Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Visit From Good Friends

Linda had a couple of days off in a row from work so she and Don and the boys headed down to Peace River to visit with us for the day. They arrived early so that Don could get in a little pickelball with the group. Despite the heavy rains the night before and the morning fog and mist, one court was dry enough for us to play before 9:00 am. Rich and I and Don headed for the courts while Linda decided to stay behind, enjoy the morning with a good book.

Rich and Dee were at the courts, so it was like 'old home week' with the five of us there from MeadowPointe. About 11:30 we headed back. I'm not sure how much reading Linda actually did ...........she looked VERY releaxed upon our return.

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By this time the fog had burned off and the air was getting a bit heavy. So we headed inside for a little lunch.
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A little later in the day - and after much conversation and catching up on what's been going on, it was time to stretch the legs. So we headed for a short walk with the 'boys' along the Peace River. Linda spotted the butterfly along the side of the trail. Even the dogs did not scare it away. Perfect photo opportunity.
Yes - look at the smiles now!!! A little pickleball, a refreshing nature walk and now we share a pitcher of Pina Coladas and toast to good friends.
It was back to the pickleball courts about 5:00 for Rich and Don, while Linda and I stay inside where it was a bit cooler. Burgers on the Grill with salad and beans finished off a perfect day and then we said "farewell" ...........for a little while anyway, to our friends.
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Off to Sun City Center

Just a quick update - Yesterday we headed out early and arrived at Kings Point in Sun City Center before 8:00am. Before heading back, we needed to make another stop in Sun City to drop off a USAPA Banner and stuff for the pickleball display table at the Sun City Annual Hi Neighbor Event.
Had a great time playing with the Sun City Crew . Grabbed a couple of pictures of Rich playing with some of the guys.
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ATTN: All pickleball players who are thinking of going to Kings Point in Sun City for the annual Winter In Paradise - Remember that third court (you can see if off to the left in this picture) that used to have a thousand different lines that were so confusing - and where nobody ever wanted to play? Well - you should see it now. They had all of the courts resurfaced and repainted. And yes - that third court now has pickleball lines ONLY. The courts look fantastic.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy Hour at Our Place

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Rich and Dee arrived here in Peace River a few days ago and were finally able to make it out to the pickleball courts yesterday (Monday). The weather was a bit crisp that morning; the temperatures dropping into the 40's overnight. So must of us were in our long pants and sweat shirts, but still ready to play. Most of the group went back and played again later in the afternoon - but we did an early dinner and Rich headed up to the clubhouse to shoot some pool. It was great seeing Rich and Dee again. It's been a while. When not out on the road in the RV, they often play with our MeadowPointe Group at home.
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Tonight the pickleball group stopped by our place for happy hour. As usual the food was great. No dinner required after this feast which included Gumbo with Rich, Mexican Casserole, Shrimp Salad, Dogs in the Blanket, Ham and Cream Cheese Roll ups and Hot and Spicey Franks. Add your favorite beverage, good friends and great conversation, perfect weather and the evening was most enjoyable.
Tomorrow Rich and I are headed over to Sun City Center to play with the group at Kings Point and then to drop of a banner and flyers to the Sun City Center Pickelball Club for their "Hi Neighbor" affair next month.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Despite the Weather - We have Fun, Food and Officially "Pickle" our newbies!

Saturday morning started like most every other morning - warm and lots of sunshine. The maintenance crew was out moving the fence around the pickleball courts. We had a few discussions with Elnor - and she is starting to get a few things done to make the courts a little safer for play. Those of you who play here know that the area behind the courts gets wet and muddy and we are constantly tracking onto the courts - and it makes the courts pretty slippery. We have three more feet of concrete at each end of the court so we don't have to stand in the dirt to serve. Moving the fence a little closer will allow us to retrieve the balls without walking in the dirt. The lines that are on the courts now are, yellow or light orange and have been burned into the concrete, so that any stain we put down, the lines still show through. The color for the courts has been picked out, with the approval of several of the plaers. The concrete will be stained an orange/maple color that should cover all the current lines on the court and the lines will be painted a dark blue. Elnor is purchasing a push broom for us and mats for the entrance area so we can clean our shoes before we enter the courts. It's not perfect folks, but it will be a lot more safe for all of us, and that's what's really important.

Anyway - by mid afternoon on Saturday - the cold front started to arrive; the breeze was a little cooler, the temperatures were falling. John and Shelly had planned a happy for early Saturday evening. The food was great, as usual. I think all RV'ers, and especially Pickleball RV'ers are great cooks and great happy hour hosts!

This piture should give you some idea of temperature that evening. Actually Buddy arrived in his new USAPA T-shirt - but snuck away to dress more appropriately. The sausage meatballs he made were excellent - next time it's this cold he'll have to make them HOT sausage meatballs.

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Meet our newest players to the game. In the top left corner is George and Marti. A few days ago we were all out playing on the courts when George was out for his daily run. As he ran past the courts we called him over and told him he needed to come out and learn to play pickleball. He was there the next morning ready to learn. He immediately went to the store and bought two wooden paddles and four balls. (And will probably upgrade the paddles before he leaves!). He was immediately"hooked" and told Marti she had to come and learn this game. They return home on Sunday to Inverness, Fl where they will begin to work with the Parks and Recreation Dept to get pickleball started there. Another couple that we just met this year is Bill and Marie - (lower right corner). No - they are not picklball players, but she makes a great tomato salad, and I hear she gives some pretty good hair cuts too!

But the "couple extraordinare" for the evening were our friends Jack and Diane. Diane took off for Ft. Lauderdale on Thursday - (which was actually her birthday), so we waited to celebrate until she came back. In the meantime, we learned that Jack had also celebrated his birthday the first of October - so we celebrated both! There was just one piece of the beautifully decorated chocolate chip cookie left - and they had to twist his arm, but "you know who" took it home!


This morning - I headed out for my morning walk,(it was only 47 degrees!) and then we headed to the courts. We knew it was going to be cold this morning, so everyone decided we wouldn't start play until 9:00. Our new player George- had to head out this morning, but wanted to play "just one more time"!!

There's Jack partnering with Buddy!

Posted by PicasaJack and Diane had heard about being "pickled" (probably at Chesapeake Bay, VA) and had mentioned several times during the week that they "wanted to be pickled". John and Shelly had already been through the official ceremony, so we invited our four newest players, George, Buddy, Diane and Jack and performed our "official" Pickle Ceremony. Everyone pledged to support and promote the game wherever their travels took them - to be good sports, to have fun and to promote our pickleball happy hours!! Each player received their very own pickle pin - and Buddy already has his proudly displayed on his cap!
The rest of the day? Well, Rich had a USAPA Board meeting that started at 3:00 and didn't end until after 6:00!!! A quick dinner of barbequed chicken and he's off to shoot some pool. Me? I'm here updating our BLOG!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Peaceful Afternoon Stroll

Late this afternoon, Rich and I headed out for a walk on the nature trail along the banks of the Peace River.

Signs along the way direct you to the various trails around the park and tell you the distance for each trail.
As we entered the park there are two trails. One to the left........................
The other on the Right ..............Guess I better follow Rich!
Just a few minutes on the trail, and even though the sun was still shining bright, it began to shower. No thunder, no lightening - so we decided to wait under a nearby tree.Posted by Picasa

The rain only lasted a minute or we continued along the way.
Several markers, like this one appear along the paths. When you walk this trail in the early morning you often see the turkey vultures nestled above in the trees.
Yes - alligators and snakes are just part of the natural Florida habitat.
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Always have to stop by this tree. Amazing. I'm sure several animals find there way here. The was one of our dog Beau's favorite places to visit. He always loved walking this trail.
One of the places along the trail where you can stop and enjoy nature at it's finest.
From the above resting area is where we often see Stumpy, the neighborhood alligator sunning herself on the log on the other side of the river. She was named Stumpy, because she is missing one foot. As hard as this may be to believe - there is now a Stumpette. Yes a smaller gator with the same foot missing. Everyone who walks this trail, does so in hopes of seeing one of them enjoying the afternoon sun.
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A month from now this pot on the River will be filled with campers wading in the water, panning for a trophy shark's tooth. A favorite spot all winter long.
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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy Hour at Travis' Place

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Today we were back on the court at 8:00 am to play pickleball. John and Shelley took the day off, but the rest of us were there. We're trying to decide who among us is the best to approach Elnor, the park manager about the condition of the pickleball court. No decision yet!
Travis is leaving the park in the morning and heading for Orlando for two weeks. Then he'll be back here. The picklers got together tonight for a small happy hour. We all brougt some treats and met at Travis' site. After a little wine, beer, soda, crackers, cheese, pickles, pizza and chips we gave Travis his final hug and handshake. He'll probably be gone before we hit the courts in the morning.

Friday, October 9, 2009

We've arrived at Peace River

We are now spending two weeks at the Thousand Trails RV Park in Wauchula, Fl. Upon arrival we spent several hours washing down the 5th wheel that had been in storage all summer long. Not a fun time at all!! After several hours we parked on the last site in the G row.

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We haven't gotten completely set up - the rugs aren't down yet and the area needs a little raking and week pulling - but the site is huge with lots of room for happy hours!
It wasn't until after we had parked the 5th wheel that we took a look at the pickleball courts. When we last spoke with the manager here, we were told that picklball was the most poplar sport at the campground, and the one that got the most complaints. For that reason the courts were going to be repaired, made bigger, new posts/nets put in and made more safe for play ( painted and concrete poured where the grass/mud currently was. Not sure who they got to do the job, but it's worse now than it was before. A much larger muddy/grassy area since the fence was moved. Two feet of concrete was poured at each base line. It is rough and pitched nicely toward the courts, making it perfect for rain to puddle nicely on the courts. Apparantly the money was spent on Bocce Courts!

Any way, there are a few pickleball players in the park, and we did go down the last couple of mornings to play. The air is thick, the sun is hot - and since the courts are still facing in and east/west direction - the sun on one side of the court prevents you from seeing the ball. Pickleball players still find a way to have a good time.
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This is Buddy and Jack (His name is John - but everyone calls him John)
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Most of you reading this Blog know Travis Weaver!! Here he is will Shelly Zukas. Her husband John also plays, but was not at the court today.

Here is Diane and Rich. Diane is Jack's wife. Originally from New Jersey (she) and Pennsylvania (him), they are now full time RV'ers. They'll be here for three weeks, then up in Orlando for three weeks, then back here. Diane has a disease (can't remember the name) but it's a hardening of the lungs, which causes her to regularly have oxygen. She and her doctor are so surprised that since starting to play pickleball she has not needed the oxygen. I think we got a pickleball player for life here!! Seriously though, that is truly amazing.
I love this picture! No Rich (in his pickleball bug shirt) is Not the referee for this game, but laughs as I did when Travis went to hit an overhead shot, but instead the paddle flew out of his hand. Can't belive I just happened to snap the picture at the right time.
Best shot of the day!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tampa Bay Senior Games

Today we headed over to Sun City Center, Fl, where the 2009 Tampa Bay Pickleball Games were being held. I watched and took pictures today, and spent time catching up with friends we hadn't seen in a while. Rich played doubles with Mark Telfer, from Sebring. They made their way through their age bracket without losing a game............until the gold medal match where they paired up against a couple from The Villages. They played very good and took home the Silver.

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He played with Linda Kramer in the mixed doubles. They have not played together since last year when they took the Gold in the Heartland Games and Lee County Games. They got to practice together for a couple of days when Linda visited with us. Today they played very well. Like the doubles they made it through the age bracket without losing a game, but lost in the final match again Pepe (The Villages) and his partner from Plantation (Leesburg). They looked great on the courts.

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The above is pictures of some of our friends that were also participating in the tournament today. Nadine and Louann, Gary and Nancy all finished with medals (ribbons) today. Congratulations to everyone! As usual the folks from Hillsborough County put on another great event.

Monday, October 5, 2009

We Both Medal at the Pickleball National Games

We were back at CB Smith Park, Saturday morning by 11:30 for the championship games. The pool play was over, players were seeded and the competition brackets were posted. Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for the champions were on display.

The day began with men's and woman's doubles competition, followed by the mixed doubles play. Each team played the best 2 out of 3 games to 11 points, win by 2. The losing team moved to the losers bracket, with a chance to come back for the gold playing one game to 15, win by 2, and then the final match which was the best 2 out of 3 to 11 points.

Rich and his partner Bob Huskey from Opelika, AL, took the gold medal in their division. Bob is only 59, so Rich had to play down in 55-59 age bracket. They defeated all teams in both the 55-59 and 6o-65 age brackets in pool play to be seeded number one in the championship games. They had never played together before. Bob has his own courts, but not many players at home in AL, so he practices with his ball machine. Great Job Guys!!!

ME - well I went with Rich to the games to help Nancy and David - and of course with my camera. They were in need of one more player, so I agreed to play. In the woman's doubles 55-59, I teamed up with Nancy Jordan. We lost both of our games in the pool play, but ended up with the Bronze Medal. The picture is of Marth and Laurie who are from Arizona and two of the best woman players I have met. Laurie loves to train an coach players almost as much as she likes to play the game, and she spent a lot of time working with me. Her help definately paid off. Most of you are used to hearing Rich and I talk about "Coach Mo" --- well Laurie is a female "Coach Mo". I will definately look her up when/if we get out to Arizona! Not hard to tell we were having a great time!! BFF as Nancy would say!

Linda Kramer wasn't able to make the Nationals, so Rich teamed up with Roxanne Ware from Texas. Like his doubles partner - they had never played together before. The picture above is the group of mixed doubles players inthe 60-64 age bracket. It took them a few games to get used to playing together. They lost a couple of their games in the pool play, but got on track for the championship games taking the Silver Medal.

Roxanne is the lady in the middle in the front row (yellow shirt).

There championship game for the gold/silver was the last game of the night, ending after 10:00 pm.

ME - well I also got to play in the mixed doubles. This time I was teamed up with David Jordan. In pool play, we lost one game, and won the other. I got some coaching from Laurie and headed into the championship matches. We lost our first game 11-5, and the second game 11-0 to Greg and Nancy. What a mess I was!!! We went to the losers bracket - it's double elimination, so we still had a chance to come back. And we did. We met up with Greg and Nancy again for a 15 game match for the Silver Medal - and we beat them 15-13.

The picture above is David and me, Tom and Coach Laurie, Nancy and Greg.

We met so many great people from across the country over the past four days and had a wonderful time. We would love to make the USAPA Nationals in Arizona - but afraid that's not in the budget this year!!

Rich had a waffle and I had a bagel early in the morning - and nothing but a banana and a few chips to get some salt back in the body. It was nearly 11:00 when we stopped at subway to pick up dinner on our way back to the hotel. We needed a good nights sleep. Sunday we were leaving early to get back to Wauchulla to get our 5th wheel out of storage. We were not looking forward to the long day ahead.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Thursday and Friday at the Championship Games

Thursday we were back at the courts for the men's and woman's doubles pool play. I wasn't able to get a lot of pictures of Rich and Bob playing, because at the same time I was playing my matches with Nancy Jordan. I think Nancy and I won one of our three games, while Rich and Bob did great winning all of their games - so they will for sure be seeded number one in their matches on Saturday. By the time we finished on Thursday - it was 1o:00 pm. We had not eaten since breakfast, so we stopped at Publix and picked up a six pack and two subs at subway. By the time we called it a day - it was after midnight.

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The singles matches were finishing up the first thing on Friday morning. We arrived back at the courts around 11:15 . Mixed doubles pool play started at 12:00. Rich and Roxy won two of their five games, but of the games that we lost was 15-14 - so close. I partnered with David Jordan. We only had to play two games today - Won one and lost one. Great game 15-14! It did rain a little bit in the afternoon which delayed play, but only for about 30 or 35 minutes. The games finished and we were back to the hotel by 4:30
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Tonight was player appreciation night. At 7:30 we all met poolside at the Hyatt Bonaventure, in Weston, Fl, which was the host hotel for the National Games. The finger food that we thought we were having turned out to be a great buffett, Turkey, gravy, squash, biscuites, salad, ziti, ravioli etc. and we each had two free drinks of our choice. The food was great, the hotel and pool was beautiful, the weather was perfect. It was a great night just getting to sit and talk with new found friends. We had a great time.!

Back on the courts tomorrow for the championship matches. Best two out of three. Will let you know how we make out!! Wish us luck!!!