Draw tournaments in the Southwest Coast District have been controversial from the beginning. For the uninitiated reader, draw doubles is a match where you know not who will be your partner until you both get to the court and discover that both have drawn the same court and line number. That unknown person is then your partner for the tourney.
Over the past decade, our district has offered more and more draws -- moving from none to a few, and gradually to about 9-10 each season. In tournaments that aren't draws, you bring your partner and draw as a team, knowing ahead of time whom you will depend upon at the other end of the court.
Two wildly opposite views have gradually developed. A modest number, many of who are experienced, prefer to play with only a special friend or long-time partner. A few avoid draws as a protest against those leaders who promoted draws in order to level the playing field somewhat, believing registration would increase as ordinary players knew there would likely be lesser numbers of power teams such as "Hall of Famers" and "Masters Veterans" -- very experienced teams and other real or imagined powerhouses to face.
The other extreme has been overheard saying how much they love the draws, because it's like Christmas morning to be surprised to draw an old friend or a new friend to get to know and learn all about. I salute the optimistic and open attitude which helps such people widen their friendship circle. I myself benefitted from meeting an open-minded player early in my Florida career. Roy Norman and I met at the registration table in January, 1994, at the National Open Doubles -- which was also a Florida State Tournament and was held at Trailer Estates. It was my first tournament beyond the Club level. Roy had played for years already, but accepted me gladly and we placed second in consolation that day, followed by many years of regular partnering. It was Roy who inducted me into the Florida Shuffleboard Hall of Fame twelve years later.
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One other factor has to be admitted about the dislike of draws. In the Southwest Coast District, all draws are limited frame games, 16 frames or 75 points, whichever comes first. Host clubs offer a tournament of a chosen style, and the district tournament committee chooses from among the offerings. I'm unaware of any rule which requires that draws must be limited frames, but currently all are. Limited frames prevent the long, drawn-out four-to-seven hour match which prolongs a tournament. Readers may not realize that only Florida, and places influenced by Florida, ever played 75-point games anyway. The 75-point game is only common in Eastern North America, mostly east of the Mississippi River longitude. The West and other countries play frame games, such as 12, 16 or 20 frames.
Florida has long refused to give up the 75-point game, but some players believe resulting long waits at tournaments decreases registration. So, perhaps the same pro who shuns our draws has two reasons rather than one.
This columnist believes we should participate, do our best, welcome newcomers, and support our leaders.
FL P-09A at Hawthorne November 30, M/L, 75 points. Ladies Consolation: 2. Terri Smith.
FL P-09B at Boynton Beach, November 30, M/L, 75 points. Ladies Main: 4. Pam Nurnberger, Consolation: 1. Judy Taylor. Men Main: 4. Dave Kudro-Jerry Stannard. Consolation: 2. Ron Nurnberger-Larry Taylor.
FL A-06A at Clearwater, December 1, Any Amateurs/Any Doubles, 75 points. Main: 2. Gerry Johnson-Brad Thomas.
SWCD D-8, December 3 at Bradenton, M/L, 75 points. Ladies Main: 1. Ann Wedel-Judy Taylor, 2. Evelyn White-Sue Daidone, 3. Kathy Smith-Terri Smith, 4. Siggy Gudzus-Ann Dirkse. Consolation: 1. Marlene Coburn-Letha DeVries, 2. Adriana Cramton-Patty Howell, 3. Bonnie Walker-Linda Wallingford, 4. Donna Schultz-Kathy Laver. Men Main: 1. Larry Mardis-Dwayne Cross, 2. Peter Berg-Joe Carpentier, 3. Bill Batdorff-Vern Wallingford, 4. Paul Knepper-Levi Miller. Consolation: 1. Jerry Everett-Clarence Gingerich, 2. Faren VanDeGrift-Dave Minnich, 3. Joseph Kent-John Roberson, 4. Dave Kudro-Jim Vatter.
SWCD A-5, December 4 at Bradenton , 16 frames or 75 points, Any Ams/Any Doubles, 3rd game 8 frames each color. Main: 1. Arnie Congdon-Gary Lindsay, 2. Jeanie Felske-Terry McNamara, 3. Steve and Cindy Slaughterbeck, 4. Larry Belsley-Sandy Little. Consolation: 1. Jim Clark-Brad Thomas, 2. Kay Thoreson-Jan Gandy, 3. Doris Mularz-Bill Bierema, 4. Dave Everson-Ned Fogarty.
Dec. 8 is the second day of FL P-10 at Lakeland, M/L, Open Doubles, Roll of Champions last season Award Ceremony. Also today is the second day of FL A-07, National Mixed Doubles, 75 points at Avon Park.
Dec. 10 at Tri-Par, SWCD D-9, M/L Draw Doubles, 16 or 75 points, Restricted to St Ams and Pros.
Dec. 11 at Tri-Par, SWCD A-6, District Am Draw Doubles. Any Ams, Any Doubles. St. Ams no points. 16 frames or 75 points.
Dec. 14 is FL P-11A at Ft. Pierce, and P-11B at Zephyrhills Betmar. Also on Dec. 14 is FL A-08 at Palmetto, Any Amateurs/Any Doubles, 75 points. No lunch will be served. This is an opportunity for Amateurs wishing to move up. Last season most teams were from this district. Enjoy!
Gib Stannard, former competitor now faithful spectator turned 101. Happy Birthday, Gilbert!
Petticoat League, Monday November 30. Paradise Bay -4 at Mt, Vernon-8. Village on the Green-4 at Trailer Estates-8. Standings: Mt Vernon-23, Trailer Estates-19, Paradise Bay-15 Village on the Green-15. Three Game winners: Paula Jacobson-Mt.Vernon, Teresa Kenyon- Trailer Estates.