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Constructing a Point

Last weekend I was invited to play in a Platform Tennis tournament with my good friend Amy from my moms’ group. (Once the kids pass 8, it’s no longer a “mommys’” group!). Although we had been taking clinics all winter and played pick-up games on the weekends, this was our first year in the tournament. Pretty competitive and competent in most things we do, we were sure we would win.

Since grade school I’ve always participated in a variety of sports from track and softball to basketball, soccer, volleyball, surfing and more. To be quite honest, I never realized playing sports was an option, I thought it was just what kids did. Lucky for me I was on the taller, faster side and I had the drive needed to compete and win. In high school my varsity volleyball team won State championships two years in a row; I went to States for triple-jump in track (what the heck is triple-jump?). Unfortunately, I dropped sports almost completely in college; maybe from burn-out, maybe because I went to a D-1 school; or maybe I was just having too much other fun! It took me almost two decades to realize that I truly loved testing my body’s strength and skills, and could still be athletic and competitive in adulthood. That’s when I rediscovered net sports. I played West Coast paddle growing up, but the East Coast variant is slightly different,  having a smaller court raised and caged in with a chain link fence. Under the platform is a heater, so on very cold, wet or snowy days you can heat the court to create safe playing conditions. Relatively easy to learn, it’s a fabulous outdoor winter sport. Now, tennis, paddle, and pickleball are my latest obsessions. Like I dream about them at night and long to play all day kind of obsessions. #WeekendWarrior #RetirementGoals


So Amy and I entered the tournament confident and, we thought, well prepped. And then…we lost. In the first round. To a pair of women about 20 years our senior. While my partner and I were athletic, agile, quick and fairly good (Amy played squash in college) the teams in their 50s, 60s and even 70s were consistently winning. Yes, they may have been older and slower than us, but they were wiser. Paddle is a game of patience, something Amy and I lacked: We wanted to go for the win, kill the ball, kick ass. That doesn’t work in paddle. 


After knocking us out in the first round, the reigning champion, a friendly foe in her 60s gave us a tip. She said once we could learn how to "construct a point" we’d better understand the game of paddle and start winning. I haven’t been able to get this out of my head and I wish I could get her on the horn to explain further. Amy and I weren't thinking that far ahead on the court. We were just focused on getting our serves in, returning the ball, smashing it into the corner cage. We were playing hard and fast, but without perspective. This is how one makes mistakes in paddle, and we made a lot of mistakes on Saturday. The objective of paddle is to force the other team to make the errors while staying consistent and cool. No kills needed. But a different set of skills.


As I was preparing the lunch for school yesterday I applied the concept of patience and perspective to “constructing a meal” instead of just throwing a bunch of items into the lunch box. What would be a win-win? What would make my kids smile. Perhaps a 17-grain sandwich slathered in nutella? I thought about my home: Marie Kondo came up with a brilliant way to construct a home that is free of clutter and crap. Applied to business, how best to construct a brand? A company team? An investor email? A blog post? 


The stakes vary here but I hope you get my point. Instead of just throwing spaghetti at the wall all the time, it’s important to step back, take a breath and connect with the soul of the task. What is the uber-picture? What will it take to realistically get there? How can I “construct” a point?


Hopefully by the time I’m in my 60s (perhaps even winning paddle tournaments), I will completely understand how to construct a point in paddle, and can pass along advice to younger players. For now, my focus is constructing our award winning brand SPLATZ™ and building One Fun™ Company. If anyone reading this blog is building a company or constructing a brand I would love to hear from you. I’m happy to answer any of your questions, brainstorm, give feedback and definitely hear your ideas. I am very grateful for all the free advice I have received along the way, on and off the court. 


Alli DiVincenzo
CEO, Cofounder
One Fun Company, Inc.



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