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News Flash from the North Pole Shootout – Day 3 - Catch up... View Part 1

The biggest racquetball event of the year is literally in full swing at the North Pole.  Matches have been tense and these mythical creatures really know how to use their super natural abilities on the court to their advantage.

The full North Pole Shootout Drawsheet can be seen here. - North Pole Draw Shootout (pdf) adust the zoom of the pdf if it is hard to read.

Early round upsets include The Grinch (#21 seed) over one of the Wrapper Elfs (#12 seed).  By all appearances the Elf looked in much better shape but the sly Grinch proved to be too much to handle.

Sugar Plum Mary upsets Baby New Year 2010 in the most controversial match of the first round.  Baby New Year, with less than 20 days left in his lame duck session, and now at the ripe old age of 99 with nothing left to lose, played with an illegal 23 inch racquet.  This was discovered mid way through the first game and the tournament committee voted to forfeit the rule breaker.

The rest of the early rounds saw the higher seeded players advancing easily.

The round of 16 always seems to separate the real players from the wanna-be players.  In this case “real” is a little bit of a stretch but there were some great matches.

The Grinch’s heart seems to remain a few sizes too small as he pulls a color ball swap during the Rudolf match.  The match started with a Green Penn ball that the Grinch assumed would blend in with his coat and cause a problem for Rudolf.  However, Rudolf was unaffected and took the first game easily.  Between games the Grinch stole all the green balls and substituted red balls.  In game two Rudolf looked confused and it was later determined that he couldn’t see past his red nose to follow the red ball correctly.  The second game went to the Grinch pretty easily.  During the five minutes between the second game and the tie breaker all the Reindeer tried to help find the missing green balls...but to no avail.  Grinch wins in three.

Sugar Plum Mary (Mrs. Clause kitchen Elf help) is no stranger to the heat of the kitchen.  However, the Heat Mizer went well beyond her limits in an easy blowout victory. 

Alabaster Snowball (Elf) defeats Cupid (Reindeer).  Cupid was the much better player in this match up.  The spectators at courtside rumored that Alabaster was holding the threat of putting Cupid on the Naughty List if he didn’t throw the match.  Cupid kept it close throughout but it was Alabaster, for whatever reason, who took the win in the end.

The Ghost of Christmas Past still has Scrooge’s number.  The match was boring as Scrooge looked scared to death out there.

The remainder of the round of 16 saw the upper seeded players Santa, Mrs. Clause, and the JGG (Jolly Green Giant - who for our purposes is really a long lost large gardener elf) crushing through their opponents.

Excitement continued in the quarterfinal rounds.

The quickest match of the tournament happened between Frosty and the JGG.  Frosty knew he was in for a tough match.  He warmed up too much and couldn’t stop from melting on the court.  After the third avoidable hinder was called for wetting the ball it was clear to all that the match could no longer proceed.  Time  2 minutes 32 seconds.

The second fastest match (although this one was played out) took place between Alabaster Snowball (the Elf who checks the Naughty and Nice List) and Mrs. Clause.  It became apparent that Alabaster couldn’t blackmail Mrs. Clause with the threat of the list.  It’s unclear if he tried.  Mrs. Clause later revealed, with a twinkle in her eye, that if Santa had seen her on the Naughty List he wouldn’t have been too surprised.

The Grinch vs Heat Mizer was a game all about strategy.  The Grinch came in cold and calculated.  He argued every call and was unrelenting.  The Heat Mizer was cool in the beginning but as his blood started to boil it actually warmed The Grinch’s heart.  As his heart warmed, he argued less and less and actually over turned a call here or there.  It was said that an early showing of The Grinch’s Christmas Special was being aired at the time of this match and it was that airing that caused the Grinch’s heart to thaw and grow.  We’ll never the know the truth...but Heat Mizer is victorious in two games that lasted 2 hours and 34 minutes.  That Grinch could sure make a point.

The most crowded match held in center court was between two mythical time-traveling (or at least time distorting) characters.  All the Elves and Reindeer lined the court for what was to be a thriller.  One big advantage soon became apparent.  Santa could use his body to legally screen the Ghost from some of his serves and passing shots.  Transparency proves a disadvantage on the racquetball court.  It was also noticed that The Ghost of Christmas Past was always a little behind on his shots.  In the post game interview The Ghost explained that he was always reactive as he couldn’t exist in the present and was always playing from one to two seconds back in the past.  Santa’s power made this delay insurmountable.  As this Ghost left he warned his comrades would not be so easily beat and predicted that even Santa would have no answer for the Ghost of Christmas Future who was infamous for always knowing what his opponent’s shot would be.  To this day, it’s been rumored that Future Ghost has never been aced.

We’ll be back with the North Pole Shoot Out conclusion right around Christmas.  We’ll actually talk about some real racquetball strategy and not mythical court powers.

Enjoy the holidays and be safe!

Questions or comment…Pat@Racquetworld.com

You can forward any rules questions to me at Pat@Racquetworld.com