Colorado Pickleball

You may or may not have heard of a sport called Pickleball. A combination of tennis, ping-pong and badminton, pickleball started in the 1960’s in a US Congressman’s backyard. Legend has it that after they broke all of their badminton shuttlecocks, they improvised by substituting a wiffle-ball. They soon discovered the inadequacy of a badminton racquet and switched to a wooden paddle. Their dog, Pickles, kept stealing the ball and modern-day pickleball was born.

People who play pickleball claim it’s the fastest-growing sport in America. Since there is no way to verify that fact, I’m going with it. You know that 70% of all statistics are made up on the spot right? 🙂 Regardless, it is gaining momentum, especially among the retired community and articles have been written about it in CNN, NBC and various other local media outlets. It’s a great way to stay in shape, socialize, have some fun, and try a new sport that you can quickly improve at.

Playing with my friend Hiro

Playing with my friend Hiro

One of my jobs now is to actually make it the fastest growing sport in America. My dad (who got me into it and is somewhat obsessed) and I are playing a couple of national tournaments this Autumn, even one that includes prize money! The goal is global domination. Not really, but we want to win the national tournament, which would probably make us the best players in the world. The current world’s best player, a guy who calls himself “The Puppet Master” stands in our way.

We also work with a company called Paddletek by finding distributors and selling paddles in Colorado, Utah, Texas, and hopefully Japan. We travel around Colorado doing clinics and demonstrations (where we consistently get 50-60 people) and something called the Paddletek Challenge… If anyone beats us in doubles or singles we give them free Paddletek paddles. Pretty cool right? No one has risen to the challenge and beaten us yet though. We’ve also gotten to meet cool people like Pickleball Ken from Denver and Joe Rink from Vail who love the sport, work tirelessly to promote it and by the way, sell Paddletek Paddles. If you are interested in pickleball or want to find out more information about becoming a distributor, contact me at dmoore07@apu.edu or (719) 339-5722. Pickleball is a great sport, you should try it – I have to warn you though, you might get addicted 🙂

Paddletek's High-Performance Paddle

Paddletek’s High-Performance Paddle, Made in the USA!

 

 

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Arusha Round 1

I traveled to Arusha, Tanzania two days ago to do some research into constructing aquaponics systems at a YWAM base and orphanage. After doing the research, I’ll return next week to actually build the systems. Aquaponics combines fish and vegetable farming into a complete system that grows twice as many vegetables with less than 10% of the water consumption. The fish waste provides vital nutrients to the vegetables, and the vegetables filter the water so the fish can continue to live. These systems can be used to create sustainable food production around the world!

During my trip to Tanzania I got conned for the first time ever 😦 My only excuse is that I had just woken up and stumbled off the bus to cross the border. After getting my exit stamp at Kenya’s immigration office, I walked through “no man’s land” to get into Tanzania. At the end of this area, a group of official-looking guys (looking back, maybe not THAT official-looking) stood next to a gate, which I had to go through. Claiming to be Tanzania’s immigration authority, they asked for the $100 visa fee to let me pass. While I got my stamp, they said they would get my visa processed and meet me on the other side. Needless to say, I didn’t see them again. I thought about complaining to the police, but realized they were probably in on the scam too. After a short burst of anger, I felt like Michael Caine in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, when he has to credit “the Jackal” for her excellent performance. You win this time con men, but when I come back next week I have some choice words personally prepared for each of you.

After running around town on Wednesday looking for pricing information on construction materials and meeting with people, I decided to go with a YWAM staff to the daily football (soccer) game. I thought this would just be an informal pickup game with other YWAM staff but it turned out to be an official practice for a local football team. With just a pair of sneakers and khaki shorts I felt under dressed, but the guys were friendly and we had a great time. I even earned an invitation back by scoring a goal!

Playing there was iconic Africa. Wooden frames served as goals, the ball disappearing into clouds of dust every time someone kicked it. With beautiful thunderclouds rolling into Mount Meru, I thought about my last weeks in Africa and how I would like to enjoy them. No more complaining about poor service or slow internet. Just making the most of my time and seeing the people who have made this almost two years possible. Who knows if I will come back, but I’ve learned a lot from this place and believe that the experience will be vital in whatever undertaking comes next.

I couldn’t take pictures because I was playing football, but here are some photos to give you context. Oh yes, and yesterday was my Birthday so thank you for all the Happy Birthday wishes 🙂

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Imagine playing football here!

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The goal looked something like this

Ice Hockey in Africa

Yes, you read it correctly. I have officially joined a weekly ice hockey game in Kenya. It’s random I know, but without some randomness I think you run the risk of living monotonously. I can now say that the first time I ever played ice hockey was in Africa!

I realize that I haven’t posted anything in a couple of weeks. Life here has become fairly normal, composed of daily routines. I work during the day, have a couple of hours in the evenings to go play some random sport (like ice hockey) and do it over again. On the weekends I hang out with people, go to movies, or find something else to do. I’ll post something new when I have another crazy experience, but for the last few weeks I’ve stayed in Nairobi.

My sports schedule is pretty cool though (If I do say so myself). On Sunday I play soccer or frisbee. On Monday and Thursday I play squash. On Tuesday I have a weekly volleyball/worship service. On Wednesday I play ice hockey. On Friday I usually take a break 🙂 And on Saturday I play tennis. I’ve never gotten to play this many sports at the same time and I’m loving it. Most of my social interactions involve some type of physical activity, which is great. When I first arrived in Kenya during the summer I didn’t know enough people to do these things with so I am very thankful for the community and opportunity.

I’m also considering playing in a squash tournament in February and a tennis tournament in March. The tennis tournament even includes prize money… If nothing else, I’ll get to meet new people and blog about the experience right? That’s all for now, I will update when I have more news.