Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sunday at Highlands Ridge

On Sunday Rich and I traveled to Avon Park to the active adult community of Highlands Ridge. It is an absolutely beautiful active adult golf community. They have two great picklball courts, situated far away from any of the homes where the ping of the ball will disturb no one and where they play on a regular basis.
Gary Schinderle (left/center above) who has been Rich's doubles partner at almost all the Senior Games this year in Florida. Gary and his wife Sue will be heading back to Michigan for the summer not too long from now. Several of the players there were interested in a pickleball skills clinic so Gary asked Rich if he would come over on Sunday and provide some skill/techniques training.

I can't even begin to remember all of their names, but they have some pretty darn good players there and they were all just so much fun to meet

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Final Happy Hour.........

Can't believe it's that time of year already. Where does the time go? It just seems to fly when you're with great people and good friends. As Spring works it's way, quickly, into the summer season our RV'ing friends begin their journeys north and west. So many of them will be spending next winter either in Southern California or Arizona.........and we will truly miss them.

Jerry and Vivian and Neil and Shirey will be on the road Monday, followed not far behind by Barb and Mitch, and Bob and Janet and our Happy Hour Couple and their Red Neck Castle - Jack and Diane. Art and Hedy already left ....and we were out of town and didn't get to say good bye. We said goodbye to Dean and Margie, and then Bill and Val earlier in the week. Buddy and Brenda and Rich and I will probably be the last to head out........... Thanks Diane and Jack for getting us all together today for our "good bye happy hour".
Safe travels to you all.... We'll look to see your names among the pickleball medal winners at the Nationals in AZ next year!!!! Keep Swinging!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Last Florida Senior Games for this year!

It was mid afternoon when we left Punta Gorda, so we decided not to stop for lunch and just make it an early dinner in Seminole. We stopped for something cold to drink and arrived at the La Quinta about 4:00pm.

We did a practice trip to the courts to make sure we could find them, and not be late in the morning. It was one of those days where we were both hungry, but not sure what we were hungry for, so we drove along Park Blvd, and down US-19. We spotted the Egg Platter, which was a place we had stopped at last year, and where Rich had his "Waffle A-La Mode". Tonight we both opted for one of the daily specials. Rich had post roast with mashed taters and gravy, and the beef was smothered with mushrooms. I had the grilled chicken topped with Swiss cheese, onions and peppers, and gave Rich my mushrooms. Both were very tasty! We had to make one more stop before we got back to the room: donuts for Rich, and a bottle of wine for me!

Check in was at 8:00 in the morning, and the games started at 9:00. They had a nice hospitality room set up for all the players with coffee, danish, granola bars and fruit in the morning, and cold cuts and chips for lunch.

Monday was the doubles competition, and we were a little disappointed when we learned that it would be a modified double elimination with rally scoring. The registration was not large, but they only had two indoor courts; but they would have had plenty of time to do regular scoring. Roger and Buddy were supposed to play together, but Buddy is still not able to play. They found Roger another partner. Unfortunately, he did not play at Buddy's level - so no medal today. Nadine played with Delores in the ladies doubles.

Rich played with Gary, his regular doubles partner, and the teams in his age division were pretty good, especially the team from The Villages. I played with Cathy Miller, who lives up in the Solivita community up near Kissimmee. I saw Rich with the camera - but I had not shown him how to use the "sport" setting, and then the batteries died!!!

Generally the games last well into the afternoon, but today we were back in the room by 2:00. That was fine with me.....I napped until dinner time! We had seen a place called Emily's Family Restaurant on the way back to the room, so we headed there and had a very nice Ravioli with meatsauce and salad. Made it back it time to watch "Dancing With the Stars!"

Back to the games on Tuesday morning for the mixed doubles. Roger was partnering up with Nadine, and Louann was supposed to play with Bruce. But Bruce had hurt his shoulder again, so they found her another guy to parter with.

In the mixed doubles Rich was playing with Cathy Miller, and I was playing with her husband, Gary. Gary and I played a team from Anna Maria Island our first match. What a great match! We lost our first game 11-8, and thought we might pull off the second game. We lost 18-16!! Then we met up with Rich and Cathy. Donald and Miller vs Donald and Miller!! Rich and Cathy took both games and that put Gary and I out of the competition. But it was one of the most fun matches any of us had played!.

Rich and Cathy took the Silver! Rich and Gary took the Gold!, Cathy and I took the Silver! Delores and Nadine took the Silver! Roger and Nadine took the Gold! And Louann ...............I'm not sure where she got those medals!!!

The games were over by noon and we headed back to Wauchula. Went over and visited with Roger and Linda and then Bill and Val stopped by to see how we made out at the tournament. Wednesday, Rich and Bill and Roger and Neil went down to the courts and played for a couple of hours, and on Thursday (today) all the ladies played at 8:00am, and Rich went down to Sebring to practice with Gary and Linda.

Tournaments are a lot of fun.........but you sure do get tired out!!!! No more for a couple of weeks and then we're off to Mandeville, La for the Mid South USAPA Tier 3 Regional Tournament!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day Two at Fit For Life Games

Today was day two at the Fit for Life Games at the South Region Park in Punta Gorda. The singles portion of the tournament was first, so we didn't need to check in for the mixed doubles until 10:30.

Bruce partnered up with Louann again today, and Nancy with her regular partner Mike. Gena had just come along today to be a spectator, but when they asked if there was a lady in the crowd who would fill in - Gena grabbed a paddle and partnered up with a gentleman in the 50-54 age bracket.

Buddy is still recuperating from his hamstring injury, so once again, Roger took his place in the competition, partnering up with Nadine. Friends from Solivita, Gary and Kathy Miller, who normally play in different age divisions, played together today. On Monday I will partner up with Kathy in the doubles, and on Tuesday Rich will partner with her, and I with Gary in the mixed doubles. What a hoot!!! Gary and I will have to play against Rich and Kathy........We all know how Rich plays - and Kathy took the Gold in the ladies Singles today!!
It was a very windy day today, and the sun was really hot! So everyone searched from a little protection from the rays. Above Louann struggles to get the beach umbrella up..........while Bruce and Gena and Linda and Rich find some empty chairs under one of the tents.

An I can't believe I really got this picture. There were eight matches taking place on the court when we were greeted with this fly-over. Everyone stopped play to watch ; I just looked up, raised the camera and snapped the picture. Pure Luck!

Once again today, Rich and Linda partnered up to play in the mixed doubles 60-64 age bracket. Until the gold medal match they had only three points scored against them all day. They play against Gary and Kathy in the final medal match.

Congratulations to the medal winners today. Rich and Linda take home the Gold....Gary and Kathy the Silver, and Nadine and Roger the Bronze.
From Punta Gorda we headed to Pinellas Park where we are spending the night at the LaQuinta for a couple of nights. Monday and Tuesday are the Good Life Games in Seminole.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fit For Life - Bringing Home the Gold

Today, Saturday, was the men's and woman's doubles competition in the Fit for Life Senior Games, played in Punta Gorda. Check in was at 8:00 am and the games began at 8:30. The facilities were great, four tennis courts converted into 8 pickleball courts. By 8:00 the sun was shining, and it was going to be a beautiful day.

Above - Dean and Bill compete in the men's 55-59 age division, and Louann and Nadine compete in the ladies 50-55 division. Bill and Dean and Roger and Rich practiced at the courts in Peace River for more than two hours the other night, working primarily on the third shot and the soft game. Bill and Dean......did a great job today, taking command in all of their games, setting the pace of the ball and the game. Fund to watch!
Pictured aboveis Roger and Dennis and Art. A few changes and a little mix-up in the draw today - but it all worked out. Buddy and Roger were originally going to play, but Buddy pulled a hamstring, and a calf muscle in the last tournament, so Dennis Rowland from down in Tanglewood filled in. We had Art all set to play in the 70+ age division, but a scheduling problem left him without a partner in that age bracket, so he played down to the 55-59 bracket. Had to play with all those young'ns, but he and his partner took one game in the consolation bracket 15-3!! Great Job!
Rich and Gary have played well all winter in all the games, taking the Gold Medal in all but one - where they had to settle for the Silver. Today they didn't lose any of their games, but the competition was not as tough as it has been in some of the other games. The two of them are so different on the court, both very competitive, but their personalities and play compliment each other. They are definately a team to be reconed with!
We left before the woman's competition was completed so not sure just where Louann and Nadine finished today. They were still playing when we left - so we knew that they had not yet been eliminated. As for the guys. Gold Medal to Dean and Bill!!! Gold Medal to Roger and Dennis!!!! Gold Medal to Rich and Gary!!!!!
And Margie........I know you'll be reading this... Thank you for the beautiful picture frame! I love it my friend! We will be following you through Alaska!

Friday, March 18, 2011

St. Patrick's Day at the Red Neck Castle

Yes, Jack and Diane are back in Peace River, so the afternoon happy hour was reinstated. There's a pretty large group of players here now, some that I just can't remember their names yet. And what a better day than St. Patrick's Day for the get together. On Thursday evening singing and dancing with Bobby Mack was already scheduled with everyone gathering in the parking lot to celebrate the 'wearin' of the green'.

Not too many of us can create the feast that Jack and Diane do when they host the happy hour. In the tradition of St. Patrick's Day, they had prepared boiled peanuts, sauerkraut, cabbage and boiled potatoes, corn beef and an array of breads for sandwiches and sloppy joes! The rest of the group contributed some pretty good dishes as well including a great green salad with walnuts and strawberries, spicy franks, hash brown casserole, corn bread, broccoli salad , meat balls and an array of crackers and cheeses.

About 6:00 Rich and Dean and Roger and Bill took off for the pickelball courts. The four of them are playing in tournaments this weekend so they were out doing lots of drills to improve their soft game and the "third shot". Good Luck this weekend guys!!!

Margie ( of Dean and Margie) is starting a Blog for their Alaska trip this summer, so I went over and spent a few hours helping her get familiar with Blogging. We downloaded Picasa for her pictures. She's going to enjoy her Blog..........When I was leaving, I could tell she was anxious to spend some time exploring her new found hobby!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

An Afternoon with Good Friends

We have some very dear friends that spend part of the winter down in Venice, Fl and we always try to find a time in both of our busy schedules to meet and catch up on what's been happening with mutual friends and family.

Since we were already going to be down in Englewood for the pickleball workshops, we made plans to meet up with Dieter and Helen who have a winter home at Circle Woods in Venice.

What we did not know until we saw them, was that they had purchased a new home in Northport, and had their home in Venice up for sale. We met up with them at Circle Woods, chatted for a couple of hours, and then we all went for lunch at the Old World Restaurant in Northport. We had been here one other time for breakfast - and lunch was just as good. Great Restaurant if you are ever in the area. After lunch we went over to see their new home. A great place right on the canal that goes out to Charlotte Harbor. The workers were there laying tile in the living room and kitchen, That's Helen and Dieter in the picture above, standing on their new boat dock!. We sat outside and caught up with what's been going on......All the time enjoying an adult beverage and watching the fish jumping in the canal.
The visit was short........but, as always it was great seeing them again.

PB Workshops at the Triangali Rec Center

Pickleball, pickleball, pickleball............it seems that lately we have not found time for much of anything else. Just finished up the Heartland Games so we have FIVE whole days before the next tournament. When we were asked by the Recreation Coordinator at the Tringali Recreation Center down in Englewood, when we could come down and help them build their pickleball player base -we told them Monday March 14th would work for us.

We scheduled both a beginner workshop to attract new players and a skills/techniques workshop to those who already knew how to play. We made up some flyers for them to promote the workshops, and they also issued a press release.

We really had no idea how many people would show up, and we were absolutelythrilled when people just kept filing in.

They had set up three courts in the gym. Rich and I decided that I would take all the "newbies"............and work with them. EIGHTEEN people showd up to learn how to play. I had so much fun working with them. We laughed alot - especially when they were trying to learn how to keep score!

While I was working with the beginners, Rich had FIFTEEN players show up for the Skills/Techniques Workshop. This group was so eager to learn more about the game. Some of them had only played for a short time, so there were lots of questions on the rules too. (Rich said they called my group "roudy"!!!! Imagine that! My answer to that was that we had more fun!!) But that was really not true.....the group Rich was working with just kept asking tons of questions........that's a sure sign they are enjoying what they are learning.
You all know how much we both love pickleball...................this was just a really rewarding day for both of us. We had a great time!!

Mixed Doubles on Saturday

It was back to Sebring on Saturday for the mixed doubles competition in the Heartland Senior Games. The weather was still cool enough in the morning for the sweatsuits, but the rest of the day was absolutely beautiful.............and no wind today!!!

Hard to get pictures in Tanglewood, unless the teams were playing over on the tennis courts. So I was able to get pictures of Rich and Linda, Bruce and Louann and Nancy and Mike. Caught one of Stan and Sally before they closed the door on the other courts, but wasn't able to grab one of Buddy and Jean playing. You can tell by the players attire whether the pictures were take in the morning or afternoon. Well......with the exception of Bruce.....He wears shorts and t-shirts in 30 degree temperatures!!!!
We didn't bring home as many medals today either........But we still had fun !!! Rich and Linda took the Gold Medal!! Buddy and Jean took the Bronze!! Mike and Nancy took the Silver. Stan and Sally played some great matches today. They beat out Buddy and Jean, which put them in the final medal match. They played a good match, and took home the Silver Medal!! Congratulations to Rich and to all our pickleball friends.

Senior Games in Sebring

On Friday it was off to Tanglewood in Sebring for the 2011 Heartland Senior Games. There was a group of us from Peace River and Torrey Oaks that playing.

It seems that every year, Mother Nature is a key component of the games. True to form, she let the temperatures plunge into the 40's on Thursday night into Friday morning. So everyone was bundled in sweatshirts and pants and some even with earmuffs when they arrived for check-in at 7:30 in the morning. The coffee and donuts were a welcome sight!! By 8:30 - 9:00, the sun was shining brightly and made for a beautiful day, but the winds remained very very gusty.

Ladies and men's doubles were played on Friday. Above are Bill and Dean, Sally and Jean , and Stan and Buddy.

Rich's regular doubles partner, Gary, was not able to play in this tournament, so he partnered up with Roger Carson, from in Peace River. The two of them really had a great time playing together, and they played "awesome"!
But despite the serious competition of the games, everyone had a great time "clowning" around. Yes, Bob and Lavern (aka pickleball playing Silly Willy and his sidekick, Fluffy) having fun with Bob and Kathy, Nadine and Louann, Roger and Rich. Seated is Tim (from Solivita), Stan, Sally and Jean, probably checking out their next opponents. And in the bottom row are Art and Hedy, who drove over from Peace River to watch us all play.

Our group from Peace River did very well, as did some of our other friends. Pictured above (top to bottom/left to right) are the medal winners: Sally and Jean (Silver Medal), Bill and Dean (Gold),Kathy Hughes and Fran (Bronze), Diane and Linda (Gold- this team beat out Sally and Jean), Louann and Nadine (Bronze) and Jan and Nancy (Silver)

Silly Willy and Fluffy were back to celebrate the Gold Medal win with Roger and Rich.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pickleball in Poinciana

On Tuesday the Polk County Senior Games were played at the Solivita Community in Poinciana, Fl which is just outside of Kissimmee near Orlando. Rich and I once considered purchasing a home here; it is an absolutely beautiful community. Since we were last here they built two more pickleball courts, so now they have seven!! And the weather was absolutely perfect for picklebll.

Click on any picture to enlarge. Use back arrow to return to this page:
Stan and Buddy partnered up in the men's 65-69 competition and since Bill was the "baby" of the group, Dean partnered with him but played down in the 55-59 age bracket. Congratulations to Bill and Dean who took first place and proudly display their Gold Medal! These two never lost a match in the winners bracket, but had to fight real hard in the medal match to win two of three. Great Games! The best part of their games was watching Margie. For the first several games she sat about two courts away and would ask the score as someone walked by. She was more nervouse than Dean. But by the medal match she bravely sat along side the rest of us and cheered the guys on!
In the ladies doubles above (top row) are avid tournament players Nadine and Louann , Jean and Sally (center) and Nancy and Jan (bottom row). Congratulations to Sally and Jean who placed third, bringing home the Bronze Medal, and to Nancy and Jan who placed second with the Silver Medal in their age division.

Rich and Gary played awesome today too winning every match in the winners bracket. The hard part about tournaments is having to wait between games. These two played their first match early, waited more than four hours for their second match and then nearly two more before they played the third. Unfortunately they could not pull off the best two out of three in the final medal match, although they had previously beaten this team 15-8. They finished in second place with the Silver Medal.
The mixed doubles competion was Wednesday. Buddy and Jean were playing together and Bruce was partnering up with Louann. Stan hurt is back on Tuesday, so he and Sally decided not to go back. Linda had declined to play in this tournament so Rich and I are waiting to hear how Buddy and Jean and Bruce and Louann made out!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Afternoon Clinic

Rich was asked if he would do another of his pickleball clinics this week. There were only a few people today, but it was the only day before a couple of them were leaving. I still can't play, but the hand was OK using the camera! John(top right) and Susan(bottom right) are both tennis players and are hoping to generate some interest in pickleball when they get back to Waynesburg, PA. And to some of you there is another familiar face in the crowd! Yes..........that's Silly Willy, Bob the Clown to most of us. Little windy - but overall a really nice day!

Dinner with Cliff and Carlene

I guess I'm losing my touch here..............we took off for dinner with friends, I with my camera, as usual. Left the camera on the picnic table outside...... came home with the camera and NO picture!

But Thursday evening we hooked up again with Cliff and Carlene; this time at their site here in Peace River. Tonight Cliff was cooking pork roast on the charcoal grill. Actually two small pork roasts; one barbecue and one lemon pepper. Carlene left explicit instructions for Cliff that the roast could be cooked on the grill, but she did NOT want it smoked! Smoked means you don't close the hood. Now - in order to get the roast cooked in the amount of time Carlene insisted it would be done it was necessary for Cliff to CLOSE the hood. All but once - he did a really great job without getting caught!

We arrived there about 4:00, shared a adult beverage and ordeorves while dinner was cooking. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous the past several days. Even this evening was quite pleasant, but the wind was pretty gusty. So we decided to move indoors. (OK Cliff - she's inside! You can close the hood!!)

Dinner was excellent! The pork roast, with a side of applesauce was moist and tender. Accompanying the meat were buttered baby white potatoes, beans, slaw, fruit salad and a delicious five grain Italian bread. After dinner and dishes we chatted over Hawaiian Coffee and dessert - Boston Cream Pie and Rich's homemade potato candy.

Always so much fun meeting up with these two.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pickleball In Ft. Myers

The Lee County Senior Games were held again this year at the Wa-Ke Hatchee Recreation Center in Ft.Myers on Saturday and Sunday the 26th and 27th of February. Rich and I decided to head down on Friday and stay Friday and Saturday night and not have to drive back and forth each day. We packed up in the morning and headed out early afternoon.

We had not even eaten any breakfast before we left so we stopped for a quick lunch at Subway. Just off I-75, the Subway was located at one of those combination store/gas stations which also featured a DQ and novelty shop. Of course the beverage of choice for Rich's sub was the Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard.
After lunch we wandered around the store a little and found this rack of t-shirts that were three for $10.........so we looked through to see if there were any we liked.
This is one of the two that we chose for Rich!

And he found this brown one for me. I thought it fit me to a T!

And then it was back on the road. Next stop was our hotel.
We had been thinking of staying at the Best Western, but Louann and Nadine found this one, and were coming in on Saturday, so we elected to stay here at the Clarion and meet up with them.

Upon arrival we learned that the computer system had gone down, so we had to wait along with about four other couples ahead of us for about 15-20 minutes before we were checked in. The hotel featured a complimentary breakfast in the morning, a Sam Seltzer Steakhouse, and a great Tiki Bar in the pool area, which was crowded both Friday and Saturday nights. Our room was pool side. Dinner on Friday night was at the Golden Corral........

The doubles competition was on Saturday, and check in time was at 8:00 am. The games began right on time at 8:30 .

The men's doubles were first. Woman didn't need to check in until 11 :00 am. Buddy was the only other person from the RV park to play in this one, and he partnered with Ron Monson from Kings Point. Unfortunately - they lost their first two matches....not able to medal this time. Linda and Diane played and took first place in 60-69 age division, Nancy and her partner Jan took first place in the ladies 50-59. Louann and Nadine played some tough matches and played well - but no medal for these ladies this time. And Gail and Gloria also played some really tough matches, including the one they lost to their friends from Tanglewood,Linda and Diane.

Meanwhile, Rich and Gary took the gold in 60-69 age division without losing a match or a game. They came close in a couple of games, pulling from behind to win.

We were back at the hotel before 4:00, met up with Louann and Nadine about 5:15 and headed for the Ft.Myers Ale House. Dinner was absolutely great. Everyone had something different: Salad, Jambalya, Cajan Chicken Pasta. Nice portions and well prepared. Always a good time with these two.

Singles were being played first on Sunday morning, so we didn't need to check in until 11:00, so we could take our time packing up and checking out. Buddy was back on Sunday to partner up with Nadine, and Bruce was there playing with Louann. Once again - all four of them played really well, had some real close matches, but just couldn't get to the medal round. Nancy Meyer and her partner took first place in the 55-59 age group, and Jimmy Maynard and Gail Brown from Tanglewood took first place in the 70+. Both of them made it throught the winners bracket!

Once again, Rich and Linda made it through the winners bracket without losing a match or a game. Some pretty close nail biting games, but they hung in there for the Gold!
It was a long day. Started at 11:30 and finished around 6:00. There were still teams playing when we left for home. A quick stop at Cracker Barrell to get some dinner and we were home just before 8:00 pm.