Dreams are Like Wishes

I tried to explain to a friend, how for me, there is a risk in writing fiction. It’s not the dangers that I have in my ‘day job’. There are no chain saws or falling branches.

The problem for me, with visualizing characters, is that they become too real. ‘Too real’, that’s an odd phrase…..something is real or it’s not. There is no more, or less, to it.

Anyway, if you want to have a bit of fun, write something where your one of the characters. Then it is easy to become attached to the other people in the story. You may find it to be an interesting experience.

I hadn’t realized that I would become so attached to my Jean. She was actually supposed to be Dalton McDeep’s lady friend. They were going to elope and go to live on the planet Zweegh. I was going to be annoyed with all the interplanetary internet charges I accrued in keeping in touch with them.

But ,…. I need her,….

Dalton stood on the condo balcony looking down at Dewgie and the ‘new character’.

” This is ridiculous ”, he thought, ” he’s falling for that ‘lassie’ ”.

McDeep watched as they walked down the street towards the park.

” There’s no fool like an old….”, DD didn’t finish the thought because he realized it was a ‘cliche’.

Dalton hated trite sayings.

” I wish though ”, he mused, ” that Deejay had given me a role in this farce .He’s daft to bring a lady into this…into this..”

McDeep was stunned. He saw they had stopped at the corner. They turned and were looking back towards him. Somehow he knew what they were thinking…..” We’re sorry Dalton ”, they seemed to be saying, ” we didn’t mean for this to happen”.

Then Deep Dinker watched as Dewgie and Jean turned and walked onto the grass and continued to the next part of wherever,… the next scene , which was a while later.

At the south end of the park was a court. It was a warm night.

The couple played. Fearless shots, with acrobatic skill and impossible agility. The ball sailed back and forth in the moonlight. The volley continued as time seemed to go at its own sweet way.

” You play well ”, she said when he finally missed a backhand.

” For an old so’t ”, Dawkless asked her with a smile? She laughed.

” It’s the end of the story, isn’t it ”, he asked her?

” No ”, she said,” you’ll go on with it ”.

” I just won’t tell anyone where it goes from here ”, he asked her? Jean smiled.

” That is an idea ”, she said. Then Jean made a wish.

” We have to have our privacy ”, she said. He nodded.

With that, the written story was over. Goodbye Jean. Thanks for the game.

The following are interviews with 3 skilled pickleballers concerning what I consider to be the most exciting sport to watch….’singles pickleball’. Let’s get the inside scoop starting with the silver medalist in singles at this year’s tournament at Pearkes:

1.  Do you find it easier to play singles or doubles pickleball ?
Singles may seem simpler in strategy because there isn’t a lot of dink shots or touch shots at the net but it is quite a bit harder in regards to stamina and endurance and, it demands more athletic ability. You have to cover twice as much ground than in doubles and, you are almost always hitting shots on the run while trying to pick corners and hit shots deep.

I find singles easier only because my dinkshots are not my strength. Hitting it hard side to side with top spin is my strength,…. which is more effective in singles play.

2.  Do you have many players who like singles play at your club in Nanoose ? (Fairwinds Rec)
We only have a few players that like to play singles at our club; however, all the ones that do play are 4.5 players so there are some fierce battles! We probably scare off some of the others with our battle cries as we get pretty competitive, but there is never any heated moments. We always show good sportsmanship in the end. It’s a great group of guys.

3.  A few singles tips.
The first priority is to hit shots deep. It doesn’t necessarily need to be hard, but always think deep.

That allows you to get back into good position and it keeps the opponent away from the net. Conversely, when your opponent hits a shot middle court or shorter, attack to their backhand and charge the net. Half the time you won’t even need to hit the next shot because you have pressured them into an unforced error.

Pick on the backhand. Singles is a game of who has the better backhand. This goes for serving also. I serve predominately to the backhand. The chances of getting a short or middle court return are greater from the backhand side. And then attack!

NOTE – Ryner is the golf pro at Fairwinds. He is offering this deal:
Tell the Vic Pickleball players to contact me via email if they are interested in playing golf at Fairwinds. I would venture to say that I will give them a modest discount on green fees. The normal rack rate is $69 so somewhere around $59 for Victoria Pickleball players. How does that sound?

contact – rwilson@fairwinds.ca

Next up is pickleball instructor and silver medalist at the Canada National Western Tournament in mixed doubles.

Here are some strategies:

1.  Serve close to the centre of the back line as this gives you centre court positioning for the return shot. You need to have good center court positioning to move around to both edges of the court.

2.  Play about half a metre in from the baseline for groundstrokes.

3.  Do not rush up to the NVZ , wait until you have your opponent deep and out of position.

This last point is controversial, because Nancy chatted with a good singles player at the USA Nationals who said she liked to get to the NVZ early to force her opponents to make a lower percentage shot down the line.

Nancy personally has found it better to be patient in getting to the NVline.

The final contributor was the gold medalist in singles at the Pearkes tournament. I have put in the whole email he sent me because I think people will be interested in his adventures in preparing for and playing in the Eastern Nationals. Here is his story:

Hi Doug,

My tennis elbow ended up being so severe that I didn’t go out to play with Wes (Gabrielsen) on Thursday before Nationals last week , but I’m sure if you send him a request through Facebook he’d be more than happy to ‘friend’ you and answer some questions for you. I was really hoping to play Wes to see how my game has changed since I played him last year at the Nationals in Abbotsford. That was my first tournament and he’s been my hero since he beat me.

I met Jennifer (Lucore) before we started on Sunday and did spend a good 15 minutes chatting her. My plan was to get a picture with her when we were all done for the day, but I forgot to as I was distracted by nursing my arm. I’d love to play against her sometime!

As I just mentioned, my tennis elbow has been rather debilitating and really frustrating, especially since we flew all the way out to Toronto to play. I’m very thankful that my doubles partner, Binu Brar, is so understanding as I don’t like being the weak link (and I definitely was). We stayed with his cousin and his family in Brampton and they made me feel like one of the family; think they’ve become my adoptive East Indian family!

By the last 2 or 3 matches of the day my arm was so sore that just holding the racquet was becoming a problem. So looks like I won’t be playing any pickleball for the next month or so, and will instead focus on running and strengthening. I’m sure many of your readers can relate to the problems related to tennis elbow. I’ve just started using an exercise wand called the Flexbar (made by Theraband). Supposed to be one of the best ways to strengthen and prevent tennis elbow. We shall see….

I’ve been thinking about your questions, and wanted to let them mull around in my head a little before responding.

1.  Do you change anything in your serve , volley , or lob shots when you’re going out to play singles versus a doubles game ?
With singles I find that the most important thing I can do to control the game is hitting a very hard serve and also returning my opponents serve very hard to the corner. There’s obvious benefits to this in doubles, but it’s not nearly as important as in singles as it’s the only that you can get to the net and limit your opponents returning shot. My sole objective is to keep him moving and not give him a chance to set up and make the shot they want to. For indoor play, throwing up a lob to the corner over their back shoulder with LOTS of top spin is something I’ll do once or twice in a match if they play at the net lots to keep them honest. In doubles I try to keep any lobs down the middle. I have only played a few times outdoors, but with the wind element , it’s a very low percentage shot to make.

2.  Do you do much dinking when you’re playing against a high ranked singles opponent?
I personally don’t really do any dinking when playing singles. It might happen on the odd shot, but my preference is a shot that clears the net by 3 – 4 inches and lands roughly a foot behind the kitchen line down either side when my opponent is at the net.

3.   I’ve heard singles pickleball described as a simpler game than doubles. Any comment?
Maybe? Doubles certainly requires more discipline, but I think it’s really a different game and would say that singles is much more intense. In doubles you don’t really win points; you make sure you don’t lose them. In singles, you need to dictate, control the game, and make winning shots. Psychologically it’s a different mindset.

4.  Last question, what would be more fun for you…. winning gold at the Nationals in singles, or doubles?
Singles will always be my favourite. There’s something very satisfying about making winning shots as opposed to waiting for your opponent to give you a point.

Take care Doug and keep up the good work!


Thanks muchly to Ryner, Nancy, and Ryan for their thoughts. I hope their insights inspire some players to give the single side of pickleball a try.

NOTE – because of the length of the singles article, I have decided to send out this weeks’ CHALLENGE COURT in two installments. Part two will come out Tuesday or Wednesday.

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