By Ted Olsson
Sveadal, with its binational heritage, had just finished its excellent Swedish midsummer festival in June before proudly celebrating the United States’ Independence Day with the annual tennis and horseshoe matches.
Friday night the clubhouse bar was swarming with young adults and a sprinkling of older players all signing up for one or both competitions. That party lasted long into the night, as a boast that they could compete as hard as they party.
But the 8 a.m. initial matches, which segregated players into A and B flights, rolled around too soon. Gradually all competitors wandered onto courts fortifying themselves with coffee and donuts. Spectators and some early competitors moved on down to the large dance floor where Svea Lodge (VOA #348, San Jose) served its traditional pancake breakfast with generous portions, including scrambled eggs, ham and watermelon slices, topped off with Bloody Marys and stiff coffee.
Fortified with this hearty breakfast, everyone moved up to the parking lot beside the maypole lawn where the annual collection of more than a dozen antique cars was assembled for all to admire and pose with. Once again Fred Bianucci offered visitors a guided tour of Sveadal and its history — since the days of the Costanoan Indians through that of the Spanish and Mexican land grants, to the days of the original homesteaders including the three Swedish couples who settled Uvas Canyon — up to Sveadal today.
Spectators visited the competitions between time spent swimming and relaxing in the sun. But at least a dozen or more competitors shuttled between the two games on either side of the pool. The games were exciting because of the increasing number of competitors and grew ever more so as the field was winnowed to the best in each flight. The beer, water, and soft drinks were supplemented at lunch by some three dozen huge pizzas. But the spectators drifted from the competitions to the clubhouse patio where the Weissenborns offered their traditional Ice Cream Social with all the toppings. A few needed multiple servings to tide them over from midafternoon until dinner.
Gradually every one congregated about the competitions as the semifinals and finals were held into the early evening. In the end Jaime Boyle and partner Gary Corrigan retained their horseshoe title for the fourth time in a row and the seventh win in several more years. They beat out Conor Massey and Scott Wilkinson in the A Flight as sisters Jill St. Clair and Renée Dragoo crowded out Conor’s brother Ryan Massey and wife Lycia in the B Flight.
The quarterfinals and semifinals were as thrilling as the finals. It was especially exciting to see the skill of young cousins Colt and Holt Hanley who were so consistent but lost by the slimmest of margins taking the A Flight from their older competitors. All agreed that Dave Merwin and Dave Baughman's seventh annual production of this quarter century horseshoe match was the best of all and set a new standard for their successors, Conor Massey and Adam Carlson, in producing these matches in future years.
The tennis tournament was every bit as competitive and enjoyable to witness. Once again Mary Gustafson produced a superb contest of this over 75-year-old Sveadal tradition. All of the quarter-, semi- and final matches were close and thrilling competitions, exhibiting skill on both sides of the net. The women’s singles was won by Mary Gustafson over Gila Freeberg; the women’s doubles by Mary Gustafson and Julie Bowman over Gila Freeberg and Lisa Fitch. Dave Osbaldeston beat Steve Spelman for the men’s singles championship; Kent Gustafson and Bradley Northnagel won over Erik Nyland and Brent Carlson in men’s doubles. The kids' tournament was equally challenging and thrilling. The winners were—6&Under: Josh Boughman; 7-10: Gabriel Nyland; 11-16: Holt Hanley. This tennis tournament, like the horseshoes, lasted into the twilight delaying dinner, but those already at the clubhouse bar hardly noticed. The superb dinner allowed plenty of time for reminiscences and alternative endings for the days competitions. The victory celebrations were held at the clubhouse and its smaller dance floor, where all continued to dance until midnight, keeping the modern Viking spirit vital on a pleasant Independence Day annual competition and feast.