IT’S TIME FOR THE US NATIONALS!! THE 2006 US NATIONALS!!
by earl ball (Lakeside, Ohio.) 2006
Exciting or What!! Tomorrow morning I get on a plane and fly to Cleveland to play the Summer Nationals at beautiful Lakeside, OH. It’s always great to go to Lakeside because they have always treated me so well and I know when I get there the courts will be full of young people having fun; some of them will play in the Junior National finals under the lights on Wednesday evening before a packed house. Betty and Buzz Downing will be there getting ready to run all the tournaments. They along with Dolores Brown will do a great job, so easy to take for granted. It’ll be great to see Jacque Bergeron, one of the best ever and Lary Faris, the top National men’s player ever. Maybe I’ll get to play Mel Erb and John Brown again or maybe Ohio’s best ~~ Bobby Sudomir, the home town boy. I’ll be looking for him; he’s the only one to defeat me the last three years, so he’s on my list! My personal choice to win is Don Clovis, a special story. A few years ago a young man had the school assignment of writing about his favorite sports star and he wrote about Don Clovis, a decorated war hero and all around great guy; how many shuffleboard players have that happen to them?? The young man stood there all through the finals last year and I so wanted Don to win, but I didn’t want to lose. This will be Don Clovis’ year. In the non-walking division Darvin Mueller will be back to defend his tile but he’ll face a stiff challenge from Pete Reinhart and Gus Bondi.
I’m sure Buck Buchanan will be back to defend his title in the closed division and Paul Miller along with Jim Clayton will be there to stand in his way. I predict that in the end, Buck will make another great shot and he’ll be standing there with that big grin saying “I don’t know how it happened either.”
The lady’s division has some great stars out to dethrone Ann Wedel. I look for Landy Atkins, a Florida Masters player to be tough. Cecil Messier; she’s whipped me the last two times I’ve played her and moved to the top of my list. Sandi Quinn has been close so many times ~~ could this be the year?? Don’t count out all time National points leader Thelma Springer; she may have one last surprise in mind.
On Tuesday we have the National Meeting and it’s always fun to see all the States represented and this year as the Florida Central District Representative I’ll get to make a nomination for next years “Hall of Fame” induction.
On Wednesday the atmosphere will really change as Vivian flies into town and Stan Williamson picks her up form the airport. With the sense of direction of the two of them, they’ll wind up in Chicago shopping on the Miracle Mile and Stan will get a real idea of what it’s like to have his money spent!!!
On Thursday the Doubles begin and Stan and I’ll be out to get them all. The “Hall of Fame” Banquet and Inductions take place Thursday evening. It’ll be a great week!
Earl Ball of THE SHUFFLER 2006 07 22.
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