We in Albany have a tradition that has been happening for about 10 years now. We call it Super Bowl Blind Doubles. It is a double-elimination doubles tournament that we run for the local players. It gives us an opportunity to play against some people in our own club who we don't normally get to play during the rest of the year and keeps us healthy, clean and sober right up until game time. Not a bad idea, huh?
About 3 weeks before the day, we start a sign-up sheet to gather 32 names. We have settled on this number because it gives us a nice bracket of 16 teams to begin the day with. We then
take the list and break it into four skill categories of "A" thru "D" (best thru worst)
players. Then we use a deck of cards (the Aces - eights of each suit) to make the
pairings. The red aces become partners (Hearts - is the "A" group; Diamonds is the
"D" group) and play the black aces to begin. The remaining matches are setup on the
draw sheet in the same fashion. The losers drop down into a second bracket where
each team is placed on the draw in the order they lose. No matter when a team loses,
it still gets a chance to play one more time (at least) in the loser's bracket.
Things to be careful of:
No Shows. They are a problem everywhere, but particularly so in this case. Try
to keep a guy on the side who isn't real sure if he wants to play, but will come
over to the club until things are settled so that you can draft him at the last
Pairings of the middle two groups. The groupings are done by capability - both for
simple playing ability as well as for doubles savvy. With the "B" and "C" groups,
you can end up with two excellent doubles players being paired up and running roughshod
over the whole affair if you are not careful how you divide up the two groups. Be aware of who plays good doubles in these two groups and put them all into the "B" group.
Format. We have found that two 11-point games and a 7-point tiebreaker saves everyone's
bodies and moves the matches along at the right speed. We generally begin at 2:00 pm
and finish up with the final around 5:00 to 5:30. This gives the last players time to
shower and prepare for kickoff. Naturally, we all watch the game at the club bar, so
nobody is late to the game.
Balls. You can collect money from each player to purchase 5 cans of balls. This is
enough to start every match with a new ball, and still have two left at the end for the finals.