Reppin’ and Preppin’ for the PPA Arizona Grand Slam
At our pickleball club, The Michigan Athletic Club, we get to watch professional pickleball player DJ Howard drilling or as he calls it – “reppin” religiously every morning whenever he is in our hometown of East Lansing. Jojo and I still call him Dan from his earlier days as our tennis coach prior to him turning pro. In addition to winning a lot of medals at major pickleball tournaments, Dan can now be found travelling all over the country to coach at Never Stop Playing Pickleball Camps.
Last year when Jojo and I were playing at the PPA Arizona Grand Slam we were surprised that our first opponents had a coach. They were well-coached, very athletic and took us down quickly. Afterwards Jojo said, “no fair they had a coach.” I reminded her that it actually is fair to have a coach at tournaments. We had a little downtime before our second match and we just happened to run into Dan “DJ” Howard. Jojo and I were standing around chatting with him and then we looked at each other and realized that we were both thinking the same thing…let’s ask Dan to be our coach! Of course we asked him! And Dan being the great guy that he is, agreed on the spot to be our coach for our second match.
We were pretty pumped up and of course nervous when we got to our designated court with Dan on the sidelines giving us a few pointers before the match. I remember that he said, “find your targets and hit them.” Jojo and I hadn’t done a lot of target drilling so in my mind targets meant aiming at our opponents feet, or lobbing and hitting the far corners of the court. We were still talking to Dan as our opponents showed up. They were friendly and we started warming up with them. They motioned for us to come to the net and they had a look on their face like they were stunned and then they said, “OMG is that DJ Howard? How in the world did you get him to be your coach?” That’s when we realized that Dan is a pretty big deal in the world of pickleball. We wanted to get a “W” for Dan and we almost did…somehow we were up 13-11, but blew it at the end and got an “L” instead. I think we still feel bad about that loss…we had the lead and the best coach ever and somehow our opponents beat us. Our ingenious plan to have Dan step in as our coach may have backfired…our opponents were probably so starstruck that they were uber-motivated to get a win as he watched.
As I’m writing this, I’m also texting Jojo to ask if we can squeeze in a last minute lesson this week with Dan to help us figure out how to “find our targets”. It’s never too late to start reppin’! This week at jojo+lo we are also preppin’ and packing-up a wide variety of our jojo+lo graphic tees, tanks, hats, etc. since this year we are overjoyed that we will have our own tent and booth at the PPA Arizona Grand Slam! We couldn’t be more excited to showcase our jojo+lo pickleball apparel at this incredible tournament. If you’re going to be in Mesa, AZ please stop by and say hi and check out the cutest pickleball merch on the planet! We will be selling our brand new Dink Local Arizona tees and tanks and our super cool AZ Grand Slam tees where we used simple line art to capture a sunsetting pickleball behind a Saguaro cactus. We hope to see you in AZ! Until then, please check us out at jojoandlo.com and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn…and keep reppin’!