MEN'S PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
This is getting to get a bit eerie. Each year we seem to see a totally dominating performance by one of the great players in our time. Last year was Dave Schiller. The year before was Larry Imperiale. For Dave Murphy it was only a matter of time. When it finally happened he did it in epic style. Murph has had more ups and downs than the roller coaster in Pacific Beach. For him, 1998 was a year to remember. I hope he has some spare room for all of the trophies he's collected. Seven wins, three 2nds, a 3rd and a 4th. 18 years of playing paid off. As is the case in all circumstances, no man (or woman) is an island. Murphy had strong partners as well as a skilled orthopedic surgeon to help in his cause. That said, you still have to walk the walk and that he did indeed.
Talk about potential realized. Cindy Kruger is radical. She is buffed out
strong. Does hard move after hard move. Wants to death jam you into the
ground. Has more moves in her back pocket than you do in your notebook.
Considers a non slick disc only a challenge. Is fearless in the face of
grumpy old judging panels. Let's take a moment to tip our caps to the
incomparable Cindy Kruger. Look for her to continue her shredding ways in
1999. Honorable mention goes to Brenda Savage for her strong play and
I as mentioned at the outset, freestyle is incredibly diverse. There are so
many styles and approaches to the game. Perhaps that is it's greatest
quality. Just when you think you've got them all figured out the Globe
Trotters decide to take up jamming. Thanks to the creative imaginations and
extraordinary style of Mark Blakemore and Greg Riley, we now have a new
barometer of the absurd. The whacky wildmen of mirth debuted their
Globetrotter routine at the Master's Overall in Santa Maria last summer to
applause and rave reviews. The Globe Trotter World Tour also stopped off in
Seattle to strut their stuff. Meadowlark Lemon never looked so good.
There are no clear cut favorites here so I'll try to do the right thing and
list them all.
Mark Blakemore's Spinning Gitosis Speedflow Catch in Masters and Seattle
Dave Schiller's 1 1/2 spinning standing gitis pullout off the throw into a
radical consecutive combo.
However, my nod goes to Tommy Leitner's triple spinning standing water gitis
with the Military Jet synchro fly by 50 feet away, right on cue at Manresa Beach.
Pipo Lopez isn't afraid of any hurricane. That alone warrants his
inclusion in this the holiest of catagories. I don't know if I've ever
seen him stop moving. Even when he's done jamming, he's looking around with
an expression of "do you think he'll jam with me". For crying out loud,
feed the man some more zee's and set your barometer for Storm Warning.
I've needed to come up with a new category just to give Paul Kenney some
ink. His infectious fun loving attitude permeates with jamosity. He went
coast to coast several times just so he wouldn't miss a jam. All that work
is paying off as his style is becoming more honed from the endless hours of
jam sessions. Just being around him is enough to FIRE ME UP!.
Matt Gauthier gets the nod here. Just another recent phenom from the UFOS,
Matt dominated the inaugural Collegiate Freestyle Championships at the US
Open last summer. His sterling performance helped define a perfect "10" for
the category. He topped this off with a splendid performance during the
Indian Summer Tournament in his old back yard. Add his name to the list of
champions of that tournament. Johnny Jewell, Matt Roberts and Corey Basso
just to name a few.
Reuse, Recycle, Rehab. I think that was Jamie Chantiles mantra in the last
couple of years. After a couple of devastating injuries, Jamie worked hard
and long at a come back. Fueled by his passion for spin, the man could not
To all who've seen and jammed with Toddy Broduer this may not come as a
surprise. After all, he's been doing the same kind of thing for a long
time. Cool rim and center work. Tricky catches. Solid wind game. Good
Co-op work. The thing is, he goes relatively unnoticed when he ventures out
to some of the high profile tourneys. Let it no longer be a surprise, he is
a consummate crafty old pro. Take some extra time to appreciate what he
does. He's one of a kind.
There were many tourneys that would complement the concept of great
tourneys, but only one stands out above the rest. Once again, our friends
in the Emerald City have pulled off a great show. Grand Kudos to Mary
Jorgenson, Randy Silvey, Lisa Hunrichs and the many others who helped run
the FPA Worlds in Seattle. Each year they improve on the last. The gentle
breezes coming off of Green Lake, the bust-a-move style of the Northwest
and the hoppy aroma wafting from the Latona tavern add to the mystique and
legend of the game.
This is another new award I'm debuting this year. It's time acknowledge Mary Jorgenson and her many years of dedicated service, unmatched enthusiasm and positive mojo. It is impossible to list all of the deeds Mary has endeavored upon during her career. I think everyone would agree that Mary has indeed made this a better place for us all. Next time you see her, just say a simple "Thanks Mary".
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