Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wednesday, not Tuesday Pickleball. 12/28/2011

A beautiful day greeted we UPGers, and lots of others were enjoying Gower park as well. 5o degrees, sunny w/ a light breeze. Present and accounted for: Bob H, Ralph, Joanie and her granddaughters Prema and Sophia (ball shaggers extraordinaire), Mike, Steve, Ron, Sharon, Gary A and Claude. That should tally up to 9.
Stevo made a good call by cancelling our usual Tuesday session (rain in the AM, and big, big wind in the afternoon). Wed was the perfect day - or perfecter than Tue.
We played for 3 hours. Players peeled off as the session progressed, but not before lots of good games were recorded. The group slimmed down to five. Several more matches were conducted and hard fought - highlighted by some exceptional rallies and volleys. Sorry to say that there was an minor injury. But, it doesn't qualify as a 'during play' injury so gets no official ranking on our scale 10. The unlucky soul walked into one of the shin-high, brick pedestals while milling around and watching a match. Name withheld by request.
The photograph above may be copied, reproduced, retouched, sold, rented, given away, enlarged, graphically altered any which way, digitally enhanced or un-enhanced all at no cost and also without written permission. By the way: if this was a match-related injury, it would only rank as a 3.5.

Looks like Friday, December 30th is going to be a fine day for P'ball and our last session of 2011. Hope you all can find your way clear to join the fun. If you do, and even if you don't - hope you have a Happy New Year.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday Pickleball - December 23, 2011 Quintet

Five showed for p'ball on this beautiful day. 60 degrees, sunny, slight breeze. Present: Mike, Steve, Anne, Sharon and Ron. We played for two hours, switching players around after each match. Finished the session with a great Canadian Doubles match. Then, battled the traffic on the way home. Photos below were taken by Sharon. Ron and Steve (picture 1), took on Mike picture 2. Loads of fun.

Happy and safe Christmas and Holidays to all UPGers, wannabees and our millions of followers.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Damp Tuesday Pickleball - 12/20/2011

When you leave your comfy home to play Pickleball and you have to immediately turn on your windshield wipers - you rank as one or both of the following: 1) an eternal optimist, 2) not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Your choice. Six arrived at Gower park: Mike, Steve, Claude, Gary A, Sharon and Ron. But, to our credit, even our friend 'Hercules' - the tennis instructor - was teaching one of his students the finer points of the game with somewhat soggy tennis balls. P'balls don't get soggy though, so we carried on. The courts were wet but no puddles formed. Not right away. R and S practiced on one court while Claude, Gary A, Steve and Mike battled on the other. Then, the sprinkles turned into a light rain at which point Sharon had the good sense to retire to the car. We took a few minutes to perform The Passing of the Pickle to Gary A (originally presented to him in absentia during the Christmas Party (See the BLOG entry for December 14, 2011 - now slightly revised)).
The foursome above played more matches ignoring the inclementness (look it up!) after S and R departed.
Above: Sharon (aka Cupcake) in an un-posed action shot.
Here's hoping that we get to play the Friday before Christmas. Spike

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Friday Pickleball, tennis, basketball and a digger. Dec. 16, 2011.

When we arrived at the courts today they were crawling with tennis players (TPs). Three courts were occupied, but lucky for the TPs two courts we not taken so we quickly commandeered them. Ralph showed up after about a 6-week absence due to surgery. Good to see him back and in the game. That's Ralph above. Below: Jan 'leaps' over the net - demonstrating her agility and gazelle-like athleticism.
Present: Sharon, Mike, Johnny, Ron, Ralph, Lynne, Anne and Jan. We played lots of games but some players wandered off early so there was a shortage of players. Mike - who spied a lone basketball player headed that way and shot hoops for a while until there was a space for him in the next match.
Lynne, while lunging for a sideline shot took a digger and did a masterful job at it. Scuffed up her knee a bit. But, she brushed herself off and got right back in the game. All in all we had a nice day with temperature near 70 degrees, overcast and a little wind.

Happy shopping.

3rd Annual Christmas bash - December 14, 2011 & Passing of the Pickle history.

Thanks to Gary and Muriel we UPGers and friends had a very nice gathering at their lovely home in Simpsonville. Fifteen folks attended - all shown above minus Jan's friend George who took the photo. Pictured above more or less from left to right: Ann, Sharon, Ron, Muriel, Jan, Lynne, Josee, Claude, Mike, Hugh, Anne, Steve, Nicky and Gary. Yummies galore, spirits and Holiday Spirit prevailed. A good time was had by all. The highlight of the evening was the Passing of the Pickle - a tradition started in December 2009.

The tradition started when Mike and Ann acquired the pickle ornament shown above. During our 1st Christmas Party (December 15, 2009) at Corona's Mike awarded the Pickle to Lynn and Ken in recognition of their introduction of Pickleball to The Upstate (imported, by them from Florida). Below is an actual unretouched of Ken's hand holding the Pickle taken during the party on .
Soon after, Lynn and Ken left for a 3 month stint in Florida in preparation for their eventual relocation to the Sunshine State. They returned to Greenville for a few days in March 2010 and participated in a Pickleball session on March 16 at Timmons Park. On that occasion they presented the Pickle to Ron and Sharon for taking on the responsibilities of tending to the equipment, scheduling sessions and caring for the BLOG. Ron accepts the award below.
During our 2nd Annual Christmas/Holiday gathering at Jan's home on December 3, 2010 the award was presented to Steve (3rd recipient) for taking over the scheduling and equipment transportation duties while Ron and Sharon were traveling. Official, uncut photo below shows Steve graciously accepting the award while friends look on.
The 4th Passing of the Pickle (During the 3rd Annual Christmas Party) was somewhat unique in that the recipient was not present because he was out of state tending to his father. In true UPG form - the show must go on and all that - the presentation was made by Steve to Gary H who kindly received the Pickle on behalf of Gary A. Gary A received the award for the work he did organizing the UPGs participation in the Lake Lure Games this year, for volunteering for the 'Orderer of the Balls' position and for taking on other UPG missions.

But, that's not the end of the story.

Finally, on 12/20/2011 - a rainy day at Gower, with six UPGers present (others having to good sense to stay home) the Pickle was formally presented to Gary A by Steve (presentation pictured below). Sharon was also on hand for the playing session but had adjourned to the car when the rain picked up, just before this photo was snapped.
That's it folks.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday Pickleball - December 13, 2011

A sparkling day at Gower Park. Disc golfers were as busy as ever and two courts were occupied by tennis players. We UPGers - 10 strong - occupied Courts 2 & 3. Players: Josee, Claude, Anne, Sharon, Steve, Mike, Ron, Johnny, Carol and Joanie. Josee hasn't been around for a while. It took her a few matches to warm up, but when she did she dropped many a dink shot just over the net to the consternation of her unsuspecting opponents. Otherwise, we played for about 2-1/2 hours and had barrels of fun. The group eventually dwindled to 4 where Ron and Mike played Steve and Claude. Each team won one match - both hard fought 'guts' matches. A rubber game will be arranged. Best out of 5?; out of 7?
Above - clockwise starting at top L: Joanie and Johnny, Josee and Claude, Steve and Sharon, Claude.

There will be a Christmas party tonight (Wed. Dec 14th). Check your email. There will be a BLOG post about the much Heralded event. Stay tuned.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pickleball Report - Friday December 09/2011

That's Peter above. This is a return not a serve, so it's OK to be toeing the line. Si?

We had 11 players and none of the men noticed the eye candy on Court 1. The same ladies were playing tennis on Court 1 during our 12/02 outing but were not included in the list of  distractions in the BLOG for that date entitled Distractions Included. This omission was kindly and correctly pointed out by our very own Spidy-the-Lengthy. So, since the occurrence repeated itself - the reference is included here for your reading pleasure.

Players: Steve, Gary A, Peter, Ray, Jan, Johnny, Carol, Ron, Sharon, Claude and Lynne.

We occupied Courts 3 and 4 and kept them busy. Several matches were played on Court 4, before Stevo realized that the net had not been lowered. There was some good natured grumbling but the games went on with only one formal protest submitted.

Oh. Normally we don't include match scores - but, these two are worth mentioning: Yon editor made the foolish mistake of playing Claude in a singles match. Claude squeezed out a win 11-0. Then, yon editor and Stevie Wonder (Team Green) challenged Claude and Gary A (Team Blue) to a doubles match. It went well for Green eventually garnering an impressive lead of 10 - 3 and a sure win. The stands emptied at that point. But (please don't read any more if you are feint of heart) the Blues took the next 9 points for the win - even though Green-with-envy got the serve back 3 or 4 times. Yikes.
Above: Steve and Ray

See you on the courts ASAP.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Three came through - Tuesday, December 6, 2011.

Above: Group photo. From bottom, then clockwise: Spike, Stevie Wonder and Rambo.

Ok, granted the weather looked to be somewhat marginal in the Greenville area with a 70% chance of showers - but, it was supposed to start later in the day. Yon Editor and Steve showed up and didn' t even have to use our windshield wipers en route. We started brooming off one court; then Gary A arrived and we began playing Canadian Doubles. And, it started to drizzle. We carried on. The drizzle turned into a light rain. But, at least it was warm. Four matches later, with no injuries to report we called it quits.  The nice thing about playing in the rain is - that we had the courts to ourselves, there were no disc golf players about and there was almost almost no air traffic.
Friday looks to be more promising for p'ball. See you then.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Friday P'ball - 12/02/2011 - Distractions included.

Ok. Here's the scoop. We had a beautiful, bright, no-wind, long-shadow day, only a few distractions and 9 players: Mike, Steve, Gary A, Ron, Johnny, Joanie, Anne, Jan and Ray. We occupied 2 of the 3 center courts while the two end courts were busied with tennis players. And, we got along famously. We played for about 2-1/2 hours, shifted players around at will and enjoyed a sparkling day of p'ball and camaraderie. The thing about Gower Park is that you can always count on some distractions.
We have the final approach to Runway 1 of the Downtown Airport which is 3/4s of a mile away - (as the crow flies) and is directly over the courts. So, there's plenty of action overhead with planes coming and going - especially on Friday afternoons. Then, in the basketball courts adjacent to the p'ball courts - there was a lone basketball player practicing hoops - except he was playing with a football (or, a badly misshapen basketball). A disc golf players had one of his Frisbees land in the p'ball courts. This happens on occasion and one of our players usually retrieves the disc and after two or more tries flings it over the court fence. On this day, a disc golfer - whose disc landed un-noticed in the courts - deftly climbed over the 12 ft chain link fence, retrieved his projectile, then climbed back over the fence to meet up with his companions, apparently without injury. There is never a dull moment at Gower, but the courts are great, they dry quickly after a rain and the lines are easy to see. So, who's complaining?
 We had a good day with lots of action. Looking forward to the next session.
See you then.