“Did You Hear Hoyt Fell?”

Written by A.J. Evans, BAPA Special Contributor
Photos by Barb Dumler

Hoyt Foster--Ready to play pickleball, the game he loves.
Hoyt Foster–Ready to play pickleball, the game he loves.

These words rang out like a rifle shot throughout the BAPA community. My heart and the hearts of many who know Hoyt Foster, dropped like a rock. There was little information available when at 6pm on October 30, 2017, Hoyt had survived a twenty-foot fall from a ladder while adjusting a TV antenna at his home in the Nampa area. It wasn’t until hours later that information on the nature and extent of Hoyt’s injuries were made public. The positive news was he had survived a fall from a height that would have ended most people’s life, but not Hoyt, not today. The unfortunate news was he had been badly injured. At the end of the day, he knew he had been given a second chance by a power greater than him. Over the next several days, he would also realize the road back to a life of normalcy as he knew it would be months away.

I visited Hoyt in his room at St. Alphonsus Hospital two weeks after his accident and was amazed to see Hoyt sitting up in a chair resting comfortably next to his wife Jan. They were having a pleasant discussion with two of the many BAPA friends that had stopped by to visit. Visits that he truly appreciated. My first impression was he looked ok but upon closer examination, I could tell he was hurting, bruised, and overwhelmed. The injury assessment was extensive; broken right wrist that required a steel plate, screws, and brace, a broken pelvis requiring pinning, a skull fracture, and multiple contusions. While sitting and listening closely to his recollection of events, I was astonished he was alive. But something was different, something had changed or did I just notice for the first time an inner strength and resolve that I had never seen in one of my fellow pickleball friends.

He doesn’t remember every detail of the fall other than losing his footing at the top of the ladder, striking the ladder, then free falling through the air and landing hard on the ground. Fortunately, if there was any fortune to be had that day, the ground was soft from recent rain and cushioned the fall but just barely. A few feet either way would have been concrete. The arrival of the first responders, the ride to the hospital in the ambulance, and events over the next 48 hours were blanked in a heavy fog. He recalls the comforting voice of his wife Jan and a neighbor, the paramedics, and the nursing staff that tended to him at St. Alphonsus. To hear Hoyt describe it was like a dream, an out of body experience that made it difficult to distinguish reality from a bad dream. The pain of course was very real and excruciating. The realization that his life was going to change significantly over the next several months didn’t make matters any easier and began to weigh heavily on him.

As I sat and listened, I had a better understanding and appreciation for what this man had been through. There was an underlHoytFoster-2ying calmness and spiritual strength that left no doubt in my mind this was a person that could take a punch, smile and say bring it on. Give me your best shot, I can take it. I would later understand that this drive, confidence, and attitude was driven by a deep spiritual connection and belief in God and with that, no fear. If you have every played pickleball with Hoyt or faced him across the net, you will have witnessed some of this inner strength and drive.

I learned that Hoyt and Jan had built their life around the Nampa community for most of their life’s, raised four children, and were very unassuming and very thankful for the life they were enjoying. More importantly, it was the friendships they had established with people through the pickleball community they cared about the most. Hoyt had worked for the Nampa Fire Department and in 1995, he pursued his passion for helping others by becoming an adult foster care provider and quickly learned he had a gift of caring for others. Even more astonishing was that after all that he had been through over the last two weeks, his primary concern was not with himself but how he was going to support his adult foster care family who depended on him for care, support, and love. My head was buzzing. How is it possible for someone to go through what this man had experienced, and show such unselfishness? Where do people like this come from? Why does it take a life changing event like this to learn that we have friends that care so deeply for others and give so much of themselves and expect so little in return?

It is difficult to put into words the respect and appreciation that I have for someone that displays such unconditional concern and love for others and to deal head-on with adversity like Hoyt is experiencing. On numerous occasions, he expressed his appreciation for the overwhelming support he has received from the BAPA community and admitted that without this support, the journey back would have been more difficult. He knows his recovery is going to be long, painful, and more challenging than anything he has dealt with thus far in his life. But he is a survivor and knows what he has to do. He knows others are counting on him. He knows there is a chance he may never play pickleball again and admits by the grace of God, he was given a second chance, one that he is going to fulfill as best he can. A carpe diem attitude that appears to carry him forward. My opinion as to his return to pickleball is that given time and proper healing, and learning more about this man than I knew within the last year, he will return, southpaw or otherwise. He has a true passion for the game and love for the people that play the game. It brings him an inner peace that he can’t find just anywhere.

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There’s Hoyt, right in the middle of our pickleball community who loves him so much.

I encourage the BAPA members that know Hoyt to keep in touch and let him know you are there should he need help. Hoyt cares deeply about all of us and is so very thankful for the support he has received to date. He has a long and difficult recovery ahead and I know your thoughts and prayers will be appreciated.

Breaking the Comfort Zone – Part 2

Special thanks to Silvino (Sill) Lyra for sharing his story of competing in his first two pickleball tournaments… This is part 2 of 2.

PPF Tournament of Champions in conjunction with the Brigham City Fall Classic (2.5 – 4.5 Non-PPF) in Utah…

By Silvino (Sill) Lyra

An amazing event in all aspects. This was the Grand Slam of the Pro Pickle Ball Association with $57,000.00 in Prize Money.

Almost all of the top players were there, taking a chance for the big prize.

A Gold Medal would pay $3,000.00.

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However, for this simple 3.0 player, just the hope of more experience and the opportunity to be competing together with my partner Sarah Heart on her first official event.

This time, Boise had very good representation. We had for the men’s doubles Dave Astley and Chad Holley, Brian McNatt and his son Kalen McNatt, and Sue Astley with her partner Kristi Holley for the women’s double.

Guess what? GOLD for Sue and Kristi, in a great performance, on the first day of the event. They played beautifully and deserved that medal. They won 6 games in a total of 10 on the bracket 3.0 – 3.5. Well done ladies! I had the honor to watch their performance shot by shot.

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For the men’s doubles, our teams faced a very strong field of 3.5 players, from different states, with all kinds of different strategies that brought a lot of experience to them. Now they know the issues that they need to work on for the next time. They fought very hard, with total  determination, in extremely hot weather, but no medal this time.

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Again, I want to make my point about the value of leaving the comfort zone and facing the unknown. These experiences are the building steps for any player who wants to be better. I take my hat for those guys. Well done!

For me and Sarah an amazing and costly lesson happened, together with another lesson that was extremely fulfilling to our hearts and minds.

9451755180374456440.0I arrived on Wednesday and had the opportunity to acclimate till our day on Monday. I had daily skills training and several games with other partners. Sarah arrived on Saturday to play with me on Monday, with our start at 1:30 PM, against 6 teams, facing a temperature above 93 degrees.
In our bracket, on the first round we got to be “idle” or a “bye.”

At first I was happy with that, because we could observe all the other opponents and learn some things about them. However, again inexperience strikes!

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The second round started immediately after the first one and our opponents were leaving a game, already warmed up, to play with us, who were totally cold with less than 1 minute to “warm up”…a total disaster! We lost that game, then we lost the next game and then gradually our skills started to materialize and we finished with 3 games that we won and 3 that we lost.

Wow! What an amazing lesson that we could only learn at an event of that level. We had jitters, which caused errors all over the place. I have to say that Sarah recovered better than me and I believe that by the last game, we were ourselves completely. It was our best performance on that day, and I’m very proud of my partner.

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Now, the lesson that was extremely fulfilling for our hearts and minds. You see, even with all their free time to enjoy Labor Day, Sue, Dave, Kristi and Chad went to the venue again, facing that crazy heat, just to share and support us.
V__21CB What an amazing example of friendship, sportsmanship and unselfishness. They did all that they could to support us, together with Dave, Sarah’s husband. They gave us instructions, reminded us to relax and, very importantly, when to ask for a break on the game. They took pictures, brought us food, drinks and most of all a lot of love. Thank you very much guys! We have no words to thank such support.

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I think that this event is an official closure to our outdoor season of pickle ball.

Now we need to go back to the drawing board and study all of the accumulated experiences. Then set the goals for the indoor season that is starting, preparing to challenge ourselves again for tournaments and competitions.

Thanks to all for your attention, principally to Kathy Getto for posting these two series articles.

Good games to all, and remember that success is only accomplished with hard work and participating in high level events.

My best regards to all…

Breaking the Comfort Zone

Special thanks to Silvino (Sill) Lyra for sharing his story of competing in his first pickleball tournament…

Breaking the Comfort Zone… My Experience…

By Silvino (Sill) Lyra

As an Olympic Coach, I have witnessed the resistance that some athletes have to participate in high level events. As with anything in life, we need goals. So, as a new player in this wonderful sport that is pickle ball, I set my goal to be a 5.0 player, no matter how much hard work takes. My first step was to participate in the closest competition to Boise, high level event.

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On August 9th 2017, this humble 3.0 player took his first steps at the Northwest Mecca of pickle ball…Bend Oregon…to participate in the pickle ball Zone Bend USAPA Pacific Northwest Regional Tournament, in conjunction with the Pro Northwest Event.

The setting of the venue, with the volunteers working hard in all sectors to have everything in place for the next day’s start, would cause envy in the best production company in Hollywood. Everybody had a smile and a soaked shirt, as the temperature was getting very hot.

Watching the players doing their training made me doubt my decision to participate in this amazing event. However, a couple of encouraging words from my partner, John Sweeting, made me understand that in order to walk 1,000 miles we need to make one first step…so here I am.

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I did my usual stretching exercises and placed my paddle in one of numerous courts from that amazing facility. Indeed, the Town of Bend has a gift of the life time with this venue.

I introduced myself to a fellow player named Mike and we went to face each other in a singles game. He is a 3.5 player, very nice and friendly, that gave me very good instructions during our experience. He beat me 11 x 4. Hey, I thought to myself, I made 4 points, and my goal for the competition was 5 points, so I’m on my way. I always played doubles and this was a very bold adventure to play singles.

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Not only were the high level players challenge, there was also the altitude, the heat and a different ball from the one that I use to train. Since the start of the outdoors season, I’ve used an Onix 2 and here they are using the Ultra 40. Basically, I needed to be very soft on my shots, as the ball travels very fast. On my first day, I lost a lot of points missing the services and returning long balls. I have to work on that for the next day. I’m glad that I arrived earlier.

Then I had a couple of doubles games with a very good player as a partner, maybe a 4.5, whose name was Bill…a very nice, experienced player. We played against Mike and another lady, also a great player—everybody is so friendly and supportive!

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My competition day, in the midst of the Pros, playing in that amazing fast/slow/fast game, was just a gift to me, to be present in such a high level event.

During my first game for me, I got killed 15 x 0—I had an amazing opponent! The second game, my opponent had a lot of handicap skills and I accomplished 15 x 2. In my third game, at some point I was losing 9 x 2, but I discovered some weaknesses in my opponent. Well…I lost 15 x 7, but HOORAAAYYYYYYY!!! I broke my goal of scoring 5 points. Mission accomplished!

On the next day, I had the doubles competition with John. Our bracket was 3.5 players. He is an amazing player that teach me a lot during our 3 games of 11 points. We lost the games by a small margin; however, the learning experience was priceless…thanks, John, for taking the chance to play with me…it was an honor to be your partner. He just returned from being a medalist in track and field in the Seniors Games in Idaho and also played on the singles games on the day before. On the next day he was supposed to play mixed doubles—the man is a machine!

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This was my experience at Bend. A couple days ago, I got my official rankings from the USAPA. I’m officially a 3.0 player! A start point in my way to 5.0. When will I arrive there? I don’t know and I don’t care…I will just work as hard as I can…

On Thursday August 31st, I’m heading to the PPF Tournament of Champions in conjunction with the Brigham City Fall Classic (2.5 – 4.5 Non-PPF) in Utah.

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I will play mixed doubles with my partner Sarah Hart from Meridian. I’m expecting more great game atmosphere, most importantly, more experience. Sarah is a great athlete and we will have a lot of fun.

To be continued…

BAPA Summer Social

It’s time again to relax with a cool drink and some great food and socialize with all your pickleball friends.

This year our president, Kevin Johnson, is cooking some wonderful beef brisket for our main dish. Buns will also be provided.

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WHEN: Tuesday, June 13, at 5:30 pm

WHERE: Shelter 1 at Settlers Park. Settlers Park is at the corner of Ustick and Meridian Road. Shelter 1 is the one we used last year. It is a little north of the restroom building. It’s best to park in the lot west of the tennis and pickleball courts that you enter off of Ustick. Since there is a lot of construction at the Meridian Road/Ustick intersection, it might be best to approach from Linder Road and turn east on to Ustick to get to the parking lot. Allow at least 10 minutes extra travel time to get through this area.

WHO: All BAPA members and their spouse, partner, significant other.

WHAT TO BRING: One side dish or dessert. Sign up at www.perfectpotluck.com. Just put Carlson for the coordinator name and bapa for the password. By signing up, we will know how much meat to cook, and we can also avoid a lot of duplication of dishes.

If you are bringing something gluten-free, please mark it as such.

If you don’t want to use the potluck website, please email or call Trish Carlson at dougpat4@hotmail.com or 309-264-6438 to let us know you are coming.

WHAT NOT TO BRING: BAPA will be providing table service (plates, forks, spoons, napkins) and bottled water. You can bring your own drinks, but our contract with Meridian Parks does NOT allow alcohol.

There will be picnic tables, so you don’t need to bring chairs.

Please sign up soon so we can plan for everyone!

Dick Johnson again brings home Gold at the US OPEN!

Boise’s own Dick Johnson won a gold medal at the recent US Pickleball Open Championships!

From Lawana Johnson:

Besides the Gold in 75 Mixed Doubles with Gail Brown, Dick also took 4th in 75 Singles and 5th in 75 Mens Doubles. Medaling again at this year’s US Open begins Dick continuing into his third consecutive year of medaling in all 6 Grand Slam Major events in 2015-17 (22 National/World medals: 9 Gold, 8 Silver, & 5 Bronzes). He is also one of the few pickleball players in the world who have played in both the tennis and pickleball US Opens.

djuso It was the largest (and, many felt the toughest tourney in history). 1300 players from 15 countries competed over 7 days (compared to 900 at last year’s Nationals). 48 lighted courts in beautiful Naples, Florida, including a spectacular covered stadium court with box seating. Televised by CBS Sports. Prize monies for the pro events. Wheelchair events. Clinics by the Professional Pickleball Academy. Entertainment each day.

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