A Touchy Subject

A TOUCHY SUBJECT
The point of introducing a new character, a female, to the story line was to have a fourth person to play doubles with. It also gave my writer’s block a challenge…to narrate from the perspective of Jean (the Scottish genie).

She will eventually, I hope, bring me a way to see clearly what it means to play a game in writing that connects to, and in a way, makes as much sense in life as hitting a pickleball.

REVISUALIZATION
Jean felt disoriented. She had been away for a long while. Her vision was blurred at first,… then everything cleared.

”I’m back”, she realized.

Sitting on a chair in front of her was a middle-aged man holding her lamp. He looked at her with a stunned expression.

”Who are you”, he sputtered?

”Who told you that you could touch my lamp”, she said angrily?

”I didn’t mean anything by it,… it was a mistake,… I’m sorry…”

She gave him a foul look. The man became pale, then he took a chance and gathered his courage. He raised the lamp.

”I found this”, he said, ” it…I don’t know, I felt like I was guided to find it”.

She was still irked, but there was something about the fellow that was vaguely familiar. It reminded her of… ”Oh my gosh”, she thought. She stared at the man with a sick feeling.

”Where’s William ”, she said in a strained voice,… ”where is William McLeod”?

The man’s face grew paler… he realized he had seen her before,… which would be impossible! He remembered her face though, because she was so beautiful! Dark hair, steel blue eyes, pale flawless complexion. He remembered seeing her when he was 5 years old.

He gulped, and spoke reluctantly,… ”He, my Grandpa McLeod, died in 1965”.

”Are you his genie ”, he asked her softly?”

Jean felt her face grow hot, she looked around the room, it looked like a den, there were books, a piano, a writing desk. ”A damn intellectual”, she thought.

”Listen to me fellah”, she spit out the words, ”you get out and get me a cup of strong tea!”

When he rose to leave she raged, ”Strong , you get me…. make sure it’s strong!”

After he left he heard him making noise in the kitchen. She covered her eyes with her hand and tears rolled through her fingers.

”Oh my Gawd”, she thought, ”William is dead, and I’m stuck with his wimpy grandson!”

…..to be continued next week.

PICKLEBALL PRIDE AND TENNIS PREJUDICE
Is it just me, or do you get ‘riled up’ when you hear this observation from a tennis player?…..

”Well, I’ve seen people playing pickleball. (A derisive chuckle)  I might take it up if I get too old and infirmed to play tennis”. (snorts and chuckles)

I’ve been racking my addled pickle brain, so I will have a ready reply….how about this one:

”Irony of ironies….I was thinking of switching to tennis when I’m too old to keep up with the fast pace of picklelating!”

I am asking for input from all you witty paddle packers .Please send in an appropriate response to defend the status of pickleball against unjustified racquet attacks!

TIPS FROM THE RITE WAY COACH – TIP # 9: Spinning the Ball
We have discussed most of the basics. What else is there? Plenty. Once you feel competent with the execution of the serve, the return of serve, volleying, lobbing and dining, there are variations that can accompany each of these shots. This involves the use of spin. There is no shortage of ways to spin the ball. Good players can spin the ball to the right or left or put spin on the ball to have it not bounce so high or, even, to pick up speed after the ball hits the court surface.

Let’s discuss how this is done. A ball hit on the right side of the surface will spin to your opponents’ right. Conversely, a ball struck on the left side will spin to your opponent’s left.

When struck on the bottom half of the ball you will impart back spin. The ball will not bounce so high.

When a ball is struck on the top half of the ball, you will give it top spin and it will pick up speed after it hits your opponent’s side of the court. These shots require practise. Partner practise or practise against a rebound board is advisable. Gradually you might introduce some of these spins into your game.

Spin shots can be used on all types of shots including your volley, ground stroke, or serves. As a defender, it is really important to watch how your opponent is striking the ball. If you notice him or her imparting spin on the ball you must be ready to react accordingly. As you watch their swing motion be ready to move to your right or left. Usually, a ball hit with a spin must be returned with a bit more of an upward motion than a normal ball. If a player is not used to playing with a person who likes to spin the ball he or she may wonder why so many of their shots keep going in the net , thus the need for more upward motion when returning a spinning ball.

Hope this helps…it seems there is always something new to learn in pickleball. That is what makes this game so interesting.

SPORTS ACTION AT THE NATIONALS IN KELOWNA
If Pam and I make it up to Kelowna, there are some matches I would love to see. Here is my list of my favourite players in each category:

  • MEN’S SINGLES – Wes Gabrielson, Mills Miller, Tim ( Puppet Master ) Nelson, Brian Asworth. (The P.M. is very skilled, however if I had to risk money, I would go with Wes Gabrielson)
  • WOMEN’S SINGLES – Christine Barksdale, Mona Burnett, Joy Leising. (Close, but for what it’s worth, I would go with Joy Leising)
  • MEN’S DOUBLES – Puppet Master and Wes Gabrielson, Steve Wong and Glenn Griffin, Mills Miller and Vonnie Major. (The dream team, P.M. and Wes, should dominate here)
  • WOMEN’S DOUBLES –  Luba Zhekhovskaya and Tonja Major, Christine Barksdale and Joy Leising, Mona Burnett and Gigi LeMaster. ( I can’t choose…..I like all three of these teams!)
  • MIXED DOUBLES – P.M. and Tonja Major, Wes Gabrielson and Christine Barksdale, Mills Miller and Joy Leising , Steve Wong and Luba Z. , Brian Ashworth and Mona Burnett, Maurice Parobec and Theresa Orcutt, Vonnie Major and Gigi LeMaster. (I’m using pure intuition here , and a bit of an upset…to go with Miller and Leising)

THE OLD SOFT SHOE:
I would love to watch any match with Wes Gabrielson in it. He doesn’t just move on the court, he ‘dances a lick’ around the court !

He’s sometimes a slow starter, but once he gets into the game ‘groove’, and does his ‘happy dance’ footwork, he pulls off some remarkable shots.

It’s hard not to smile if you think of that song, ‘Mr Bojangles’ , when you’re watching him play.

JLU

I am a subscriber to JENNIFER’S PICKLEBALL BLOG.

Below is the email I sent to Jennifer Lucore, and she replied right away:

GREETING FROM CANADA, EH

Hi Jennifer,

I think you’re a lot of fun to watch on your videos. Great job on your website!

I am a 65 year ‘young’ player from Victoria , B.C., and I have an email blog called CHALLENGE COURT that I send out to pickleballers in my ‘neck of the woods’,…so I will tell my readers to check out your blog .

I noticed that you are not registered to play in this year’s Western Canadian Nationals in Kelowna.

Are you going to play in the Eastern Nationals instead ?

Thanks for all you do for the game, 

Doug Baker.

To me:

Hello Doug! Thanks for the kind words, and yes I have the best time playing this awesome sport. I would love to read your blog, feel free to add my email to your list. And yes, that would be great if you told your readers about my blog. I so enjoy blogging , and wish I had more time to make it even better… As you know , so much fun pickleball (places and people), so little time:-)

Western Canada – yes I attended the first three years and a bit sad I won’t be there this year…but yes I am signed up for the Eastern Canada Nationals..Always fin to help on a ”First” tournament and it worked out that I was on the East coast at the same time.

If you are not subscribed to my blog, make sure you do because I will be giving away a paddle!

Victoria, B.C. is definitely on my list of places to visit and play…photos are beautiful, eh!

Jennifer Lucore

— As you can see from Jennifer’s letter,,, she is ‘good people’ . She is also a pickleballer that is like ‘poetry in motion’ to watch ,…. especially when she is playing singles , or when she is teamed up with her pal Alex Hamner in women’s doubles.

So……do yourself a favour and check out ‘Jennifer’s pickleball blog’.

VICTORIA PICKLEBALL DAY
Hey there picklenicklers , Tuesday July 7th is the first of what I will hope becomes an annual event at McMinn Park. If you haven’t been there, the parking is on Maplegrove St.

Bring your finger foods for a potluck at noon. Pickleballers start playing by 9am in this warm weather.

COMMENTS AND THANK YOU’S
My apologies to Nancy Stern and Theresa Orcutt , I said that they would be playing together at the Nationals, not so , Theresa is playing in the mixed doubles in the open category, and Nancy is playing in the Skills Groups( 4.5 Womens and Mixed )

A big thanks to all the people who continue to write in with their words of encouragement….. pickle well pals.

NEXT WEEK
Hopefully I will have some early tournament results from Kelowna.
Also…. Jean gets interested in McDeep’s philosophy?
Also… ideas for a pickle oasis in Victoria?
Also… who knows what’s inside the box wrapped up with tartan wrapping paper?

‘Pickle well’,

DJ BAKER.

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