THE “MASTERS CHAMPION” ONE MORE TIME
Stan asked me to write an article on what it’s like to win one more “Masters”. Many of you know I haven’t been writing since my major back surgery in June. Trying physically and mentally to get back to where you were before the surgery is all consuming, many of you know that; I’ve still got a way to go but I am making progress! I scored 32 points this year trying my sophomore season as the worse seasons of my Pro career but I made it into the “Masters”. Now that I’ve made it, how am I going to deal with these kids, all top shelf players! I say kids because they have taken to calling me “old man”, mind you they are very respectful the way they say it, but they haven’t delt with the treachery of an old man in their young lives, now how to shake them up, take them off their stride, and give me that small edge I knew I would need. The “strategy”, don’t turn in a doctor’s letter stating I can’t walk in the tournament even though I knew the chances of walking 21 games was a stretch, particularly in my present physical condition but was my only chance. I was pretty sure none of them would turn in a letter because they knew I would; you should have heard them mon and cry when Glenn told them it would be a walking tournament, their plans were already in shambles, they hadn’t prepared through out their career to play a walking tournament so they didn’t know what it was like to deal with a different drift from each end of a court, what it was like to realize you were using the drift card for the head when you were playing from the foot. Keep in mind, John Houghtaling only plays the head, Dwayne Cross does play walking tournaments but hadn’t delt with the pressure of the “Masters”. Keith Morton only plays the foot; Don Rood only plays the head and neither had played a walking tournament and it was their 1st “Masters”. Mike Seyfer hadn’t played a walking tournament. Tom Winkelspecht represented the biggest concern; he is younger and does play walking tournaments. He plays with an edge and is driven to succeed and he’s not sane. I ask you, would a sane person get on his bicycle this coming Monday morning in Melbourne, Florida and ride it to Salt Lake City, Utah, I rest my case. Players that aren’t sane, but driven, are tough to handle, case in point, Mel Erb, Earl Ball, Al Dronsfield. As a side note, you might keep in mind the name Greg Jones, he’s Tom’s partner and he will make it, he’s also driven. Jerry Stannard, who has been rabble rousing for a walking tournament dropped out midway and when I asked him about it, he said “he didn’t realize he had gotten old”. The Alternate, Rosaire Cote doesn’t play walking tournaments.
I started out by playing two players who were new to the “Masters” but had “career years”. They were nervous; the 1st game was close, the other three were not; I was 6-0 the 1st day, the same as the last “Masters”. The second day was a disaster; poor concentration and worse shot making. I won one game in each match and was 2-4 for the day; in the last “Masters” I was 3-3 with the same problem. With Jerry Stannard dropping out there was now no choice but to finish, so I lathered on my new perfume, Ben Gay, and went to work determined to finish. I played Tom Winkelspecht in the morning and I knew he was the make-or-break match. Every game was a battle but I had regained my concentration and won all three games by the slimmest of margins and finished the day 5-1 and had won the “Masters” before the final day. I got in the car and drove two hours home, picked up Cindy and drove back to Sebring so she could see the Championship Ceremony; I’ve been through several but I won’t forget this one. I was last in the presentation but when President, Bob Hovatter, announced me as Champion, Cindy jumped up in the back of the room and came skipping and exclaiming how proud of me she was, yes skipping (when is the last time you skipped) up the aisle and jumped into my arms; now I ask you, with an ending like that was it a successful season!
A couple of last notes. The Sebring Club did a great job and as much as I want to name names, I know I will miss many but Larry Lane, just finishing his term as President and Phil Martin taking over as President were ever present working feverishly to tend to every detail and they were seamless in their efforts. Judy Holloway did a great job of coordinating everything and FSA 1st Vice President, Marti Noble, who promotes the Sebring Club every chance she gets has every reason and right to be very proud of the organization.
I don’t know what will happen if we ever lose Glenn Monroe! He is simply outstanding at every detail and has control of every detail. That bothers some and at times all of the players but I ask you, would you rather have someone that knows exactly what they are doing or wallow about with uncertainty! By the way the last time we held the “Masters” at Sebring, Glenn had a stroke; he worked so hard at this tournament that I was concerned he would have another.
Go here to see final standings: http://www.fsa-shuffleboard.org/Tournaments/MastersMenFinal.pdf