Contemplating the FSA 2020/21 Season by Earl Ball. Posted 2020 09 01.

As I contemplate the Open Schedule and wonder where the season will take us in Florida and when it will take us there, I realize it is only a month away!

We all know the tournament host Clubs must decide if they will or will not host under the FSA Protocols by September 16th and then the FSA Board will meet a few days after that and decide what we will do. Don’t forget they need to account for tournament directors as they decide what to do; two tournament directors have talked with me in making their decisions and both have decided to direct, other than that, I have no idea what’s happening on that front.

It is probably necessary to look at the season in two halves because things may change by the 1st of the year and in all likelihood the Board will make changes as we go depending on what the current situation is anyway. Port Charlotte decided at the end of last season to stop hosting tournaments so the schedule has holes in it before any of the Clubs decide what to do. It should be no surprise if small clubs, not enough courts, or private clubs, another level of protocols, decide not to host. When the Board meets, they will know what holes need to be filled depending on when they decide to start the season. St Pete and Lee County have said they would host and I’ve heard Bradenton, Avon Park and Sebring will host; Maybe they can fill in the open spots as, outside of St Pete, no one Club, will in all probability be able to handle the demand. Lakeland is still possible and maybe St Cloud which would be a big bonus to the east coast. Maybe the mixed tournament at Tropical Haven can be played and Ft Pierce could probably handle the demand if the City lets them.  Hollywood probably shouldn’t be under estimated, they could handle the demand.

There is always the possibility the FSA could scrap the schedule and rebuild it; at least the 1st half, and rotate tournaments between the Clubs willing to host with two each week to handle demand.

Demand, of course, will be down compared to other years; the Canadians probably won’t be able to come right away and some snow birds may stay put, at least until it gets unbearable but there is certainly demand to play tournaments. The closest example I can use is the Zephyrhills Club where we are playing six days a week with Wednesday and Saturday being tournament days. There are only a few more players for tournaments but the makeup of the field is quite different than on fun days. Lots of players want to play competitive matches.  Our virus numbers continue to trend down in Florida.

As a side note, if the FSA decides not to start the season for some time to come, how will the Winter National Doubles be handled in Bradenton in early November? In that it is a National Tournament it could be played. The FSA currently awards Florida points for the tournament but could decide not to this year!

Earl Ball 9-1-2020

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4 Responses to Contemplating the FSA 2020/21 Season by Earl Ball. Posted 2020 09 01.

  1. Paul Hawkins says:

    I’m currently checking the FSA and CD webpages around 4x a day for updates on our upcoming season. Strangely, I’m always hoping there’s been no change as that means no more clubs have dropped tournaments. It would be nice if there was an update when a club confirms they will be holding tournaments – some good news would be great for a change and it could positively encourage clubs who are dithering to follow suit.

    I think I’ve only been on the courts 5x times since mid Dec and I’m chomping at the bit to get back to playing. I’ve got masks, gloves and sanitizer gel ready to go. I’ll happily accept and play under any and all protocols.

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  2. Joan McCurdy says:

    I appreciate the effort many are doing for The Shuffle News and the protocols to keep our sport vital

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  3. Glen Peltier says:

    Thanks Earl for making us think what might happen this year and maybe how we can keep it alive. I believe the people desperately need the game and will appreciate anyone who makes the effort to keep it alive in Florida. The president of the fsa is a great players and i,m sure he will do what he can.

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  4. Jerry Stannard HOF, Pres. GOLF LAKES says:

    Florida is still one of the worst states for COVID and I don’t feel that state tournaments should be held. Traveling to distant venues would cause some to use motels and restaurants, which would greatly increase the chance of getting the disease. The scientists and health experts tell us to wear masks and social distance [actually 10ft] and also to stay home. I feel that certain venues in districts could very likely be made safe for district events . Obviously the turnouts will be smaller than usual, which are becoming smaller every year. An example was the “NATIONALS” held at Lakeside, Ohio where the doubles had 9 teams and others were smaller than usual. The format was changed to a match being 16 frames, 8 on each color, is this really a “NATIONAL’ tournament. Lets wait and see what the next few months bring and then revisit the scene. Yes, we are a cautious group but we are OLD, the most affected group and have the worst response to the disease. We have patience, we can wait. Maybe we can work with new players to make them better instead of traveling all over.

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