I have always been semi active in sports and competition. After reading @jordan’s pickleball story I realized that we are very similar in several ways. I grew up playing baseball and then I started getting into some more obscure things to compete in. For example, I was on the USA Jr National Luge Team and the BYU Ballroom team. I guess that even translates into some hobbies (beekeeping) and work (map making). So, I guess taking up pickleball was not that far out from the norm for me. My father in law has put together an adult softball team since before I knew him, and I have been playing on the team for the past 16 years. My wife loves to play tennis and has tried to get me to play but I just end up hitting to many home runs. I guess you can say this is my sports background leading up to pickleball.
In the fall of 2018 Spanish Fork City built 16 amazing courts just a few blocks from my house. As most people, I had no ideas what that was. My wife said we should play and so before the courts were built, we bought a starter set with wooden paddles and a net. We set it up in our driveway and played a little. We played with our kids and it was fun to learn the rules and dink around. At the grand opening of the courts I won a Paddletek Phoenix LT paddle and I was amazed at how much better it was playing with that vs a wooden paddle. So, the next thing you know I was buying $20-$30 paddles for all my kids and I ended up using an UpStreet paddle that I really liked until it chipped and cracked on me. I now use the Prince paddle and love it.
In 2018 I had set some goals for myself and I accomplished them. I was so happy that I thought I should figure out what I should do for 2019. With pickleball on my mind I decided to make a few pickleball related goals. I wanted to complete in 2 or more tournaments and become a 4.0 level player. Little did I know what that meant. All I knew was what was in the rating descriptions.
Well February rolled around and I was thinking I better get on this goal. I found out Scott Rozier was putting on a Masters of the Web Facebook tournament. I had absolutely no idea what to expect or even a partner. I called up a friend and neighbor of mine, the amazing Kevin Doyle, and asked if he would like to play in the tournament with me. We have been partners since. We needed a place to play and seeing that the courts were closed still, I found out that people play pickleball in the mornings at the Provo Rec Center. I decided to give it a try and see if I could meet up with other players. That was so nerve racking and intimidating. The players were so nice and welcoming. I was not very good but was willing to give it my best. Now during the winter months Kevin and I play and drill there 3 times a week. During the summertime we play and drill almost every day at the Spanish Fork courts. The only time that I can get away to play is in the mornings from 6:00 until about 8:00. So, if you want to play with me or our group of players, you now know where we are. We played in 5 tournaments and had a blast. It was my last tournament of the year that I decided to up the stakes and play at a 4.0 level. We won!
Some of my goals this year 2020 are still pickleball related, but a little more intense. I want to:
- Compete in at least 10 tournaments (I think I have about 16 on my list to play in) with 3 podium finishes, 1 being Gold
- Become a certified referee
- Be a student of the game and soak up as much information as I can to be a better player.
Wish me luck in my adventures.