Less Pickle at Pearkes

Listed below are all the cancelled dates for Pickleball Jan – June 2016 at Pearkes Rec.

TUESDAYS – Canceled Mar 22 and June 21, 2016

WEDNESDAYS – Canceled Feb 17,24 and Mar 23, 2016

THURSDAYS – Canceled Jan 21, and Feb 18,25 and Mar 24, 31, and Apr 7 and May 5, 2016.

January 21, Febuary 17, 18, 24, 25, March 23, 24, 31, April 7, May 5, June 21.


Reaching Out To Miss Tolmie’s Neighbourhood

I learned something today…. Tolmie Park was named after a Miss Tolmie, who donated the land to Saanich in 1934. I found out this bit of historical trivia at a workshop for community input to make some improvements to the park. There was about 30 of us, including a pickleball faction, who were divided into 3 brainstorming tables. The recommendations included better winter drainage in the open field area, fencing and shade trees around the kid’s play areas, a chip trail winding around the park perimeter, a water fountain, temporary washroom facilities, and solar powered lighting for the walking path. It was a pleasant meeting, and I enjoyed getting to know the local neighbours. The Saanich representatives said they will take the communities input, and come up with possible plans for Tomie Park sometime in March. It will be good to see what they come up with.

Oh,..by the way,..in case you think us pickle-activists weren’t doing our jobs…We recommended that the lower tennis area be converted to 6 pickleball courts!…..6 dedicated courts…Wow!…Wouldn’t that be a sweet place to be in the outdoor playing season!

I’ll keep everyone posted when I hear anymore news, rumours, or innuendos about Miss Tolmie’s Playgrounds.


Being Green – Part 3, Ups and Downs

In 2014, Pamela and I were looking to the future, and dreaming of a life without having the stress of running our Tree Service. When you’ve been doing the same job for 42 years, you can begin to have issues,…physical and emotional problems can crop up. Being a self-employed arborist is not something an old guy should be doing. I had been climbing trees since 1972 and my knees were pretty ‘shot’. That was starting to affect my job performance, and, worse yet,…it was affecting my pickleball performance.

To compensate, I decided to try a different PB game strategy. I would try to position myself better. Instead of running after the ball,..I would change my timing, be patient, get set, and wait for the ball to come my way.

Another thing I began to think about was the creative aspect of the game. I began to see an artistic quality to a skilled pickleballer’s movements. I have written before of how I think of pro Wes Gabrielsen as Mr Bojangles. I love watching when he does his happy dance steps on the courts. On the women’s side, I like watching Jennifer Lucore’s graceful moves, but last year, I found someone whose style I also admire…Irina Tereshenko. She is very tall,…with some blue body makeup, Irina could pass for a Na’vi lady from the Avatar movies! When she moves, it is like every part of her is in motion. Also, Irina doesn’t like to hit the ball,…it’s like she doesn’t want to hurt it,….she chips the ball over the net and puts it in a place her opponents can’t get to. Ms. Tereshenko mainly plays and teaches tennis, but I’m hoping she comes back to pickleing, she is my new artistic ‘crush’. (video below)

While I was adapting my pickleing game to my reduced mobility, my creative writing work was becoming easier and more fluid. I challenged myself by trying different genres. I wrote fantasy, sic-fi, a detective story, a romance novella, poetry, and song lyrics. Then I had an ambitious story idea…it would be a coming of age book about 2 boys and 2 girls. It would be about feeling like you’re different, you don’t belong, typical teenage stuff…except one of the characters discovers there is a reason he doesn’t ‘fit in’.

I started working on the story in the summer of 2014, and I had it three quarters done by December. Then,…everything stopped! It was like a switch in my brain had been turned off. The project I had worked so hard on was dead. I tried leaving it alone and going on to a different story, but,…it was no good. I couldn’t write a damn thing! For me, a guy that lives a lot inside his head, that was upsetting! I also knew the type of person I was,..it would do no good to force myself to carry on with the work.

On Jan. 1st, 2015 I turned 65. Pam put on a nice celebration for me, with a ‘little help’ from some family and friends. Later that January, I went back to pickleing at Pearkes. It is a great place to play, and the people there are fun to hang out with.

I have a bit of a knack for creating short piano melodies. In the evenings, for intellectual exercise, I would work on music compositions instead of working on my stories. I had given up working on my book. I accepted the fact,…I had lost my gift of creative writing. But, for each of us, our life stories are viewed through the lens of our own desires….A small part of me wondered,…was there a way to find my ‘muse’? That spark of inspiration,…was there a way to get ‘it’ back?

Next week…Part 4, Being Green Again.

Here’s the link to a singles match with Irina Tereshenko and Christine McGrath at the 2014 Tournament of Champions



A Politically Incorrect Pickleballer’s Response to Terrorists (WARNING – Black humour alert!)

I have noticed that one of the early casualties in our present war has been the demise of the truth. This is definitely been the case with our world leaders. Their deceptions are understandable. They do not want to inflame religious or ethnic prejudices. So,…they do what is necessary to calm their constituents,…they lie! Our politicians reassure us that the precautions they have put in place will keep us safe, but,…you and I know differently,….we are in danger wherever we go these days. We could be killed at the mall, at a restaurant, walking in the park, or, heaven forbid,…at the pickleball courts! To me that is the last straw,…I have decided to face the challenge ‘head on’ by teaming up with a leading manufacturer of safety products to produce an exciting new line of pickleball products!!


Coming soon to quality e-retailers. SAFE CLOTHES INC introduces:

Cool-Kevlar pickleball tshirts, vests, ball caps and paddles. These colourful, lightweight (5-14 lbs), and fashionable items will make you the envy of the players at your rec centres and outdoor courts. They are attractive, but the best feature is,….they are all bulletproof!!

We all want to play our best game….Think how much better you will play when you know that small arms fire will bounce harmlessly off your clothing. You can even deflect rounds back at the bad guys with you ‘cool-kev’ PB paddle. (Note- video training provided online)

Strike back of freedom!…Be a player!!….Order your ‘safe gear’ soon, and,…be a survivor!!


Parting Comments

– Jeanne McTaggart is asking pickleballers who would like to help her in trying to get more playing times at Pearkes to contact her at:  jeanners1@hotmail.com

– A tap of the paddle to the Victoria medal winners at last weekends Byrne Creek Leos Charity Pickleball Tournament No. 2 (man that is a long name for a small event):

Wayne Russell won silver in singles, and gold in mixed doubles 3.5 with Kerry Savory!

Beverly De Haitre and Kerry Savory won gold in women’s 4.0 doubles!

– If there is a link that doesn’t connect when you receive your CC edition, try going to the website edition:      www.challengecourt.net

– to contact me at my personal website go to: douglas.baker50@gmail.com

Thanks for the game,

DJ Baker.


CROCK POT ALERT – This next section is a bagatelle for those of you who appreciate my exercises in imagination. Chapter One appeared in the Jan 4th edition of CC.

A Courtly Love – Chapter Two , The High Ground

After New Years, I went out to the Highlands to see Jean and Dalton. I knocked on the back door, but no one answered. Then I heard a noise coming from the pickleball courts. I walked up the hill and found Jean hitting a ball against the practice wall. She stopped when she saw me approach.

”Aye there Dawkless,” she said. ”You’ve caught me training in this daft sport. It’s such a waste of me time…but, you know,…since Dalton likes to play,…well,…I thought I might show him me form.”

I laughed, said hello, and stood admiring ‘her’ slim athletic form. She was wearing dark lined leotards, a tartan skater skirt, and a blue cotton sweater. Jean went over to the side bench, put down her paddle, and put on a hoodie. She smiled at me.

”Come away with me Dawk,” she said, ”I will show ya something.”

We left the court, and then Jean and I walked on a trail through the woods at the back of Yujoil’s estate. After ten minutes the path got steeper until we came to the top of a rocky knoll. She showed me where McDeep had cleared the brush from a small area.

”This is where the cabin will be,” she said.

I looked around at the surrounding hills,…the view was incredible. The wind was a bit thin and cool. I looked over at Jean. She smiled.

”Dalton says we’ll dwell here after we are wedded,” she said. Jean’s voice had a wistful lyrical tone. She had my full attention.

”Can you picture me as a bride, Dawkless,” she asked? There was nothing sophisticated in Jean’s question. She really wanted to know the answer, but,….it was an answer I couldn’t give.

”I don’t know what to say Jean,” I said. ”I’m sorry, I,..uh,..I don’t know. All I can say for sure is that I’ll do everything I can to help you.”

She looked at me. Her cheeks had turned a pretty shade of pink. It made her look very young and it made her look innocent.

”Dalton and I came here,” she spoke the words softly. ”We stood looking at the scenery for a moment. I touched his hand, and,…it felt fine. I turned to him  and he drew me close. I knew he wanted to kiss me. I was afraid, but,…Dalton looked so well, and…I wanted him sooo, that I took a chance.”

Jean looked at the distant hills.

”I thought,” she said, ”that maybe the curse was over.” Jean brought her hand up to protect her throat.

”It is meant to last,” she said sadly, but with a touch of pride. ”It is a well made spell…When I felt the touch of Dalton’s lips on mine,..it…I believe anyway,…that I felt something. You know,..before the black heart had his way…before he choked me….I think Dalton and I had a moment.”

Jean looked down at the ground. I sensed that she had finished her story. I touched her shoulder and she turned and walked back to Yujoil’s house. I made us a warm drink and sat with her at the kitchen table. Jean told me about being desired,…about giving,..and,…about her dreams. She wanted to be free of the lamp.

”That’s the only way,” she said. ”I can never love until I’m out.” I was feeling worried.

”Jean,” I asked her, ”Where’s Dalton?” She chewed on her thumb for a moment before answering.

”Dalton’s up there,” she said, and pointed North. ”He’s up on the hill, in the thickets, cutting poles to make our wee hoose. He’s getting prepared. Dalton says that you’ll think of a way to help me.” I looked at her in wonder..I had a flash,..an inspired idea!

”Jean,” I said excitedly, ”suppose I ask you for something. Your my genie,…you’d have to give me what I want. Suppose I make a wish…but the wish would be for you,…it would be for you Jean!”

She stared at me, and, for a moment, I had an image of a demon’s hands encircling my neck. Jean waved her hand and the vision passed.

”He can hear,” she said.

”Who,” I asked in fear? Jean shook her head.

”Be careful what you ask me, Dawkless,” she said. ”If you want to do something,..well..I’m not even sure that you can,…I think there is one wish you could make,…but I can’na tell you secrets. magic is like that.”

We talked for a while more, and then I left her. It had been an exhaustive visit. I was unsettled. I was angry….’Why the hell,’ I thought, ‘is it so difficult to change things?’

A week later I got a Skype call from my daughter. Pamela had told her I was brooding. Heather was on vacation…she was calling from Cyprus. She told me she had found someone that could help Jean and Dalton….A Djinn detective. I asked Heather if she would be in the story. She agreed and I felt relieved. I sensed that it was the right choice. A page had been turned. I was one step closer,..I felt temporarily optimistic,…the show would go on. I had scored a point, but, there was a lot more to do before the game was over, and…the rules were difficult….I had to find the right wish. I didn’t know what it could be.

I wished I had picked an easier tale.

…Coming soon,… Chapter Three.



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