July 23, 2008, 8AM at the Lakeside shuffleboard courts. A beautiful sunny but crisp morning, and the kids began arriving. Some in jackets, some rubbing the sleepers from their eyes, some searching for their buddies, but all anxiously awaiting the start of the tournament. Moms and Dads trying to calm their nerves and settle them down for the sign-up. Forty-six kids signed up, and would you believe they ate seven dozen donuts that morning?! How wonderful it was to see so many youngsters, ages 5 to 15, so excited about playing shuffleboard. The big attractions that morning were the trophies. The kids would ogle them talking about which one was the prettiest and which one they wanted to win.
I was able to interview a few of them before the tournament began:
CHRISTIAN LEHMAN, 15, from Cincinnati has played for seven years at Lakeside while spending one week there every summer. He loves the game and plans to play as an adult. He was taught the game by Earl Mencel, a well-known and well-respected shuffleboard name at Lakeside. This will be Christian’s last year to play as a Junior.
SALLY PORTMAN, 13, from Cincinnati has played in tournaments at Lakeside the last two years. She has a 2nd Consolation trophy. She loves to play the game, and in tournament play, she feels strategy is very important. Her friends taught her how to play.
GRACE LEHMAN, 13, from Cincinnati has played for 6 years at Lakeside. She did not like the game at first, but really enjoys it now. She has played in 4 or 5 tournaments and has a 2nd Consolation trophy.
BRITNEY, 13 & BRIANA, 11 O’NEAL, from Ann Arbor, MI spend one week every summer at Lakeside with their Grandparents. They have been shuffling for 4 or 5 years. This will be their 4th tournament. Britney has a 4th Consolation trophy and says she was self-taught. When asked what she liked best about shuffleboard she said, “That I’m better than my sister.” Briana says she is very competitive and likes tournament play. She won her first trophy in this year’s tournament. (Watch out big sister!) Congratulations Briana!
MADDIE FARIS, 9, from Cincinnati is so soft spoken and sweet. She is the Granddaughter of the famous shuffleboard player and supporter, Larry Faris, who taught her to play. She is spending a month at Lakeside this year and this will be her first tournament. She is very athletic and involved in other sports. She won her first trophy in this tournament by taking 4th Main, and her very proud Grandpa commented this is the 4th generation of Faris’ to win at shuffleboard. Congratulations Maddie!
MICHAEL HIRSCH, 15, from Newburgh Heights, OH has been playing at Lakeside for 10 years. He has played in many tournaments and has many trophies. He is anxious to play with the adults next season. His favorite thing about tournament play is meeting new people, and he believes that strategy is more important than skill in tournament play. Michael took 1st Main in this year’s tournament. Congratulations Mike!
ISABELLE AERNI, 8, from Chagrin Falls, OH has spent the whole summer, every summer at Lakeside since she was 3. This will be her 5th tournament and has three trophies to her credit. Her Grandpa, Rich Phifer, taught her how to play. She likes to play and thinks it is fun.
EMILY WALKER, 12, from Huntsville, TN is enjoying her first time at Lakeside, and had only played shuffleboard for 3 days before this tournament. She likes the game very much and hopes to continue to play and learn. She is not discouraged by getting beat. She excels in basketball and tennis.
KAITE PHIFER, 11, from Willoughby, OH has been at Lakeside all summer, every summer since she was born. She is the daughter of Bob Phifer and sister of Cindy Phifer, two very good shufflers. She has been playing for 5 years and was taught by Father Bob and Uncle Rich. Kaite took 1st Main in this year’s tournament. Congratulations!!
SARAH AHRENS, 12, from Columbus, OH spends 1 to 2 weeks every summer at Lakeside. This will be her 3rd tournament, and loves the game. She especially loved learning and using strategy. She is also involved in volleyball and soccer.
WADE WILSON, 14, from Toledo has played shuffleboard for 1 week. His friends taught him to play. He likes the game very much and spending time with his friends. This will be his first tournament. He is looking forward to playing as an adult.
RILEY HUBBARD, 12, from Ramona, CA has spent 4 to 6 weeks at Lakeside with his Grandparents since he was 5 or 6. This will be his 7th tournament, placing in 5 of them. He loves the strategy and competition of tournament play and looks forward to playing as an adult.
AUSTIN APPLE, 12, from Dublin, OH has played at Lakeside two weeks every summer since he was 7. He has played in 4 tournaments and placed in all of them. His Dad taught him to play. He thinks the game is fun and really enjoys the competition of tournament play. Austin took 3rd Main this year – Congratulations!
BEN ELBRECHT, 11, from West Columbia, SC has come to Lakeside every summer for 3 weeks since he was 7. He is self-taught and thinks strategy and form are very important. This will be his 2nd tournament.
ANTHONY RAMICONE, 15, from Springboro, OH spends a few weeks every summer at Lakeside. He has played in over 20 tournaments and has amassed over 20 trophies. He is excited about moving up to adult play next year and plans to play shuffleboard as long as he comes to Lakeside. Anthony took 2nd Main this year – Congratulations!
ALEX LENHART, 9, from Rocky River, OH comes to Lakeside every summer for 3 to 4 weeks. He has played for 6 years, but his will be his first tournament. He took 4th Main in this tournament – Congratulations!
What fun it was to talk to these kids and feel their anticipation. It was a smoothly run tournament thanks to Dolores Brown, TD, Jo Miller and Ann Wedel. Great job ladies! And many thanks to all the Pro and Amateur shufflers who gave of their time to be scorekeepers and referees. Their patience and coaching with these kids is amazing and wonderful to see. Just one more reason why I am very proud to be a shuffler!
God Bless & Happy Shuffling; Sandi (Quinn)