First Practice Day at BallenIsles

Friday was a busy day and a very nice one.

Susan and I packed up my car (I had so much stuff I think it looked like I was moving to Palm Beach Gardens!), and met up with Diane Barker and Jack Barker for practice at 11. We had to wait a short time, as it had rained in the morning, but the windy conditions and excellent work by the grounds staff allowed us to get on a court quickly.

We started by playing “dingles”. For those who aren’t familiar with this game it goes like this. There are four players to a court. Diane and I were on the deuce and hit forehand crosscourts into the deuce side of the SINGLES court. Susan and Jack hit backhand crosscourts into the ad side of the SINGLES court. As soon as one pair missed, he/she would call “DINGLES” and all four players play out the point as a DOUBLES point, We played to 5, then rotated. The next rotation we hit down the line into the singles court till someone missed, then played out the point as before. You get to hit a lot of balls and practice singles and doubles points.

When a court opened up we played singles, rotating every four games, then it was time for lunch and to check in. Susan and I did the checking in…I’m the captain so I had to be there. We got our goody bags from Trish, the list of the rules of the club, and bought tickets for guests to the players’ dinners and watched the end of Djokovic’s quarterfinal win in Monte Carlo. Trish Faulkner is the tournament director and is an amazing person and organizer. We ran into some friends from Germany and South Africa and Great Britain during the day and heard the adventures of the South African team. They flew into Miami and took the train up here, which wasn’t an easy process.

I checked in with my housing with Rosi Fortna at BallenIsles and we got a tour of her tropical garden which was great. Mangos, avocados, banana trees and more are in the back yard. We went back to the club for a second practice, this time with Tina Karwasky who just arrived from a successful tournament in Huntsville where she won two more gold balls, 60 singles and doubles (she’s not lost a 60 singles match since she entered the division, 2 1/2 years ago), and Jenny Klitch from Palm Beach Gardens, who is on the Court Cup team (women’s 45) joined us. It was even windier but we had a good singles practice.

There were big thunderstorms all night but the forecast looks good for the afternoon. Today I pick up my team USA warm up suit and tomorrow we have the opening ceremonies. Game on! 


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