The 2013 Cherry Blossom Doubles Tournament was held at Prince’s Court in Washington April 11th-14th. 26 teams participated in the tournament with players coming from Newport, Boston, Philadelphia, Aiken, France and the UK.
The theme for this year’s tournament was “Lucky ‘13”. Players were outfitted with good luck charms (shamrock wrist bands, a rabbits foot, ladybug ring etc.). Pre-match racquet spinning was not allowed, instead players had to choose 1 of 3 lucky alternatives – flip a lucky coin, cut cards, or break a wishbone. The court featured a wooden four-leaf clover in the grille, one of the winning gallery gongs was replaced by a giant tin Lucky Strike Cigarette sign, and we also placed a full sized bingo flashboard in the 2nd gallery. The balls were individually numbered 1-75 and each player was assigned their own “lucky number”. When a ball was hit into the winning gallery, it became a “winning number” (like Powerball) and was displayed on the bingo board. The player who had that lucky number became an instant winner and was given a Boston Market gift card – winner winner, chicken dinner! Each player could also “Change Their Luck” one time per match, meaning you could change one established chase by rolling two giant rubber dice (located in the dedans trough) a la craps style into the corner and the roll determined what the new chase would be (ex. a roll of “1” and “2” meant the new chase was chase 1 & 2, rolling doubles meant a hazard chase, etc.). The Door galleries were also decorated with silvery game show-esque curtains – Chase the Door became “Door #1” and Hazard the Door became Door #3 with . If you created a Door #1 chase during play, you had the option of “seeing what was behind Door #3” which meant you selected a chip from a bag behind the curtain within which were good chases, bad chases and prizes.
Social Event Highlights
· “Jackpotluck” a Thursday night potluck dinner during which the court tennis racquet-armed “Wild Cherry” slot machine was unveiled
· Craps style betting game called “Lucky ‘13” where you would bet on the events of the match being played. A blackjack style game called “Hit It or Leave It” where each card displayed a chase and your chase had to be better than the dealer’s chase to win.
· Cocktail Match featuring Sharron Shannon (Phil Shannon dressed up as a lady playing left handed)
· Glass harpist Jamey Turner mesmerized the onlookers by playing tunes on his symphony of stemware. We “made it a double” and were treated afterwards to some Django-tastic guitar playing by Baird Standish (the bard of the RCOP).
· The good luck Lion Dance during the Saturday dinner at Ping Pong Dim Sum.
· “Lucky Strike” after-dinner party where players bowled the night away with personalized bowling shirts and shoes as part of the tournament bowling team “The Lucky 13s”.
We were lucky indeed to have world #2 Cam Riviere play in the tournament (righty!), he is handicap 20 with his off-hand and he and Phil Shannon almost won the top division, however they were derailed by Pat Winthrop and Ryan Carey in the Master Division final. Young upstarts Erik Barker and Chase Motz used the Cherry Blossom as their “adult” tournament debut but played like polished veterans with infallible shot selection and solid teamwork to win the Lucky Wishbone division. Philadelphia’s dream team of Scilla Smith and John Broussard were “geaux” right from the start and secured the Lucky Stars division title. Washington’s Brit Elmore and Yiannis Mostrous used home court advantage to their advantage and outlasted Martin Whitmer and Arthur Drane to win the Lucky Clover division. Aiken’s favorite sons, Geoff Ellis and Bob Cook, looked strong all weekend but ran into Washington’s Matt Fraidin and Charlie Katz in the final and just couldn’t quite match their earlier form. The Lucky Penny final was a “toss-up” but it was Vern Cassin III and Steve Chapman who were “a-head” as time ran out against Keith Beechener and Temple Grassi.
All of the matches were streamed live online and the archived matches can be viewed on Prince’s Court UStream site. You be the judge of whether it’s better to be lucky or good!