Thursday, April 26, 2018

Spring Beauty

Tuesday I played in a pickleball tournament at a local recreation center. My partner Tish and I had never played in a tournament together and, in fact, don't even play at the same locations very often. It is a huge benefit to have the same partner in tournaments as you get used to how the other person plays and can get in sync with each other. Nevertheless, we decided to give it a shot. I did at least meet her Sunday afternoon at the center where the tournament was being held so that I could get a feel for the playing surface. They have a sport court as their gym floor, and it is quite different from the wooden floors I am used to playing on. I really liked it as there is no glare and with a softer surface, it is easier on the feet and legs. But the ball definitely plays different on that kind of surface.

Tish & me
On Tuesday we arrived early at the center to warm up. It was not a huge tournament, and we ended up playing six games. One was against a team ranked lower than us, and two were against teams ranked higher than us, so those three games did not end up counting in the standings. We beat all three teams that were at our level, so we ended up getting gold medals. One of these other teams had taken gold at the last two tournaments held at this center, so that made us feel particularly good about our play. It was a fun time!

Though my legs were quite tired from all the pickleball the day before, yesterday I went to the Missouri Botanical Garden to see what was in bloom. Things change so rapidly there this time of year that you almost need to go once a week to check it out. I took my crystal ball along as I wanted to play around with it. I hadn't been in the garden more than 15 minutes when a couple of Asian women stopped to see what I was doing. They asked if they could take some shots through the ball, and they had a blast working with it.

crystal ball photography
Along the way several children came over to see what I was doing, and it was fun to show them how the thing you are looking at appears upside down in the ball. But then another strange thing happened. Two Mideastern women dressed in traditional abayas and hijabs stopped me along one of the paths. They did not speak English, and one was gesturing with her phone. Assuming that she was wanting me to take their picture together, I reached for the phone. The woman quickly pulled it back, and they both began to speak and move their hands. I finally realized that one of the women wanted a picture of herself with me, which the other woman took with the phone. That reminded me of the time Jim and I went to Redwoods National Forest with Andy when he was about 11 months old. A huge bus filled with Asian tourists pulled into the parking lot where we were standing. One of them ran over, snatched Andy out of my arms, and proceeded to hold him in their group photo. It happened so fast that we were stunned, and he was screaming his head off!

Missouri Botanical Garden
The garden was quite busy, especially as I counted three school groups wandering through. It was a pretty day, party cloudy with the temperature around 70. I think everyone was so tired of winter that they welcomed a day outside with the beautiful flowers, trees and shrubs. Before I go next time, maybe I should consult my crystal ball to see how crowded it will be. Ha!

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