By Tim Rossi
October 17, 2005
Day One of Super Senior Nationals a Washout
Day one of the 2005 USA League Tennis Super Senior National Championships in Palm Springs, Calif., October 17-19, 2005, was filled with lots of exciting action and team spirit – although none of the action took place on the tennis court.
With a fluke storm that’s been hovering over the region for the past two days, bringing with it thunder, lightning and buckets of rain (Palm Springs’ record for one-day rain totals was broken Monday with 2 inches), first-day play was suspended and the outlook for Tuesday is just as drear.
Playing euchre in the lounge of the Riviera Resort & Racquet Club, the wet weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the Midwest Section’s 6.0 women’s team from Dayton, Ohio. Making their second visit to the second national championships of the fledgling Super Senior league, the ladies are no strangers to unusually bad weather at nationals.
|Midwest 6.0 Women's Card Players © Betsy Bender|
“They told us it never rained west of the Mississippi and the day we got off the plane, it poured,” says team captain Billie Crafton of the team’s trip earlier this year to Kansas City, Mo., for the first Super Senior National Championships. At 80, Crafton, a Kettering Fairmont High School Hall of Famer, was recognized in Kansas City as the oldest female player in the tournament.
As part of the tournament’s gift exchange program, the team brought lanyards from their club (Five Seasons Country Club) and actual buckeyes from Ohio – known as the “Buckeye State.” Ohio received this nickname because of the many buckeye trees that once covered its hills and plains. Tip: Don’t eat the buckeyes – they’re poisonous.
While they clearly are enjoying each other’s company, Crafton sums up the team’s – and presumably every other teams’ – overall feeling: “We just want to be playing tennis.”
The Intermountain Section’s 6.0 women’s team from Valley Country Club in Aurora, Colo., is desperately trying to secure a car to shop, eat – anything. So far, their luck hasn’t panned out.
Vivian Edmiston and Peggy Phannenstiel, team captain, played solitaire, while Janet Coneys sat quietly knitting. Later on, the team got together to play bridge.
|Intermountain Card Players© Tim Rossi|
Pay dirt! Shortly after I joined the team for a chat, they discovered that the hotel has a shuttle that will take guests “downtown.” “What’s downtown?,” jokes one.
This team just feels thankful to be here in Palm Springs, however. The 2004 Colorado State Champions unfortunately did not attend the national championships in Kansas City due to an administrative snafu, remembers team member Ruth Daschiell. This team is definitely on a mission at these national championships.
Anything for the Team
|NorCal 7.0 waiting© Betsy Bender|
Ernesto Augusto, team captain for the 6.0 men’s team
from the Caribbean Section
, is passing the time by playing pool at the hotel with his teammates. Several of them have played for more than 15 years together.
Team member Manuel Montoto exemplifies the type of team dedication and spirit that reverberates through the many stories I hear during the day. Manuel had been traveling on business in Europe (from Greece to Turkey to Italy) before heading to Florida, then to California to join his teammates in Palm Springs. “He hasn’t been home for a month,” says Augusto with a proud smile.
The team practices and plays at Arraq Tennis Club in Puerto Rico.
|THESE AREN'T THE KIND OF BALLS WE THOUGHT WE'D BE HITTING: Members of Missouri Valley's 7.0 men's team playing pool during Monday's rain delay.© Tim Rossi|
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