OMG – What A Memory!!! Earl Recounts 2016

“THE GREAT SEASON” by EARL BALL!!

Stan has asked for Henry’s and my take on our great season so far. I won’t feel like he is jinxing me but Henry is a different story. For instance he always draws in the same spot, he is always concerned about whom we are going to play and he likes to get a bye. I on the other hand don’t concern myself with the draw; I figure the other team has to play us and they should be concerned and I’d rather play than have a bye. If we should lose, even a game, he figures that it was meant to be and I figure we should have done something about it to make it different.
An overview of the season so far: As you know if you are a shuffleboard player it is difficult to remember what happened if you win and easy to remember what happened if you lose. We started the season in Leesburg at Hawthorne. We both like the courts because they are consistent and we played drifty courts in every match but that’s all I remember except that we won. The 2nd tournament was at the Zephyrhills Club where we are both members but I don’t remember any particulars, we won. The 3rd tournament was at Clearwater and was a mixed. Henry and his partner, Sharon Upson, were defending Champions and were on the other end of the chart from me and my partner Dianna Morrison. Things didn’t go well for Henry and his partner but Dianna played great and my game was on too. We won and that once again is all I know. Betmar, in Zephyrhills, was next and that’s my home. I know more about each of the courts than anyone alive and should play well there. Betmar has very large tournaments and this one was large even though the Internationals were going on at the same time. I remember we played courts 13, 15, 14, 16 and 4. Our 1st match was on 13 and went three games but really wasn’t close. We had a large audience, we usually do when we play, but especially at Betmar and believe it or not most are rooting against us; Henry usually tells his opponent “see all those people, they are all rooting for you” they find it hard to believe but it’s true. You expect that on the road but not at home. On the 3rd day with about 30 spectators for the finals we did get beat and I feel at fault because I mixed up court 4 and 5 in my mind and not only misled Henry but also missed shots that I never miss; that’s not to take away from Stan Williamson, who was on fire or Mike Seyfer who never missed a hammer. They played great and “it was meant to be”. Next was The National Singles in Bradenton; neither Henry nor I care to play on the courts in the Bradenton area. They are beaded but not consistent and at least part of that is due to the wind. The game in that part of the State is clear and score your hammer and neither of us finds that much fun. Scoring is hard because of the type of disc they use; the fast beaded courts don’t lend themselves to holding blocks. It isn’t unusual for tournaments, even districts, to go three days because so few teams can play three matches a day due to the inability to score. Henry was out after two matches but I managed to struggle through with most matches going three games. I lay my ability to stay in the tournament to the fact that I didn’t play any locals until the finals. In the finals, in front of no spectators, I played the class of Bradenton, Jim Miller. In the 1st game, I needed one block to win and Jim needed two and it was my hammer. On Jim’s 3rd shot he miss-hit a block he was trying to kitchen but it still went halfway across the court and stopped in the kitchen but that was OK because I had a good hide and was shooting my 3rd shot needing only four points. My block stopped behind the hide but on the 7/8 line. Jim blocked the possible double. I guess I was rattled, remember, I can give him his next hammer and still have another chance to win, I shot my hammer in the kitchen; 20 off game over. The 2nd game wasn’t close. We then played Deland with their worn-out courts, well maintained but worn out disc’s and came away with victory even though you could use no finesse. We were all but eliminated in the semis when Henry’s opponent anciently hit one of our discs with his last shot and knocked it onto the scoring surface when he was just trying to block. Henry fired his hammer down the outside and somehow it stopped in the seven and we got to play a 3rd game and won. The finals were against Dean Myklejord and Mike Seyfer and came down to the end of the third game when I used Mike’s block as a stop and won the game 76-75. Melbourne was a bad story turned good. I got a call from my partner, Dianna Morrison, on Saturday morning on my way to the Zephyr Club monthly meeting, she had been sick and in the hospital and couldn’t play; what to do? As I left my seat after the meeting Linda Marshman came up to me and told me she needed 20 some points for the Hall of Fame and asked if I could help her. I knew she had just picked up a partner for the next tournament and was going to Bradenton so she wouldn’t be able to play with me. She wanted to talk with the new partner; she did, secured her release and joined me in Melbourne. She drew into a “Hornets Nest”. In the 2nd match we played Stan Williamson and Sharon Upson in a three-game match; we lost the color but Stan wasn’t able to get his hammers off the lines and we won only to face Ken Offentheir and his local partner Suzi Christian. We won that match and faced local Hall of Famer Sherrie Weise and her partner Tom Winkelspecht, an excellent player, the one who accidentally hit our block in Deland. I knew to play Sherrie. She cleared very well but when she stuck I got her but I made a bad mistake near the end of the 1st game and she got me. I don’t know how we won that game but we did and the 2nd game too. Henry and Glenda Brake, described as the best pound for pound shuffler in the game, went three games to make the finals. And an all Zephyrhills final was underway. You might think Henry and I would play as rivals but that isn’t so. I feel if I don’t win then at least Henry will and I would imagine he feels similar. We led the first game and had 68 points and two hammers. I put my hammer on the 7/8 line and not to be outdone Linda did too. They needed three blocks to win so we could play conservatively and have another chance but of course that doesn’t fit my character and it cost us. I had a hide that I had done well with but didn’t get behind it and Henry put it in the kitchen. I tried to reverse but missed and Henry put that in the kitchen too while holding the eight with his hammer; game over. Needless to say Linda played a great tournament or we would have been gone. She played aggressively and with me that’s a requirement and probably the main reason Henry and I are successful; we both play that way; we know we will miss shots but we have faith in each other that each of us knows what we are doing and we do it well.
I’ve also had a very successful District year winning three of six tournaments and winning consolation in one other. Oddly the two in which I didn’t win were at Winter Haven and was a draw in which I drew excellent partners; guess it wasn’t meant to be. The high light of the season was in a district tournament in Betmar before 80 spectators in the quarter-finals. I was playing Henry and he shot EVERYTHING in the kitchen, they loved it and then went to lunch; my partner and I won the next two and went on to win the tournament.
Earl 11-18-2016

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2 Responses to OMG – What A Memory!!! Earl Recounts 2016

  1. Deb Stuart says:

    Please ask Earl about his word “block” — as in “They needed three blocks to win so we could play conservatively” — taken from his story. I know I should know what it means — but I don’t. Help!! Thank you!

    Like

  2. Earl Ball says:

    A block is another name for a disc and in this case means they were in the 50’s.

    Like

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