Friday, July 29, 2011

Maiden Session - Gower Park. Friday, July 29, 2011

Twelve players were on hand to christen the newly surfaced courts at Gower Park. All five of them. The courts are blue as seen in the following photos with white tennis lines and light blue pickleball lines. And, a very nice surface. The lines are easy to see and the blue color is easy on the eyes. Players: Mike, Steve, Ralph, Johnny, Claude, Ray, Gary A, Bob T, Peter, Anne, Ron and Sharon.

We played on three courts for a while, but it was hot and folks were taking well deserved rests under the nearby tree, so we pretty much stuck to two courts for the 2-1/2 hours session. Several planes flew low overhead on their final approaches to the municipal airport. Sharon claimed she had arranged for celebratory flyovers - but, no one bought into that claim. New sights: A tank; A one-man basketball game, and two observers. Below: Even though today was UPG's first official session at Gower - Spike and Cupcake played for about 15 minutes on July 27 to take the honor of being the first to play p'ball on the new courts.

Court 3. Players taking advantage of the shade, with a tank simmering in the background.

Notice that the pickleball lines break everywhere that they intersect a tennis line. That method is very effective for delineating the different court boundaries. Already said once: but, very nice courts and a spanking job. Spike.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Timmons Swan Song? - Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fifteen players made it to the courts today. Before we got started, the squeegee squad, led by Spidy and Stevie Wonder removed most of the puddles and the 'elements' took care of the rest. Remember: there will be no more discussion about the conditions that have prevailed since mid April. Suffice it to say that as we played drips and drops were deposited on the courts and the splashes didn't come from the sky.

Players: Bob T, Bob H, Mike, Steve, Ralph, Peter, Gary A, Ray, Jan, Anne, Joanie, Johnny, Carol, Sharon and Ron.

We played hard an long, and many fine games were duly recorded in the record books. Highlight for some: Mr. Wonder and Rambo challenged Jan and yours truly to a final game as the rest of the players were re-hydrating. Jan commented in a most friendly way that out team was going to boot Steve's team in the rear - or, it was a statement something like that. Stevie made a gentlemanly retort suggesting that they would beat us handily and the game commenced with much attention from the remaining spectators. Jan's team pulled out all the stops and played brilliantly, garnering applause from the fans and overwhelming Steve's team with exquisite gazelle-like moves. Unfortunately, the sweet moves did not result any points so Steve and Rambo went on the edge their opponents 11-0.

Several of our players have checked out the Gowers' improvements during the re-surfacing process. Now, the proof is in the pudding. Because, we'll start playing there this coming Friday and you will be advised accordingly. Shade will be at a premium anytime after 6:00AM and before 8:00PM. There is a tree just outside the court entrance. So, some may cluster under it like range cattle - but, I doubt it. Any one with a solar phobia might want to consider bringing some sort of personal shade providing device (PSPD) like an umbrella or a wide-brimmed hat. We UPers are a tough lot, so we'll figure it out. Spike

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Johnny's Day - Friday, July 22, 2011 - Upstate Pickleball.

Johnny (Hoot) is featured today because it's his Birthday and he's an all-around nice guy. Plus, his darling wife Carole, who wasn't playing today, but was kind enough to stop by to deliver some scrumptious cookies. Hoot lucked out and didn't have to suffer through the UPG's off-key version of Happy Birthday. He departed just before we started tuning up. Smart move.
No more talk about the weather except to say that we dripped a lot. Twelve players were on hand: Gary A, Mike, Ralph, Peter, Anne, Jan, Johnny, Bob T, Claude, Steve, Sharon and Ron. We played for about 3 hours and had more than a few exciting matches. As previously noted, several teams have formed to participate in the Lake Lure games. So, these duos have been trying to get in at least a few games together during each session to work out any kinks in their play. So far, no kinks have been reported.
Maybe, just maybe we'll be playing at Gowers Park next week. We checked the courts out on Saturday, July 23rd. The finishing touches were in progress. Stay tuned. Also: several UPGers have expressed an interest in getting logo T-shirts. Steve has been in contact with a T-shirt firm and Sharon is compiling a list of sizes. A design has not been selected, but plenty of ideas have been suggested.
See you next week. Watch your email for details and the location of our next session. Spike

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tuesdayball and Steve's 54th - July, 19, 2011

Fifteen UPGers were on the scene today, and showed little concern for the hot, humid weather that has been our friend since mid-April. The courts were very puddled, but we managed to push most of the water off the playing surface with Stevie Wonder's 100-year old push broom with its withered bristles. Players: Bob H, Jan, Steve, Anne, Lynne, Carol, Johnny, Peter, Bob T, Joanie, Ralph, Gary A, Mike, Sharon and Ron.
Today was Steve's 54th Birthday and was duly celebrated with an only somewhat off-tune rendition of Happy Birthday and yummy home-made cupcakes kindly provided by Jan.
We also took time out to play many rousing p'ball matches. Jan (mentioned thrice, so far - at the cost of a hefty bribe) was on the winning side of 5 consecutive matches - which is some kind of record, but it is not known which one. Will check the archives and report. Below: That's Stevarino protecting the 'kitchen' with Carol (Lash) standing by.
Newsy stuff: Gary A - Commander-in-chief of the UPG Traveling Team reports that we now have 3 men's, 3 women's and 6 mixed teams that will participate in the Lake Lure Games. And: If all goes well, we may be able to start playing at Gowers next Tuesday (July 26th). Directions will be sent out via the UPG Communications Network Facilitator. Below: Bob T firing away, with Johnny holding back in reserve.

So, word has it that we'll be playing Friday (July 22nd) at Timmons. See you then. Spike

Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 12, 2011- P'ball

Fourteen players were on hand for another humid p'ball session at Timmons Park. Even at the 9:30AM start time the weather was steamy; the temp continued to rise as we progressed through the 3-hour session. Players: Steve, Mike, Ralph, Gary, Gary A, Bob H, Georgianna, Jan, Anne, Johnny, Joanie, Peter, Sharon and Ron.
Above: CW from top L: Dutchess, Buckeye, Ricky Ricardo, Pistol Pete and Jan. Below: Spidy and Joanie hitting to Gary and his partner.
There was lots of action on both courts and the H and H didn't seem to slow anyone down. Eight teams have been formed for the upcoming Hickory Nut Gorge Olympiad (Lake Lure). The teams have been practicing - by playing games together as opposed to our usual random method of forming teams. OBSERVED: some of the newly-formed teammates have been seen whispering, gesturing toward their opponents, and using not-so-subtle hand-signals. Apparently, this activity is related to a sophisticated playing strategy new to UPGers.

Below: CW from top L: Rambo/Dutchess, Rambo and Stevie Wonder/Joanie.

Otherwise: Bob H managed to hit himself in the mouth with his paddle. He ended up with a fat lip. Thankfully, his paddle is OK. Georgianna, visiting from AZ may, or may not, be back for one more session. In any case we enjoyed her company and her play. We UPGers have a standing invitation to visit her pals in AZ to play a little p'ball on dedicated courts.
So ends another day of play in Pickleballville, SC. Looks like we'll be at again on Friday, 7/15/11. See you then. Spike

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday P'ball - July 8, 2011

Another humid day, but that didn't keep the troops from coming out in full force. We had thirteen players including a guest - Georgianna - from Arizona visiting her friend Dodie who is from the Greenville area. The list: Mike, Ralph, Lynne, Joanie, Georgianna, Gary A, Bob H, Johnny, Carol, Steve, Claude, Sharon and yon editor-in-chief.
Joanie (with granddaughter Prema in tow) was back in action after a few weeks leave-of-absence. Didn't take her long to get back into the swing of things. Welcome back in the fold. Georgianna moved right into rotation and played many good games. She'll be back for a few more sessions. She is featured in the next collage. Her friend Dodie watched the matches and was kind enough not to look bored silly. How could she be with so much exciting action?
We played continuously for over 3 hours and probably all dropped a few pounds in the process. Some teams played practice sessions in preparation for the Lake Lure games. In our crowd - Spidy & Stevie Wonder are the team to beat in men's doubles. No simple chore. We UPGers are concentrating on more net play and are playing the occasional 'dink' shot. Encouragingly, a few of them have landed in bounds. Stevo has been hefting many lobs with high success rate. Darn it!

Note: The above photos, including the collages, can be enlarged by double clicking on them.

We'll be back in action next week so be sure to check your email.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It ain't the heat - it's the humidity - Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Well, the temperature managed to lag under 90 degrees, but the humidity easily topped that. So, it didn't take long for the troops to heat up and start dripping all over the courts. Eleven players present: Bob H, Steve, Mike, Pete, Lynne, Carol, Johnny, Gary, Ralph, Sharon and Ron. 
We played for about 2-1/2 hours, but the thick air drove off some of the players early. Several teams have been assembled for the Lake Lure event coming up in August. We are still waiting to hear from a few players who are traveling. Gary A is coordinating our participation in this event. So, check with him if you want to see about forming a team.
Some of the players have started playing together as teams to work out any kinks. Believe it or not, a few have surfaced (kinks, that is). It is expected that some of the 'flawed' play will be ironed out in the next few sessions. Yup.
Stay tuned for more info about the Lake Lure games and exciting announcements from Stevorama about upcoming UPG matches. And, thanks to Steve for taking care of the announcements.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday ball - July 1, 2011

Eleven players  were on hand for today's matches: Claude, Mike, Ralph, Gary, Gary A, Johnny, Joshua (Johnny's & Carol's son), Sharon, Peter, Lynne and Ron. We were busy on the courts, so there wasn't much time for photos. The picture above would indicate a lack of 'busyness', but, in fact it was taken during the only lull in activity. Really! We played hard and long - 3 hours to be exact. Joshua, visiting from Texas, gave p'ball a try for the first time. A youngster by our standards, he picked up the game immediately and after a few matches became a fierce and fearsome competitor. He now holds the UPG all-time vertical leap record of 3 feet 6.5 inches topping the old record of 6.5 inches. During his record-breaking leap - Josh pounded an overhand kill shot. Luckily it didn't land on the court nor was it embedded in an opponent. It inserted itself in the court fence and is there to this day (a true-likeness picture is available on request). Olympiad news: So far these teams have been set. Men's doubles: Spidy/Stevie Wonder and Spike/Gary. Mixed doubles: Spidy/Jan and Spike/Cupcake. The UPG has several more possibilities for teams which include: Men's and Women's Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Get yourself a partner pronto. Don't be left in the dust holding your sweaty sneakers. Gary A is coordinating the UPG involvement in the Games. Please contact him if you have any questions or if you want to participate. UPG NEEDS YOU!!!

See you on the courts.
Have a happy Independence Day