A Perfect Day In San Diego

Had an amazing day today in sunny San Diego.  Woke up before noon (still on bartender time), had breakfast, then drove to the Sorrento Valley Racquetball Center for my second private lesson with Aaron Embry.  If you’ve been following my stories in the past, you’ll know that I’ve been geeking out on racquetball.  About two months ago, an acquaintence of mine sent me a link to a Youtube video racquetball tutorial.  In the first one I saw, the instructor, Embry, mentioned that he was filming at aforementioned club, and for some reason, I Googled where the club was located, and it was in San Diego!  I’ve been visiting San Diego twice a year now, my father lives in a suburb of San Diego called La Mesa, so, with the power of the Internet, I got in touch with Embry, and set up a couple lessons when I was going to be in town.  I had the best time at the lessons, and they were a real eye-opener.  One of the first things he taught me was to watch your oponnent when he’s taking his shot, so that you can predict better where the ball will be going.  Well, for the last year, I was conciously NOT doing that.  Mostly, so I wouldn’t be hit in the face with a ball going 100 mph.  He showed me how to cover your face with the racquet, while watching where your oponnent is going to hit the ball.  He walked me through some drills I could practice on my own, which will be helpful in the future.  He taught me a really good lob serve to the backhand, and how I need to reach out for the ball, instead of getting too close to the ball, when hitting.  What an amazing experience!  I recommend to anyone when they want to take what they’re doing to the next level, take a lesson from a pro in the field, or your progress will just plateau after awhile, and you’ll never get better.

After my lesson, I went to a coffee shop called Filter.  Funky place, the front area, and side area, both open to the elements.  There was a wonderful breeze coming through, so it was quite delightful.  I ordered a Vietnamese coffee, and a slice of Apple Pie a la mode.  Hey.  When on vacation.  I sit down between a guy and a girl with laptops open.  I got out my book, sipped at my coffee, took a big bite of my apple pie, and relaxed.  It felt amazing.  This is my kind of vacation.  Forget going to this thing and that thing, seeing this, seeing that.  Give me a good book, a cup of great coffee, a beautiful day, and I’m in heaven.

After about an hour at the coffee shop, I take off, and go for a walk.  Bars, sushi restaurants, up and down the street.  I see a tennis shop across the street.  Hey, let’s check that out, why not?

I go in, and the two-room place is jammed with stuff.  Tons of racquets on one wall.  Tennis shoes, hats, five racks of work-out clothes.  An Asian woman behind the counter is stringing a racquet.  I strike up a conversation with her.  Seems like a nice lady.  We talk about how popular tennis is in San Diego right now.  I tell her I’m a racquetball player.  Looks like she has a total of five racquetball racquets on the wall.  Not so popular.

I look through the clothes, go to the medium rack.  I’m pretty happy with myself.  I’m 43, and can wear a medium shirt/jacket.  I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.

I find a jacket that catches my eye.  It’s by Sergio Tacchini.  When I was in high school and played tennis, Sergio Taccchini was the shit.  Really expensive.  I look at the price tag.  Hey, the jacket is on sale for $48.  I’m on vacation, I need a memento, why not buy a jacket?  Even though right now it’s 85 degrees out.

I try it on, I love it, buy it, say good-bye to the lady behind the counter stringing racquets, and take off.  I walk to my car, hop in, get out my cell phone, open up my Maps app, type in my Dad’s address.  How amazing is the GPS on the phone?  I am floored how incredible it is. Hmm.  I’m hungry for ice cream.  You type in ice cream, bada-bing, bada-boom, here’s ten selections in a five mile radius.  No more stressing about getting lost.  It’s a game changer.

I hit a little traffic, no big deal.  I take in the interstate scenery.  Your usual billboards on the side, but there’s a lot more twists and turns than in Iowa.  It’s almost more fun.  I love driving, always have.  When I turned 14, on the dot, that day, I got my learner’s permit.  And on my 16th birthday, I started driving by myself.  It’s especially enjoyable when you’re alone.  I very rarely even listen to music.  It’s a perfect time to reflect, relax, drive.

I get home, my Dad’s gone to the driving range to hit some balls.  I have a really nice chat with my Stepmom Mary.  She’s awesome, and an incredible cook.  She made a cherry pie this week that was beyond words.  The damn crust was scrumptious!

I’m back in Iowa tomorrow, as long as my plane doesn’t go down.  I hope that isn’t one of those things that comes true, then millions of people go to my blog, and see that I wrote that, and think, omg.  It actually happened!

Really excited to tell more bar stories in the future.  There’s always something going on.

I’ll leave you with this.  After my first racquetball lesson was over, I was talking to my teacher, Aaron Embry, and I was telling him how much I loved the game of racquetball.  He says, yeah.  In the end, we’re just like dogs.

We like to chase a ball around.

-Clint Curtis


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