Summer Nationals 2016(2) by Earl Ball!! Lakeside, OH
The third reason I’m traveling to Lakeside for the summer Nationals is to try and extend the record for National Championships to 20. Lary Faris retired with 16. I have a Championship caliber partner, Dave Kudro. Dave is one of Florida’s top players having played in the “Masters” the last several years; remember Florida is the place all the great players gather in the winter to test their abilities against the best. Dave was brought to prominence by one of our games best and most fierce competitors, Mel Erb. Mel has some health issues so he can’t play, however; I called Mel last month to be sure, and would have stepped aside if he had wanted to try, and I’m sure that’s what Dave would have wanted. Dave and I will try to make Mel proud by bringing home the bacon so to speak!
Speaking of fierce individuals; have you been following what has been said about Pat Summit the former Tennessee women’s basketball coach? They say you wanted to avoid the “Look”. Well we had our own Pat Summit. Her name was Joan Wheeler and she won out of pure desire. She was a fierce competitor that intimidated the opponent with her look, mannerisms, and play. You didn’t want to get the look. She was one of shuffleboards most successful players ever. At the end of one season she just up and walked away, never to be hears from again. She had like 816 points and would have made a 1000 for sure. I guess careers end like that!
Earl Ball said this about Joan in 2004: “But there’s a different side of her off the court. She voluntarily handles all the get-well cards for the FSA. Is the 1st to hand out a card of Congratulations to someone who has reached a cherished goal. She’s very artistic, creating many of the certificates, as well as table favors we see when we attend Shuffleboard festivities. Dedicated to her grandson, 10-year-old Derek, She’s sends part of her winnings from each tournament to him for his future car fund. And of course, behind every successful woman stands a man. In this case a mountain of a man, husband, Clarence, who spoils her rotten by tending to her every need and making sure she gets to every tournament.”