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