"Love-60" is definitely not competitive in tennis, but the phrase accurately describes the typical lovefest at Sveadal as competitive sports, food and conviviality fill the day and night on every festive, extended Fourth of July weekend.

At Sveadal, even from its earliest days there have been friendly competitions. Perhaps it was King Gustav V, an avid tennis player, who instilled tennis in Sveadalians, but within its first couple decades there evidently were intensely competitive tennis matches. As tennis became more popular in America, it became more popular in Sveadal. So it was only natural to have a championship to determine boasting rights - we have had some superb players over the years, including nationally ranked players, but mostly itís the love of the sport that brings everybody to the courts on the Fourth.

Thatís how it all began, and for many years tennis was what brought the community together on this holiday. Gradually other events shared the tradition of the day, including the horseshoe tournament that's now a memorial event. Dave Hansen was a big man in strength, humor and friendships. He died tragically at a young age, so his friends established this friendly competition in his memory. Now his family, friends and many who never knew Dave compete in his honor, a wonderful testament to friendship.

Friday night preparations
Everyone begins rolling into Sveadal on Friday night. After they have unpacked, had a bite of dinner and spoken with neighbors, they amble up to the Clubhouse. Thatís where all the friends will be. The bar, newly superintended this year by Ryan Massey, does a brisk business as everyone chats together and signs up for the competitions and wagers on the Big Board.

This is where the sports administrators have to size up everyone and seed them into competitions. Some focus on tennis; others are drawn to the Dave Hansen Memorial Horseshoe Tournament; a few do both, knowing that all next day theyíll be running to courts on one side of the swimming pool or the other to compete in both sports.

Saturday pancakes
Although both competitions serve food and drink continuously during their events, many competitors as well as all spectators are drawn to the traditional pancake breakfast down at the Old Dance Floor, prepared by a full crew from Svea Lodge (VOA#348). The food is abundant and filling: pancakes topped by a pat of butter, drizzled with syrup or lingonberries and served with a slice of ham, watermelon slices and a Bloody Mary, just to wake you up.

That sets the tone for the day: leisure and relaxation. Then those who are ready climb the hill to the main road and see the parking lot under the oaks filled with classic cars from a local antique car club. They have made the trek year after year to rendezvous at the pancake breakfast and chat with all the admirers of their beautifully restored vehicles. This brings back memories of earlier days when some of them got to drive or perhaps tinker with these classics.

The cars usually parade off around 10 a.m., leaving the morning for admiring the skills of the athletes. Both competition venues are on either side of the pool, serving snacks, donuts, watermelon and even kegs of beer.

The horseshoe tournament has also been enlivened for many years by several who come in costumes - recently captured convicts and Yankee Doodle proudly made appearances this year. The four pitches of horseshoes (and the refreshments) are mobbed by competitors and spectators alike. Some are sizing up their competitors and all are considering who will win this year.

Many seek the relief of the pool or the shade of the poolside bleachers and adjoining grounds. By noon a golf cart arrives piled to the roof line with boxes of just baked pizzas, chicken wings, and other fast food. Somehow, people are still hungry and it's gone in a blink, like a mirage.

Delicious and refreshing
By 3 p.m. under clear skies and temperatures in the mid-90s, competitors and spectators alike welcome relaxation and relief before attending a new challenge. So, itís time for a break with scoops of ice cream. This, Sveadalís newest Fourth of July tradition, is also a memorial. Charlotte Weissenborn was an indefatigable exemplar of generosity and hospitality, and like so many of us, she loved ice cream. So, whatís more typical of any Fourth of July celebration than ice cream with all the toppings?

As the competitions continue into the early evening, each player displays his and her best to become champions in tennis and in horseshoes. Dave Baughman carries on a lively commentary and interviews with some of the horseshoe winners as they come off their matches. There is much goading, braccadocio and quips to stimulate the challenges.

This was one of the biggest horseshoe tournaments in the series, dating back several decades, with 72 teams. It was smaller than last year with 86 teams, which was the biggest ever. The final rounds were intense among the athletes but the atmosphere was convivial, concluding around 6:30 p.m.

The tennis championships were just as fiercely contested. The Menís Singles saw an older generation acknowledge a younger champion; and this was a particularly hard won family rivalry.

Dinner and dance
Even during competition we know dinner is going to be delicious, as we watch the kitchen crew shuck corn down at the horseshoe pits. Everybody enjoys a delicious dinner, prepared by SAPL Past President Dennis Severson, family and friends, as the winners were awarded and told their side of the competition. Following dinner, the Clubhouse bar opens for business as everyone moves outside onto the New Dance Floor to dance late into the night.

As some visitors packed up the next morning, others lounged around the pool throughout the day, recalling the events of the weekend. With the strength of such competitors still present, it's time to take down the Midsummer maypole - while it may stay up for months in Sweden, in Sveadal we move onto other summer activities, with memories piling up from each to be recounted and remembered at the end of the season, captured by Poonie Erickson with her slideshow of memories at the end of the season.

It doesn't end there
And if you thought the competitions end there, many of the same athletes come back the next weekend for the Sveadal Clubís annual Golf Tournament at Gilroy Golf Course. This year, at the 57th annual tournament, 44 golfers played and about 100 people returned for dinner at the Sveadal Clubhouse, where they enjoyed a delicious dinner of BBQ Tri-Tip and Chicken, prepared by Chef Troy Garcia from Heavyís Grill on the Green in Gilroy. Dinner was followed by the awards ceremony.

The first golf tournament, played in 1958 at Riverside (now Coyote Creek) Golf Course, was won by Ernie Gustafson (low gross) and Harry Talbot (low net). The masters of this yearís tourney were Kent Gustafson and John Carlson, whose fathers both played in that first game with this yearís champ. After dinner, John was MC for the awards (in a couple dozen categories).

Whether at sports, dancing, drinking, or improving the community, Sveadalís abundance of athletes continues to grow, staying fit while having fun. There are always pick-up games but the next annual sporting weekend in Sveadal will be on Labor Day when the competitors are honed for swimming and diving, for Mothers vs Kids softball and Renters vs Cabin Owners baseball and basketball grudge matches. The competition is fierce, the memories are long, and the bragging rights last all year.

By Ted Olsson, San Francisco

For more info on Sveadal, see www.sveadal.org