To honor Hurricane Season, this year Hadden Tomes traveled back in time to pre-Castro Havana where tennis whites and white dinner jackets were de rigueur. While the autumnal foliage outside was resplendent, inside the Tuxedo Club was transformed to the balmy climes of tropical Cuba. Old Blue Eyes entreated the crowd of 150+ with a long list of favorites before the “sick” (JR, 2012) afterparty commenced. Under the palm trees a cigar roller helped augment the personal stashes being shared, including a few boxes of pre-embargo contraband.
The event was spear-headed by Jon Romero with help from his brother Greg and Jedediah and Zachary Turner. As usual Barbara Regna came through with great ideas, creative floral arrangements, and late nite ping pong at Castillo Regna (trophies were awarded). This year saw the average age of guests drop significantly as throngs of the organizers’ set stepped out of town for the soiree. (Dorrian’s took a big hit that night.) It was great to see many initiates to the court tennis scene, and on court a healthy number of representatives from the Ladies Circuit.
40 players were distributed into 3 divisions, Cohiba (C), Romeo Y Julieta (B), and Partagas (A) with rotating partners for each match; the 4 players with the most games won advanced to the finals of each division. In the Cohiba final Gina Martin and Lawrence Lawler paired off against Phil Tavani and Joe Ehrlich. In a classic nail biter, splitting sets 6/5, 5/6, and culminating in a 5-all, 40-all, game-set-match ball, newcomer LT took advantage of a loose ball and stuffed it into the wining gallery for a thrilling victory. Welcome to court tennis! The Romero Y Julieta final was not so close, with Greg Romero (his brother’s keeper) and Peter Bender using superior communication and execution to defeat Geordie Hebard and Claudio Guazzoni, 6/3, 6/0. The Partagas final portended to be another close one, with perennial finalist Rich Moroscak (Prince’s) and Christian Bullitt (RCOP) taking on the hometown favorites Alan McHugh and Jason Magna. The crowd was thrilled to see the visitors claw their way back after dropping the first set and re-setting their jaws for the tension-filled 3rd, taking it again to 5-all, 40-all, match-ball before the home court advantage tipped the balance in favor of the home team.