Canadian Open - Reminds Us What Paddle is Really All About

April 14-15, 2018
Toronto, Ontario
By Suzanne Lanthier

2018 Canadian Open MenThere are sixty names going on the Joe Stulac Memorial Trophy this year to celebrate the winners of the 2018 Canadian Open. This is not a typo.

This past weekend proved, to me, what paddle is all about.
It’s about the volunteer member who built a BBQ canopy on Friday in the pouring rain when the forecast did not move from the “Severe Freezing Rain Warning”.

It’s about the B draw players who said “Awesome, that’s great,” when told Saturday morning that they were all folded into one draw with the top guys.

It’s about Lynn and Jenna and Corey and Nikki and Noah and Brian and Terry and Adam whose two nights in Toronto turned into three (and at the time of this writing may still not be at home).

It’s about the volunteer BBQ-er who agreed to play in the freezing rain after a cancellation (in lieu of standing underneath the canopy).

It’s about those crazy-ass guys from Columbus who kept us all smiling all weekend long.

2018 Canadian Open WomenIt’s about Barry and Great Lakes Beer.

It’s about Paul – who did, then re-did, then re-did, then re-did the draws.

It’s about those members that shovelled ice pellets, crawled under courts to re-direct heaters, BBQ’d, cleaned up, lugged stuff, and fetched snow for the beer.

It’s about paddlers who took pictures of 2017 v. 2018 and laughed about how we were suntanning on ‘The Hill’ last year and freezing our butts off this year.

It’s about ponchos.

It’s about the 30+ paddlers who made the decision to not risk the drive. We missed you so much and we will see you next year!

It’s about not one person – not one – complaining.

It’s about Eric Heil who took me aside and said, “Suzanne, if you are thinking about cancelling don’t worry about us-we are just here to have fun. It’s all good.” And it was – all good!

So, for the first time in any amount of time I can remember, we did not crown a winner of the men’s or women’s draws this year. The weather gods did not cooperate.

The last match of the day was somewhere around 2PM, when we had to admit that the ice storm was too much for the heaters. Six hours later, we left the club to play some ping pong and watch some hockey. Joe Stulac would have liked that I think - that we all made the best of a lousy weather situation - we played a bit of paddle, drank a lot of beer and had a ton of laughs. And talked about next year when the sun would (hopefully) be back.

We will see you all then. Thanks for the memories. This was one for the record books.

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