I have told the following story a few times to pickleball players over dinner and drinks, and every time it gets a laugh and they say I should share the story on my blog… so here ya go.. A TOURNAMENT FLASHBACK with me and Alex Hamner:
Winner Winner… No Dinner
USAPA Nationals VI, 2014 – Buckeye, Arizona
The day’s event was Open and Senior Open Doubles and as usual the courts were hopping with excitement and anticipation to see how it would all unfold. This was the year that the “Senior Open” divisions were created meaning 4 categories had the chance to battle it out for Nationals Gold. All draws started at 8:00 am and around 9:00 am we had our first round. A few matches, and several hours later we inquired about why our Women’s Open draw had not been called to play in quite some time. The tournament director replied that our division had moved along “too fast” and they wanted to let the other draws catch up. Umm, really?? Late afternoon came and went. The gold medal matches finally began and the three other finals all go long – so night was definitely upon us. Finally, the Women’s Open Doubles finals get called. After waiting hours and hours to play, our match finished at 9:30 pm and we reached our goal of winning Nationals Gold (Fourth in a row!). Once we received our hardware we looked around and the place was desolate. Spectators had left as soon as the match was over and the majority of other players were probably already showered and in bed. True, the parents were still there (because they had to be, LOL), but once pictures were taken they were also gone, way past their bedtime.
We gather all our stuff and schlep it to the car. (If you know us, we have STUFF.) We get it all packed, just us and a few bugs, and boy are we hungry! 10:00 pm, alone at an empty venue, and we just have to laugh to ourselves – winner winner and no dinner. On the drive from the courts through the miles of nothingness to Surprise, AZ, we think of take-out pizza. A quick call to be sure they are open (phew!) and we place our order. Two large pizzas. Heck, we won so go big, right?! At the empty strip mall, we each get our large pizza box and sit in the car eating with the boxes overtaking our seats … Yep a party for two in the dark parking lot with the windshield steamed up from hot pizza. Physically and mentally exhausted, not to mention smelly, we head back to the house. For in a few hours we will be up to enjoy another day of pickleball tournament fun.
6 comments on “Winner Winner… No Dinner”
The life behind the scenes of a champion. There is always a price to be paid and sometimes the reality is two tired girls eating pizza in a car in the middle of the night. I bet you wouldn’t trade the experience for a good meal earlier in the evening.
I’d eat pizza in a car late at night anytime if it meant I had an open gold medal from Nationals. Wait, I already eat pizza late at night… Hmmm
I remember that evening well because the Womens Open was supposed to go first that year, since the Mens Open went first previous year. It’s been said many times, and I’ll say it again, that it’s a shame that the FINALS of any of the open matches are so late…..spectators who travel to watch and admire our sport do not have the privilege of watching the cream of the crop beccause they can’t stay till 8 or 9pm! There has to be a better way to let our top players compete and let our spectators really see the optimum in pickleball!
Spoken like a true pickleball fan–and a loving mom!
Thanks for the comment MOM 🙂 Yes, you and dad remember well because you had to stay awake for sooooo long.
Congrats! Have had the same dilemma. Only place it doesn’t matter is Vegas, lol. Dinner avail 24/7
The men’s and women’s singles champions at Wimbledon get feted at a formal dinner and dance each year. Me thinks pickleball has just a wee ways to go yet when four-time national champions get feted with takeout pizza in their overpacked (I’ve seen pictures Alex and Jen!) car.