Brackets were drawn for the 25th Annual Pearl Harbor Tournament during league play on Black Friday.
Some very interesting first round matches are on tap to start the tournament. The first round feature match pits defending champion The Commish against 5 time champion The Wrench. The Wrench has not been victorious in the tournament since 2012, when an angry mob turned on his opponent, allowing the Wrench to come storming out of the losers bracket to defeat The Ice Man in 2 straight. Actions by the mob and The Ice Man that night may or may not have resulted in the tournament being cancelled by the VFW Pearl Harbor Tournament Executive Committee (aka Jack and Bob) in 2014. The Wrench also won titles in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009. The Commish, who has been voted best looking man in the league 10 years running, finally ended a decade-plus long string of perennial Pearl Harbor choke jobs to win his first title in 2016. The winner of this match moves on to face 1994 Champion Jimmy Wong.
The second first round match features Old Guy teammates Fesi and Goff squaring off, with the winner to face The Virgin in round 2. The only thing colder than Fesi and Goff right now is the beer at the SOI Hall but we will see if the winner of this tilt can suddenly turn things around. Las Vegas has The Virgin at +450 on the early moneyline to make an appearance next week for his Pearl Harbor debut. Goff won 4 of the first 8 editions of the tournament, with victories in 1995, 1997, 1998 and 1999. Goff and Tom Ferrese (currently the #2 ranked Ferrese in the league) won 8 of the first 9 editions of the tournament, with Tom winning the first 2 editions in 1992 and 1993 plus the 1996 and 2000 events.
On the other side of the bracket our first match features The Hitman against The Rooster. The Rooster comes in fresh after being told by team co-captain Bob Lynn to stay home for Week 9 to “rest his ailing foot”. The Hitman is currently the top ranked Ferrese in the league and a 2016 league champion. The winner moves on to face The Ice Man. The Ice Man melted down in the 2012 final in the most shocking collapse in tournament history.
Our final first round match pits the Cooler against Craig (the 3rd ranked Ferrese brother and 4th ranked Ferrese overall in the league currently). Despite carrying Frank to 6 league titles, Craig has inexplicably never hoisted the trophy in the Pearl Harbor tournament. Captain Cooler has all of a sudden been pushing all the right buttons in league play, the weekly conference calls with co-captain Bob Lynn apparently starting to pay dividends after a stunning 3-0 sweep of the defending champs in Week 9. Many shuffleboard insiders are calling for Captain Cooler to win in a minor upset. The winner moves on to face the 2nd best Ferrese brother (and 3rd best Ferrese overall), Frank. Frank has won 6 titles in the Pearl Harbor tournament, being victorious in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2013 and 2015. Coincidentally, by the time the semifinals came around, no one else was sober enough to stand up to the table in all of those years resulting in those 6 titles. Shuffleboard Times Magazine is investigating a rumor that Jessica Ferrese will be joining the league in 2018, knocking Craig and Frank down to the 5th and 4th best Ferrese in the league, respectively.
One thing is for sure, the tournament will provide a year’s worth of fun and drama in one night as always. The board will be open for practice at 6 PM with tournament play starting at 7 PM sharp. Good luck to all players. Get there early, standing room only anticipated for spectators after 6:45.