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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Call me Crazy

Sunday mornings - a time to sleep in and have a leisurely breakfast while reading the newspaper and talking with one's spouse. At least most Sundays. But not last Sunday. Not for a pickleball player with an addiction and a chance to play a competitive match. That player instead joins his playing partner before sunrise for a 2+ hour drive to play 1 game plus a few points...and then drives 2+ hours back home. That was my Sunday on May 22. But the story starts on Friday.

The Georgia Mountain Spring Pickleball Classic started Friday with Men's and Women's Doubles scheduled. Saturday was Mixed Doubles day. Sunday was reserved for any play unfinished due to rain. My Men's Doubles partner, Sandro Francioni, and I watched the weather closely all week as rain was definitely in the forecast. As Friday neared, we were optimistic that the morning play would be completed. That would be good for us since we were scheduled first at 8:30 and neither had plans to stay into Sunday.

When play started, we won our first 3 matches easily, 15-5, 15-8, and 15-4 to enter the winner's bracket final. That game was proving to be more of a challenge but we were leading 12-7 when play was stopped due to rain. This was the second rain delay of the day and the rest of the day's play was cancelled. We were very frustrated, knowing that play could have easily been completed (a story for another post) and it now looked like we would have nothing to show for an undefeated run. Sandro left for Hendersonville and I went back to the hotel since I was playing on Saturday.

But the whole situation grated on me as day aged into evening. I had a feeling of unfinished business and I think Sandro felt the same as we talked after he left. Still, I thought the idea of playing on Sunday was crazy. Sandro was over 2 hours away and I would either have to spend another night at over $100 or also be over 2 hours away. I went to bed Friday night conceding that my Men's Doubles tournament was over.

Then Saturday happened. I was playing Mixed Doubles with Suzanne Pell and we similarly won several games easily to reach the winner's bracket final. We lost that game to a very good team from Sun City in Griffin, GA and went to the loser's bracket final. One of the opponents in that game, Patrick Evans, was also an opponent in the suspended Men's game. Patrick and I had become fast friends in the Lowcountry tournament in April as we played against each 3 times, including the gold medal game in Mixed Doubles. Since Patrick was aware of our likely default to him on Sunday, there was much joking about my Sunday decision changing if I failed to win gold on Saturday. When Suzanne and I won, our chances for gold survived into the gold medal game. Unfortunately, we lost again to the Sun City team and won silver.

That's a long story to establish my mindset as I was driving home. I had played for gold and lost. I had a lead in a game that could lead to another chance for gold. Do I go home and enjoy my normal Sunday after 2 loooong days on the road? Or do I choose the crazier option of setting my alarm for 5 AM and drive for 5 hours for possibly 1 1/5 games? I called Sandro to discuss our options.

My mobile phone alarm was set for 5 AM while I was having dinner on the way home. If that makes me crazy, then so be it. I play tournament pickleball.

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