Pickleball, Poetry and Player Profiles

by Pam & Doug

He stood on the court,
A proud and cheerful man.
This was his favourite time of day,
He had a paddle in his hand.

His wife was with him too.
Her volley shot, her claim to fame.
They faced two foes across the net,
to play a challenging game.

They used their skill and tried their best.
When all was said and done,
the foes they faced with confidence,
had scored eleven to none.

High were expectations,
at that happy and sunny resort.
Until a cloud of grey appeared,
Upon the pickling court.

The couple who were rated fives,
had made a zero score.
The winners were the Puppet Master,
with partner… Jennifer Lucore.

The moral it was clear that day.
I’m sure you feel the same.
It’s time to practice more dinks and drills,
when you have a pointless game.

The last time I was with the keeners, we were having a good time. We started out doing dinking.

Then we practiced one of the key elements to the game. You really need to stay loose to do this next skill.

Try to laugh a lot.

The drill goes like this: you stand at the base line, your partner serves, you return the ball so it drops into the kitchen. Simple, right?

Not really, it’s got to be one of the most difficult shots to master!

However, I think it’s necessary to practice and practice until you get that soft touch for that ‘essential’ shot in Pickleball….. the drop-shot.

Fun times!

Let’s try it again. Let’s go pickling and grinning at McMinn Park.

A lithe figure stands upon the stage. In her hand is a weapon, but on her face is an expression of calm, a look of confidence. All is still.

Then suddenly it happens, a projectile is flying towards her. It appears that she is helpless, but seemingly at the last moment, she reacts. She deflects the object back at her opponent!

He tries to deflect it, but it is too late. He is defeated.

This isn’t a scene from the movie ‘ Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’. No, the stage is a pickleball court, our heroine’s weapon is a paddle, and her name is Gwen Chew.

Doug –  What is your age?
Gwen –  I can’t enter the B.C. Senior Games yet but rest assured, I’m getting there.

Doug –  Anything you care to share about your family?
Gwen –  Except for my husband, all of my family is in Asia.

Doug –  Have you always enjoyed competitive sports?
Gwen – Not really. Maybe just a couple of badminton tournaments in High School eons ago and in recent years, Pickleball of course.

Doug – How did you discover Pickleball?
Gwen – One day a few years ago, my good friend Michelle Rafter wanted someone to go swimming with so we each bought a one month special pass that one can use for all the rec. centres in Victoria. On the way out from toweling off the chlorine, we happened to walk by the Pickleball court (in Esquimalt Rec. Centre) and saw people playing this interesting game through the glass door. We thought why don’t we give it a try and what do you know, we were immediately hooked.

Doug  – You have graceful moves on the court, have you studied ballet or martial arts?
Gwen –  As it happened Doug, I did have a few months of Karate lessons in high school.

Doug –  I think you have one of the hardest volley shots of any Victoria player, how do you generate so much power?
Gwen – I don’t know. Maybe by playing lots of badminton as a kid and by watching others play, I guess.

Doug – Is Terry (Glowczynski), your male tournament partner fun to play with?
Gwen – Yes, Terry is fun to play with as he is quite easy going. With his long reach and quickness, he gets all the overhead lobs for me.

Doug – Marilyn (Moen), your female tournament partner has quick hands. Who does the most poaching?
Gwen – Neither, but when either of us do poach, we both know it’s the right move.

Doug – Do you enjoy travelling? Are you a snowbird?
Gwen – Yes, last Fall I visited Phoenix and even played in the Nationals with Dave McNeill and Fion Chou. I would like to travel more in the future to play pickleball.

Doug – On an evening out, what would appeal to you more: Beer & Karaoke or Live Theatre & wine at intermission?
Gwen – I’m not much on alcohol but I do especially enjoy live music.

Doug – Last question Gwen – Us guys have big egos, is it fun to beat us?
Gwen – Hey Doug, did anyone tell you you’d make a great comedian? You are so very funny.

Thanks Gwen, you make me laugh too!

Last week we discussed the serve and the return of the serve.

OK….so you returned the serve and it was a good return, nice and deep, now what???

Well, this is where PB is different from most racquet sports like badminton or tennis.

When you hit a tennis ball you wait until your opponent returns the shot than you move to the ball to make your next shot. In PB you make your shot than move right away BEFORE your opponent makes his/her shot. You advance to a position to give you the best defense for your opponent’s shot. As your opponent sets to strike the ball, you must stop, set and watch what he/she is doing. Is their return hard, soft, or sliced to the side of you??? You then advance to the ball to make your next attempt.

Try to get up to the kitchen line. Is it imperative to get right to the kitchen line immediately after the return of serve? No!! Start your advance to the kitchen but remember, you must be set when your opponent strikes the ball. When you make your next return, you may safely advance to the kitchen line.

Lastly, when you return the serve and start your forward momentum, follow the path of the ball you just hit…. ie…. if you hit the ball to the opposite corner, follow the ball and it will take you toward the middle of the kitchen line. Your partner will move to the side the ball is on and will have to cover the line.

Remember, you don’t have to make it to the kitchen line in one go, after the return of serve and make sure you get set as your opponent gets ready to strike the ball.

Till next time……….. have fun pickling.

Doug… thanks coach for another excellent tip, I have found them helpful in my games.

I was thinking of sending an email to my daughter Heather. I thought though, since the message concerns pickleball, that my readers might enjoy seeing the letter as well. Heather, by the way, is a “Star Trek” fan, and lives in southern California. She is also a subscriber to the CHALLENGE COURT.

Hi Heather,

I heard from my pen pal, Yujoil Kowq, who lives on the planet Zweegh. It seems that Yuj is having a situation that you, living in arid California, may be able to relate to. They are having water restrictions on his home planet.

Yuj, and his fellow Zweeghians, play a form of pickleball, (plunkenwheedle.) But, due to the dry conditions, the players have decided to abandon their ritual of spitting on each other’s paddles at the end of each game. Instead, they are filling receptacles beside the courts.

These are quite large containers! Zweeghians produce a lot of facial fluids. Take it from me, you really don’t want to be around them when they have a cold!

Yuj says, when the spittoons are full, they take them down to irrigate the beds of Carfuzi plants that grow nearby the plunkenwheedle courts.

Wow, I think the Zweegh players should get a lot of credit for thinking of the environment.

Carfuzi plants, by the way, are carnivorous!

I just hope that Yuj is careful when he’s doing his watering. Yuj could easily lose a hoof if he stands too close!

I’ll let you know if I hear any more news. Bye for now.

Hugs, Dad

Pam and I received a message from our friends, Mel and Diane Hatton, who live in the Bend, Oregon area. They informed us that the Pine Nursery Park now has 16 pickleball courts, and eight of them are lighted. Great, that’s all the more reason to plan a trip down there!

Every week I have had wonderful, positive messages from everyone! Thanks.

However, I was somewhat concerned by one letter:

I received an email from Mike Kettering who was asking if I knew anything about some missing players. Please take note of my return email to Mike. I’m hoping someone can help with this mystery.

Mike……. Hi

I think Carly Cuke should be added to the list of sweet mixed pickle ballplayers that are missing. I’m pretty sure she played with your lost friends Bill Dill, Gary Gerkin, and one other lady….A. Lota Krunch.

I really liked that spirited group, as the saying goes, they played with a lot of relish. I wonder where they are now? While we’re on the subject, what about Gloria Ehgg (the great poacher). It’s been awhile since I’ve seen her around! I hope they are all safe. I wouldn’t want to think of them being in a ‘jam’.

I’ll put this letter in the CHALLENGE COURT, in case one of the readers has seen them.

Regards, Doug

Will include a player interview, Rite Way tip # 3, Deep Dinker profundity, and more bits and pieces from the literary scrap yard that I keep in the back room of our condo.

If you are a Mom, could you send me in your answer to this question, “What’s the best thing about being a Mother?” The answers will appear next week.

‘Pickle well’,


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3 Responses to Pickleball, Poetry and Player Profiles

  1. pamela edwards says:

    Great job Heather & Leaf. Love this website! We hope others will too. Looking forward to perusing through the articles!

    Thank you for taking the time to do this for your Dad and I.

    Love Dad & Pam xoxooxxo

  2. Pingback: Opening Serve - Challenge Court

  3. Hello Doug Baker, I just discovered your website; I enjoyed reading your pickleball poem. I, too, am a pickleball-playing (5 years, now) poet (and retired music professor). I have written a poem on the game of pickleball, also, and I’d like to send it to you, for possible publication on your website, at your discretion. Would this be a possibility? Please advise. Thank you. Sincerely, John Schechter

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