Sunday, November 20, 2011

Naples-Fort Myers Challenge: The Rest of The Story (almost)

I wish I had better news for those of you who may not be happy about the sheer dominance Naples has demonstrated over the past 31 years of the Naples-Fort Myers Challenge. But I don’t. Our Fort Myers team began last Saturday afternoon as though we were “mad as heck, and weren’t gonna take it anymore (frown)”…

Holly Chomyn & Paula Scheb deliver straight-set win
The first three matches were straight-set victories for Fort Myers, and we were feeling pretty good about ourselves. After six matches had been completed, Fort Myers was still faring well, with a 4-2 lead.  By the time the other 13 matches had been completed, we had won just two more matches, and Naples had dropped a 13-6 drubbing on us. Ouch!

Some awesome volunteers!
 Before going any further, I think it really appropriate, especially since Thanksgiving is around the corner, to express HUGE thanks to Paula Scheb and her extremely competent staff; the Challenge’s Executive Committee; the multitude of very helpful, pleasant volunteers; the team captains; and all the sponsors for staging a really terrific event (Thanks for all the info Nancy!).

Isabel Munoz holds fort for LCCTA
I have played many events over the past three decades, and not many events are as professionally run, and cater to the players as the Naples-Fort Myers Challenge did.  I mean, how many events have you played where they organizers publish programs with players’ names, photos, and bios?

How many events provide complementary food (deliciously served up by Carrabba’s Italian Grill) and drinks (including beer and wine) to the players and guests? Real-time scores were being posted as matches were being played! Wow! Hard to imagine that this event keeps getting better, but it is. I considered it an honor to represent Fort Myers…even if we continue to be Naples’ stepchildren.
Fort Myers winners included:
Holly & Paula doing work
 Paula Scheb & Holly Chomyn in Women’s 45 Doubles (This was really a good backyard scrap, and these two make a great team. Holly didn’t miss a single shot--and I’m not kidding-- in the 20 minutes I watched the match, and Paula was all over the net like flies on shugar! I can spell it however I want thank you- wink)

John Jerome & Tom Fisher in Men’s 45 Doubles (This one was a routine straight-set victory for us);
Larry Gagnon & Jim Katterfield in Men’s 55 Doubles (I don’t even know why they bothered to play this one with Larry “The Legend” on the court);

Dave Vaughan Peter Redpath and Brad Nash
celebrate after victory
 David Vaughan & Peter Redpath in Men’s 50 Doubles (David’s getting a little heavy so Peter struggled a bit to carry him, but Dave came through at crunch time and they took the third-set super-tiebreak 10-6);

Larry Albritton & Paul Veltman in Men’s 65 Doubles (our super seniors were really super, taking this one without too much of a struggle, posting a 6-2, 6-2 win);

T A stepping into it
I didn’t get Larry Turville, but I did get a win to post a winning record in the Challenge thus far (2 singles, 1 doubles win against 2 singles losses to Larry T)... Maybe I’ll quit while I’m ahead. Nahhhhh. Bob Baker brought a pretty good strategy to the table, but on this particular day, I was able to meet the challenge.

Oliver Stenger & Carl Winslow in a tough one
While many of our losses didn’t look good on the scoreboard, some of them could have gone either way, such as Shawn Hedrick & James Harris’ third-set super-tiebreak loss in Men’s 35 Doubles. Others who lost tiebreaks included Oliver Stenger & Carl Winslow in Men’s 40 Doubles, Karen Orlando & Mary Lou Rouch in Women’s 55 Doubles, and Mark Davis in Men’s 45 Singles.

If those tiebreaks had gone the other way, perhaps…oh well, can’t really go there; can we? Honestly, the bottom line is that it was a terrific experience despite the team’s loss, and I really am grateful to have had the opportunity to represent Fort Myers in the 31st Naples-Fort Myers Challenge.
Sponsors, without whom the event couldn’t be what it is, included:
Carrabba’s Italian Grill- Does “Carrabba’s” mean “delicious” in Italian? If not, it should!
Ritzman Tennis Courts- Tony Ritzman sponsors just about everything tennis in town, and just about every tennis court has his mark on it;
Page & Tuttle- Designing, manufacturing and marketing golf apparel since the 1800s!
ASG Software Solutions- Providing more business software solutions than I can list here; and
Bonita Bay Club- Amenities, amenities, and more amenities. Doesn’t get much better than the BBC…no not the broadcasting network (chuckle).
in any event, if you were at the Challenge and didn't have a good time, it had to be because you didn't want to...or had a headache, bad cold, or something. The weather was as good as it gets, the crowd was responsive, and there isn't a thing wrong with free food and drink...especially when the food is good and the drink is alcoholic; right? Hold on a sec, lemme get my tongue outta my cheek here...

The crowd enjoyed the action
 Ok, all I'm trying to say is that there was plenty to be grateful for last Saturday, and most faces I saw had smiles on them. If you get a chance to play or watch next year's event, there are worse tickets in town that you actually pay for! 

Thanks again to Captain Timmer for the call and everyone at Bonita Bay Club for doing a superb job! Happy Thanksgiving!

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