Yesterday morning we went to Hughes Park, which is in the 800 block of Orleans St. in Topeka, for Evan's Pickleball competition in the Sunflower State Games. Pickleball is similar to tennis, only you use a wiffle ball and kind of like a large ping pong paddle to hit it with. The court is not as large as a tennis court. It is much like playing tennis, only the ball doesn't fly back and forth so fast. You still get a great workout because since the ball is flying slower, you have time to aim your shots to send your opponent running all over the place. And where in tennis it's a lot to hit it back and forth more than four or five times, in Pickleball it's not uncommon to have 10 or 15 hits or more in one rally. I have a couple photos here of Evan in action.
Evan was the only person in his age group registered for the tournament, so he automatically won the gold medal. He was placed in a bracket with three guys who were in the 61 and over group. All three of them were pretty good players. One of them had come up from Wichita, though he was kind of a complainer about having to play outside (apparently in Wichita they play indoors most of the time) and he even disappeared for a while, causing one of Evan's matches to have to be rescheduled. When it was time to get his gold medal the commissioner announced his name to the crowd, and everyone clapped. Here is the moment when he is shaking Evan's hand and giving him his medal:
Later in the day Evan and I went over and watched some of the Sunflower Games Horseshoes tournament in Gage Park. This sport is mostly older guys who all seemed to be taking the competition quite seriously. There was one younger guy in his 20's, and he was a bit of a hot-head. A couple of times he slammed a horseshoe into the ground in anger after missing a shot, and once he threw one into the fence. His behavior may have been unspectacular in a basketball game, but in a horseshoes competition it seemed a little out of place.
While we were there they were doing the segment of the horseshoes competition brackets for the top level players, those who are rated as having a high percentage of ringers. Sort of like having a low handicap in golf, I presume. As Evan and I watched we discussed the likely origination of a game like this- some bored cowpokes hanging around the barn inventing a game to pass the time while they waited on television to be invented. I doubt some businessman in New York invented it.
I'll end this entry with a photo of your intrepid reporter on the scene, taken by Evan.