Extreme Cold Couldn't Deter 10th Annual Kansas City Men’s Open

JANUARY 19, 2010

See the slide show below!

2010 KC Open - Let it Snow!Though it is gaining momentum, the brand identity of platform tennis in Kansas City ranks somewhere just above curling and perhaps a bit below horseshoes. Our friends stare in odd amazement as we explain that, on Tuesday nights, we tend to play our sport in shorts, preferably in near-freezing temperatures. They think we’re nuts. It was a group of sheer lunatics, then, that stepped onto the planks at 8am on January 9th to kick off the 10th annual Kansas City Open. The temperature was 6 below zero (give or take). Despite the weather, this year’s event is the best we’ve ever had. It’s not even close. For this we have to thank the American Platform Tennis Association (APTA) and the following brave souls: Chris Gambino, Todd Ward, Jay Woldenberg, Mark Fischl, and several other high quality players from Chicago and St Louis, to name a few.

In the end, Gambino/Woldenberg defeated Ward/Fischl in the final (somehow we’d seeded it correctly) while Schaefer/Schaefer took third with a win over Insko/O’Neal. In the battle of the more usual suspects, Stroer/Fluri took 5th with a hard-fought third set tiebreak win over Drew/Studi. Meanwhile Metzler/Waters (one of whom prefers waterboarding to an 8am match) held off Fuemmeler/Herring in a bitterly cold double no-show default. Punishment forthcoming.

2010 KC MenFor those of us who came out late Sunday morning for the final (more than you would guess with temps just into double digits), it was the highest level of platform many had seen in person and we enjoyed it thoroughly. Beginning with the APTA instructional workshops on Friday, given by Todd Ward, and through the early rounds of the tournament, instruction was given freely and eagerly accepted. On Friday Ward hosted an APTA sponsored clinic for several hearty souls who braved the two degree weather to learn how to teach the sport. Of course when your opponents are giving you tips, the match is likely uneven. And many were. But as with most paddle tournaments, we made new friends, learned a little (some infinitely more than others), drank a few beers, and enjoyed a food-laden Saturday night party complete with ping-pong wagering.

Thanks to Bill and Laura Nelson for hosting the party in their beautiful home (especially Laura who did the cooking herself). Thanks to David and Kevin Connor, Kevin Kowalik, and Andy Metzler for their tireless organizational efforts. Thanks to Sandy Smith who made sure everything ran on time and pulled a new ball out of her pocket whenever one reached escape velocity. And most of all, thanks to those of you who traveled here for the good of the game. You moved it forward, at least in KC. We are grateful. Please come again.

2010 Kansas City Men’s Open Slide Show - by Kevin Kowalik and Others

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