve, Mike, Ralph, Jan, John. Sharon and yon fabricator. We had a bright day; the wind didn't pick until later so we had to suffer without its influence (and excuses) for the first several rounds. Above: Spidy (L) and Ralph scrapping for the ball. Below: (L-R): Norma-the-new, Cupcake and Stevie Wonder taking life easy.
PM: Jan hosted a very well attended and stocked 'holiday' party (in deference to you PCers). Our 2nd annual party. Plenty of P'ballers and loved ones present and each brought food and goodies to share. P'ballers struggled to recognize each other - without shorts, knee braces, cool movie star shades and ridiculous hats. But, we managed.
Above: The 3rd and time-honored UPG tradition of The Passing of the Pickle takes place as hundreds of P'ballers look on. Note: This was 3rd Passing of the Pickle  ceremony (See December 2012 BLOGS for details). 
Stevo earned the award because he - without regard for life, limb or his sterling reputation - took on the scheduling, gear-toting and event reporting duties for our group while those that normally have those duties were gallivanting and/or roving. Stevorama also was 90% correct at predicting the weather 35% of the time. Great jobs Mr. Wonder.
Above: P'ballers and pals ponder. (L-R): Half of Gary, Nikki, Bad-Boy Bill, Hoot  and Joanie-Of-Arc.
Below: Lightened-up-moment. (L-R): Peter, Lash, some one's north end, Gary and Steve.
Thanks to Jan for taking on this group of good friends - a mix of P'ballers and hikers and their cohorts. And, thanks to Too-Tall-Ben for making sure everyone had their choice of beverages and a place to sit.

P'ball is where it's at!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gale-force P'ball - Wed, 12/01/10

Wednesday P'ball. Nine players present: Steve, Johnny, Carol, Joanie, Jan, Peter, Claude, Sharon and Ron. It was a blustery day with potent wind conditions, but perhaps not the most squirrelly day in our history. But, the GNHA Historians are checking. Many fine games as usual including a 14-12 match. Peter (above) added some excitement to the day when he took what would be best described as a 'digger'. If it was a 'dive', he would have earned no more than a 5.6 (4.0 from the Russian judge). But, he came up smiling and carried on as all hard-core P'ballers do.
Joanie (above) like the rest of us was bundled up at first, but as things heated up some she shed a few layers.

Three duds dudes showed up unannounced. We took a vote and allowed them to play. L-R: Claude, Spike and Stevie Wonder. The guy in the middle is really much taller than his two partners-in-crime. Trick photography accounts for the distortion. Yup. Below: More shadowy folks. L-R: Yon Editor, Lash and Hoot. The distortion is very evident in this photo!
We will be playing again on Friday, December 3rd. It will be chilly so bring some warm stuff. See you then.
Also: Thanks to Steve for taking care of the UPG gear over Thanksgiving.

Special Edition - Florida P'ball: Sunday, 11/28/10

While in FL for a Thanksgiving family gathering, we visited with Ken and Lynn (founders of Upstate pickleball and the Upstate Pickleball Group). K and L live in a very nice community in Leesburg, FL and are lucky enough to reside in the heart of central Florida's Pickleball country. They have excellent facilities for indoor and outdoor p'ball in their community. There are nearby communities that have exceptional facilities as well - and, loads of players.

We had the pleasure of playing with about 12 other players on indoor tennis courts, which are capable of supporting 4 p'ball courts. Three courts were set up in about 10 minutes.

Like the UPG, the players rotate often. Unlike our crowd, the FL troops rotate players by the order in which they sit on a row of chairs near the court. We line up our paddles; they line up their torsos. Works like a charm.

A bunch of good players; they hang around the kitchen and they love kill shots. I have a nice, round, purple bruise on my chest to prove it.

Great folks and lots of fun, too.
We had a nice visit as can be seen above. K and L brought us to The Villages where we poked around, then had a tasty diner in an excellent seafood restaurant.

See next post.

Spike and Cupcake

Monday, November 29, 2010

Windy Tuesday. November 23, 2010 - REPORT

As reported by Stevie Wonder: Then, slightly modified. Very windy day - enough so that some p'ballers swung at - and sometimes missed the ball by several yards. Well, it wasn't really reported that way. Anyway: eight players showed up - including long lost Claude. Here is the official attendance: Mike, Claude, Gary, Jan, Joanie, Johnny, Carol and His Leadership: Steve. They had a bunch of good games and carried on for 2-1/2 hours and were finally driven off by rain.

That's the short and sweet of it. Watching the weather.

Roving reporter

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fierce-Friday P'ball - Nov. 19, 2010

Fourteen players showed up on another beautiful SC day: Mike, Steve, Ralph, Anne, Lynne, Jan, Bob H, John, Johnny, Ray, Joanie, Gary, Sharon and Ron (Editor & exaggerator). There were lots of good matches and we carried on for over 2-1/2 hours. One problem, though. There is always ONE problem, it seems. This would be Callous Court Crossing (commonly know as the 3 C's). In this case, Gary no-nick-name walked directly through the 'kitchen' of Court One while a game was in progress. Eye- witnesses thought that perhaps Gary didn't know a match was in progress - even though the players were poised for action and one was ready to serve. But, he (the perp) did it again, this time with a telltale swagger. This flagrant disregard for P'ball Courtside Decorum, has been directed to the UPG Sanctioning Board for possible action. UPGers and cable news outlets will be informed when and if a penalty is levied.

One of the last matches of the day, and probably the finest - pitted Stevie Wonder and Gary against Spidy in a game of Canadian Doubles. An exceptional match to watch. The duo ganged up on Spidy and finally won the match 12-10. So, Spidy's undefeated record came to an end. Will he start another run?

Hope everyone has a blast at Tuesday's P'ball gathering. Have a Happy and safe Thanksgiving.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Humpday-P'ball. Nov. 17, 2010

We were rained out on Tuesday, so played on Wednesday and had a good turnout of eleven. Spidy was 1st on the scene - push broom in hand. By the time other troops showed up, the courts were almost as dry as a bone. Players: Mike, Johnny, Carol, Steve, Jan, Anne, Catherine, Mike B, Ray, Sharon and yon editor.

 As anyone can see from these photos (some taken by Catherines Courageous), we had a beautiful day and lots of action. Sun-in-the-face and cross-court breeze added a little interest and flair to the matches. The resident red-tailed hawk that happened by gave us pause for thought; we contemplated: who among us the hawk was most interested in.
There was one match that went into "overtime", a few near shutouts and a bunch of tight matches. We all had tons of fun including yon editor who had a grumpy spell - but, recovered.

One of our players is going to host a Christmas party. Details to follow.

Also: Does anyone have access to a digital video camera? I would like to replace the demo video on this BLOG because it doesn't even closely represent the way we UPGers play the game.

We will be playing again on Friday the 19th. Same time; same place. Check your email.

NOTE: All photos, including collages can be enlarged by double clicking on them.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Needy Knees - UPG - Friday, November 12, 2010

This post is dedicated to needy knees, careworn calves and angry ankles. "Careworn" is a stretch, but go with it anyway and save yourself the trouble of looking it up. Just a suggestion. UPGers play on. It doesn't hurt (clever play on words - no?) that some of us show up for the promised cookies, then feel this compelling urge to thrust our bodies about the courts as a sort of penance for careless calorie consumption.

P'ballers present (9): Mike, Steve, Johnny, Carol,Catherine the gracious, Lynne, Ray, Sharon & Ron.

                                          Above: Stevie Wonder & Hoot. Below: Ray & Ace.
Below: Here's the $1,000,000 question. Did Stevie Wonder 1: drill the ball into the net, 2: over the net, or 3: through the net. The UPG Photo Interpreter Team (PIT) is still trying to answer that question.
Above: Photo by Catherine. Spike is trying to fly, but hasn't even reached his amazing all-time-record, personal best vertical leap height of just over 6 inches. Below: Spidy lets one fly (the ball, that is) as Cupcake looks on.

                                                                    Below: Ace in action.
Below: What it is really all about! These goodies were hand made from some natural ingredients, low in everything evil, and high in everything else and tasty, too. Thanks to Cupcake and Catherine.
We had a good day of Pickleball, which is why we show up twice a week all year long and in spite of almost all cranky weather conditions. We laugh at aches and pains, except for pains-in-the-neck. And, we play hard-core Pickleball. That's the only way to play the game.

Speaking of cranky weather: Tuesday, 11/16 may be too 'marginal' to play w/ a 90% chance of rain predicted. So, watch for the e-mail announcements. For those of you who don't look at this BLOG - why don't you go ahead and ignore this paragraph. It's not a question.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

P'ball Essentials - November 9, 2010

Tuesday Pickleball. Another exciting day on the courts. Beautiful day and a good turnout of 11 players: Johnny, Carol, Gary, Mike, Ralph, Jan, Joanie, Mike B, Steve, Sharon and Ron. If there were any valid complaints about the day - sun-in-your-eyes may have been one of them. Remember your hat!!! Also, there was a what-if-a-ball-falls-out-of-your-pocket during play issue? The question is still unresolved, but the UPG Rules Committee will meet to discuss the topic at its meeting on the 5th Thurdsay of this month. Will report.
With 11 players and several quick matches, there was little down time, but we still had a few players banging away 2-1/2 hours after we started. Lots of good games as usual and tons of fun too.

We'll be playing on Friday 11/12 at 1:00PM. There will be some yummies there as well - compliments of Cupcake. Watch for the email schedule notification.

Labels by Ken
Thanks Ken. I had put in the labels, but must have messed up somewhere. (11/12/10)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

WX Shortened P'ball - Friday, 11/05/2010

Eleven players showed up today including world-traveler Mike-the-lengthy, and recuperating Bob (not Hopping or Hoppy at-the-moment). Other players of equal notoriety: Steve, Jan, Carol, Johnny, Joanie, Gary, Lynne, Sharon and Ron.
We got started just like any day, that is - folks kept showing up and filling the courts. As noted above, Buckeye returned after a several week absence due to an injury he received while doing household chores. Spidy also arrived - first of the scene, actually. As we dried the court then warmed up - he gave us a little rundown of his recent travels. We commenced playing while the temperature began to drop and black clouds circled us. 

Yon Editor is having nothing but trouble with this post. It's the most miserable program I've ever worked with. So, I'll finish with this. Eventually, we had a light rain and the weather looked to pose a real threat. So, our players started drifting away. We ended up playing on one court - first a doubles match, then a game of Canadian Doubles (cutthroat) and finally a singles match with Stevie Wonder vs Spidy. I have not heard who won the singles match or if Spidy or Mr Wonder toughed it out and had a match with just one of them in attendance. We'll find out.

Pictures above: 1. Spidy & Cupcake; 2. Jan lofts a lob as Lynne stands by; 3. Dark skies move in on us;
4. Ace tries to chase down a ball - probably out of reach.

Will see you next week.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tuesday P'ball w/ newbie - Oct 2, 2010

We had 11 players on this day including long-lost Anne and a new player - another Mike! This one: Mike B who never played P'ball before. We gave him about 10 minutes of practice and pointers, then he played his 1st match - which he won! He put on quite a few miles doing it.Welcome Mike B. Anne didn't take long to get back into her game - smoked more than a few balls - but, no one took a direct hit. Joanie - of the "lost jacket crowd" showed up with a batch of still-warm cookies which were a big hit. She also intended to retrieve a jacket that she had left behind - in a car during a recent hike. It was brought to p'ball but ended up being mistakenly taken by Jan who left a similar one in its place. The jacket my be destined just to travel about - and never be worn again by Joanie. Jan brought along her granddaughter Sophie - who liked the cookies quite a lot. She entertained herself while we entertained ourselves. Jan's daughter Kristin also stopped by for a short visit.
                                                           Above: Sophie and Jan.
Players: Jan, Joanie, Steve, Mike B, John, Gary, Sharon, Peter, Anne, Lynne and Ron.
Bright day with squirrelly winds, so no one was able to take advantage of it - except to use it as an occasional reason for flubbing the ball. The wind and sun-in-the-eyes made for some exciting matches, which -unfortunately - included a few shutouts; but they were later avenged. All in all, it was a swell p'ball day and we had barrels of fun and camaraderie. Calories, too.
Below: Joanie in action.
 Below: Clockwise from top L: Stevie Wonder, The Spinmaster, Peter and Mike B. 
Below: Clockwise from top L: Mr. Wonder and Pit Bull, Jan, yummies-by Joanie; Gary.
Note: You can enlarge any of these photos, including the collages, by left-clicking on the images.

Looks like we'll have good playing weather on Friday 11/05/10. The courts will be wet, but we'll take of that. Check your email for the Official UPG schedule announcement. Accept no substitutes.