The Massachusetts State Horseshoe Championships were held yesterday in Hamilton, MA.
I’m going to leave out the names of my opponents, simply because I didn’t ask them if they wanted to be included in my blog.
My pitching day started bright and early at 8:00 a.m. Actually, it was probably closer to 8:30, because many players had confused the start time and didn’t show up until after 8:00. No matter, it gave me time to warm up and chat a bit over a coffee and donut before we got down to business. When the scorecards were handed out, I saw that I had six games in front of me, with a bye in the fifth round, for a total of seven frames. I’ll admit that my pulse quickened a bit when I saw who my first opponent was, a fellow Hamilton Club member whom I hadn’t faced, but had a reputation as a sharp shooter. I managed to start pretty strong and pull out a victory in my first game. When you start on a high note like that, I think the key is just maintaining momentum. Don’t overthink. Easier said than done, of course.
I promise not to go into excruciating, Shilling-esque detail about every inning, every pitch, and every lump of clay I removed from my shoes. The tale of the scorecard really tells it all, and here it is:
I’ve learned this year that scoring can vary from event to event, even those officially sanctioned by the NHPA, as yesterday’s tournament was. Our games were played to 35 points with a 50 shoe limit, with the “rule of 29” in effect. This means that if both players have reached 29 points (but neither has reached 35) then the game is played until one player reaches 35 points, regardless of the amount of shoes thrown. Ties were to be broken by a 2 inning playoff.
I managed to shoot well enough to go undefeated for the day and win the Class C state title. It was a good day on the courts. The A and B players played in the afternoon, and I stuck around long enough to keep score for a few games and also take some pictures.
Four for fun, if you’re curious, is an expression I picked up from one of my opponents yesterday. This pastime has quite a few colorful colloquialisms associated with it, and this one simply means that four shoes were thrown with no points earned. I quite like it. Points earned or not, I’ve found that four for fun holds true more often than not. This same opponent, when I exclaimed that I had “stolen a point”(another phrase common to horseshoes), replied “around here, we don’t steal things – we earn them”.