A Dave Barry Moment
It is time once again to befriend our iconic columnist Dave Barry. At the onset of a New Year, he mixes humor, satire, and wit to create an anthology of the previous year’s events. With the absurdity of what is 2020, we are taking license to embark on this journey a couple of months early. Through his pen we navigate events which took place during the 36th edition of World Senior Racquetball in September in Albuquerque, New Mexico:
George Spear, from upstate New York, returned to play in the WSRC after a 30 year hiatus. He re-visited daily walks from Midtown to the host hotel. He had forgotten that we transitioned from the Sheraton to the Ramada Plaza. No big deal! George welcomed another five miles to his round trip trek. Impressively, he played doubles with Lake Westphal and had to play down three age categories. George is 111 and Lake is only 98.
Being the first year for our 50/50 raffle, the winning recipient received half the pot. A glorious effort by all to help gross $12k! The winning ticket was selected in the name of Jennifer Mazaroff. As nepotism was questioned, she opted to gift her $6,000 to the IRF.
The Squash 57 division attracted 50 players from around the globe; Australia, Egypt, Great Britain, New Zealand, Outer Mongolia, South Africa, and USA. The mens final featured two international players who reside in the USA. Raaj Mohan (India) prevailed over Tim Baghurst (England) in five sets. Check the Olympic Channel for the upcoming broadcast.
Joe Garcia of Wallyball fame returned to Albuquerque. He played racquetball mixed doubles with a newcomer from Belgium, Angela Meyer. Anticipating the microphone at the banquet to promote JOGO, his ‘Super 19 court venue’ in Reno, Nevada, his request was rejected. His venture was to have opened in 2008.
We did offer the microphone to Jim Turner and Spoony Morrill. Both had agreed to limit their ‘air time’. Jim only spoke for 30 minutes, reminiscing about the Super Bowl, ticking people off, and his quest for a WSRC medal. Spoony’s ghost was aired virtually, a remake of his famous ‘Retirement Speech.’ We cut him off at 3 minutes.
Phil Parker returned after a 4 decade absence. He failed to win a match on his own merits; yet, he went undefeated in the preliminary rounds as all of his match opponents forfeited. Phil was trying to outdo his previous final, which lasted over three hours. Unfortunately, he was defeated in Saturday’s quarter-final playoff match by Ruben Gonzales, in 15 minutes.
Mel (Sharples), our iconic shuttle driver, returned to the fold this year. He decided to place a tip jar on his dashboard. With his keen personality and green chile salsa jars, Mel collected $1000 over the four days. As a retiree, he opted to give it to the IRF.
Raymond Maestas and Aaron Vederoff played the final in the ‘on our resume’ division. Both had won all of their matches at this event years ago; yet, settled for second place based on our creative scoring system. Raymond prevailed in three sets; 11-10, 10-11, 11-10. Regular scoring was used this time around.
To honor ‘social distancing’, categories were kept to a max of 12. Viewing by spectators was limited to Zoom. Everyone at the Saturday Ramada banquet had their own table.
A Pro Paddleball Singles division was added and the matches were played outdoors at the Barelas one-wall courts. Emmitt Coe and Aaron Embry battled in the final, winner take all. Aaron convinced Emmitt to play the Saturday final at 10am, a perfect time for the sun to affect the players. Being the gritty veteran, Aaron prevailed and took home the $1500 purse.
Granddaughters of Nick Sans and Allen Shephard participated in this year’s ladies 35+ singles category. During time outs fans were able to view a You Tube short on the front wall of the Championship court. It showed Nick and Allen competing three decades ago. Both in their 80’s at the time, they were seen exchanging fisticuffs on court 11 at Tom Young’s Athletic Club. The packed crowd upstairs observed without any desire to stop the entertainment.
Of the 140 players, the best face mask was worn by a Doctor from Chihuahua, Mexico. He arrived on a Harley from Newfoundland after a month-long trek. Collectively in singles and doubles he won one match. His mask had a mala cara face with Mexican and Canadian flags.
The Al Wetherill’ Sportsmanship Award went to a collection of past personalities: Reno Birt, Joe Lambert, Carl Loveday, Dario Mas, Willie Minor, Al Sample, Jim Schatz, Walter Schtick, Jordan Teplitz, Lynn Chirigos, Joy Desantis, Sue Embry, Len Higgins, Mary Lou Kackert, Sophie Lesgourgues, Thalia Menninger, Molly Ringwald, Rose Stoltmann.
PASSING: Wayne Toyne, Bill Matotan, Felicia Duran, Clay Childs, Don Harvel, Chris Poucher, Scottie Herron, Pepe Gonzalez
Quote of the Month:
‘ You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist’
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