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2012 APTA Nationals - News from Tournament Central
Thursday, March 15 - Sunday, March 18, 2012
Day Four - Finals
Shot of the day: Johan hit a volley that somehow landed on the top of the court siding, where the screens are connected to the beams, and slowly crept its way along, landed on Berka/Eberly's side in play, and the point continued. Whaaaaa? [Catch it on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnBdk71TutI]
Men's semi's between Parsons/Stulac and Broderick/Gambino lasted over 3 hours on a warm sunny day. Stulac never took his jacket off. The men's final has to be pushed back at least an hour so the boys get a little rest.
This is Day 4 for me at Nationals. Not quite so wide-eyed anymore since everyone left is high powered and I'm expecting the crazy shots now and the long points and the oohs and ahhhs from the crowd. Everyone seems to be built like Gumby and have arms a day long.
Men's finals just wrapped up. I'm so sad. As one of the viewers said, "Why can't everyone win?" And in platform tennis, everyone is a winner.
Apparently in order to work for APTA you have to get up early. My housemates, Ann Sheedy and Isabel Cabanne were out of our beautiful house before I even finished showering. This job is very challenging for a day person like myself. Off to watch the Women's Quarterfinals at Huntington CC.
March 17 9:28 AM
The Women's Quarterfinals have started on a sunny day (not the best paddle conditions.) Watch the live streaming video on www.platformtennis.org.
A footfault warning in the women's semifinals. That will get into your head. So far, two major tags - I'm guessing the men's will be a little more brutal.
We lost the internet for a while but we are back on. You should see the number of wires hanging from the rafters in the hut. This is adult spring break today, men and women lounging on the hill, sunglasses on, watching some powerful and some patient Men's Quarterfinals. Beer tent is open. Some fans are contemplating a run to the local Oyster House. One of those days you don't want to end, unless you are Parsons and Stulac fighting for a win in the 3rd set.
Chilly and beautiful evening. Crowds have barely diminished probably because the level in the men's quarterfinals is out of control. A few lights are causing some issues, but then so are Juan's spin dropshot. Could use some cocoa.
Day Two From the APTA Nationals
Two momentous happenings in the platform tennis world occurred this weekend.
First, it is with the utmost sadness that we note that Nancy Mangan passed away Thursday night. She was a paragon of the game, and one of the strongest proponents of the women’s game ever. She started a platform tennis dynasty that her daughter, Bobo Delaney, and her son, Tim Mangan, and their kids are carrying on. Both Bobo and Tim are playing in the Nationals this weekend which is a fitting tribute to their intrepid mom. And not without coincidence, Nancy was an inductee into the Hall of Fame twenty years ago, at the same time that Lucie B. McAvoy was inducted. These two powerhouse families will always be connected.
Last night, Tim McAvoy was inducted into the Hall of Fame last night at a rousing ceremony at the Huntington Country Club. Duane Hayden commenced the speeches, followed by Hall-of-Famer Bob Brown, with Steve Baird offering the crowd a glimpse into the life of Tim McAvoy, President of APTA. (It should be noted that while Tim is a member of the Hall of Fame Committee, he had no idea about his own nomination until it was announced earlier this season.) At last night’s induction, Tim was surrounded by his wife, Nancy, his sister, Sue, his sister, Laurie (who is playing in the Nationals) and his brother Jimbo, and about two hundred of the sport’s faithful, cheering his great honor.
The APTA community embraces the Mangan family and offers them the utmost support and love during an impossibly sad time. And at the same time, we offer that same affection to the McAvoy family, who has created a wonderful atmosphere in the paddle community.
First Impressions from the APTA Nationals
Day Two - Saturday
I'm turning to the APTA facebook page for my reporting today. Join me there for updates from my adventure at the Nationals.
Day One From the Big Kahuna - Friday
Struggling to get everyone’s name straight. Just watched Chelsea Nusslock and Mary Dotten win against a new team who everyone on the deck was pointing at. Ends up one of the gals, Roxy Enica, Juan Martinez-Arraya’s assistant, just started playing this season. So impressed by athletes like that. Rain is coming down. Conditions getting a little more challenging.
Hunger setting in, even though all I’m doing is watching. The men have been dribbling in and listening to the international accents is truly fun. So far, only two seeds – 14 (Laurie Hissey/Patti Burkhart and Hallie Bodman/Sally Jones)–aren’t in the Round of 16. Things seem to be running smoothly.
Lunch at Huntington Country Club. Always lively when Tim McAvoy is at your table. Met some girls from my hometown (Philly area) who were just eliminated from the tournament. They decided it was okay to publish their names –Denise Studnick and first-timer Daphne Connor. They were really broken up about their loss and were looking for ice for their beverages. We are all convening back at the club to watch an old high school friend, Greg Eger, and partner Patrick Nowlan play their first match of the day.
The Mangan/Delaney vs. Brzova/Stoklasova women’s match was one to watch. The Ova invasion outlasted the legends of paddle. Meanwhile, the women’s round of 16 is winding down and the women are about done for the day. More outbursts of frustration and more smattering of applause echo in the canyon. Mandell/Viant vs Main/Kazkevich are also wowing the crowd. Aila Main had a mishit off the rim of her racquet that bounced over the net and spun right back over to her side for an untouchable winner. Take ‘em when you get ‘em. Tomorrow brings the big matches, which is hard to believe, as today was so incredibly impressive.
Got my first taste of the Brian Uilhlein spin. Yowza. His opponents were laughing during warm-up in that “What the hey?” kind of way. His partner (Scott Estes) had a wicked spin, too. Hard to know where the ball was going to go or land, which made a fun party game for the fans in the stands. Beer delivery made—just in time for Sharon Leroux and myself.
Notes from President’s Cup
A rookie at Nationals — getting an eyeful
Saw a limousine outside of IHOP Pancake House. My first Long Island experience.
I watched the women’s matches for most of the afternoon at Nassau Country Club. We hung out in the square hut with views of 4 courts – clean and rather neat. While I didn’t actually get there until the women were four hours into it, the action was very high-powered. There were long points, hard drives, perfect lobs. Perfect platform tennis. For the lunch spread—egg salad, shrimp, salads in cut glass crystal glasses, a cookie tray, beef barley soup, grilled chicken, fruit salad, impeccable service—a very impressive job by the Nassau Country Club. Lisa Rudloff and Irene Cabanne were keeping track of the scores. It is always amazing how casual an atmosphere you can find in the platform tennis community while on the court it is extremely competitive. When we left for the Men’s President’s Cup, the women’s Region I and Region V were vying for the cup. Classic beautiful paddle on a perfect paddle day, cool and overcast.
A short drive to Huntington Country Club and the look of the club and the mood couldn’t be more different. There were men on both sides of a small canyon, where the courts lay. The black zip-ups of Region V with skull and crossbones took over the hill. You could smell the stogies being lit up. There were men lined up all along the balcony railing of the hut, like ants on a candy bar. Even though the tip-top seeded men weren’t playing, there was blasting and finesse on all five lower courts. The first full point I watched, Sebastian Bredberg, who was subbing in for an injured player, hit a tweener. I personally don’t watch much men’s paddle, and while I’ve seen this on the tennis court, it was a first for me in this sport. A few points later, a hard drive was played. Sebby let it go between his legs. The ball hit the wires and Sebby’s partner then played the ball as they switched places. And the point went on from there.
Injury report –torn plantar fascia, pulled quad.
Rob Coster offered me a beer. I couldn’t say no.
Sights from the courts: A ball from Court 1 was hit so hard, that it caromed off a racquet, no names mentioned, and landed in Court 3 – almost clearing the wire into Court 4. I saw a man serve the ball and land on the service line himself, with what was a great non-foot-fault leap. Minutes later, I saw a player blast a forehand drive from the baseline and launch himself forward onto the service line. Mikhail Baryshnikov would be proud. Points went on and on; just when you thought someone hit a clear winner, someone else got a racquet on it and got it back into play. Twenty-ball rallies were the norm. And then a few minutes later, a drive was hit so hard, it caromed off a racquet and, seriously, flew up out of the canyon, over the hut on the hill, and landed uphill near Court 7. Wow.
Syracuse barely stayed alive in the NCAA basketball game. About six women and thirty men watched that but, more importantly, watched Region I make Region V a little nervous. It came down to the last matches of the day. Region I had to do the unheard of, win all five matches. With two under their belt, it was looking good, but Region I couldn’t hold off the onslaught of Region V. Meanwhile, somehow in the Women’s President Cup, Region IV was on a sneak attack. In the end, Region V prevailed in men’s and women’s. A sweep by the Chicago area players!
Dinner at Nassau Country Club is delicious and impressive. From meat carving to mini taco bowls, the food is perfect for the hungry players. Mark Fischl and Lisa Rudloff present the President’s Cup to the Region V women and men. Pete Rose was there. He walked proudly off with his region’s cup. Two young men seated at our table, including Mike M. were possibly hosting a late night party at their hotel room (don’t tell his mother, who is playing in the women’s draw). Leaving by 9:00 seemed like a good idea. Some of the men didn’t have to play until 1:30 PM, while the women’s gun went off at 7:30 AM.
One day down, three to go.