Younger is Better!!

Club 34 doesn’t seem to be affected by the summer months, inflation or Trump!!  We keep getting stronger and younger.  Last night Club 34 met two new members to our family, Nick and Stephanie Sainato.  They found us on the internet, then joined Meetup.  They live in Foothill Ranch after moving here two years ago from of all places Fresno.  Nick is a high school basketball coach and Stephanie teaches third grade.  They love Scrabble and something tells me that they are keepers and will return to Club 34 many times in the future.

22 and 12 showed up yesterday, not bad when you consider that so many of us are on vacation and out of town.  We were happy to see Barbara Creighton return after several weeks in Ireland.  We express our condolences to Bruce Dambrosio who lost his father this week.  And to one of our youngest members Elly Cienfuegos who will be receiving a pacemaker this Friday at the tender age of 93 we wish her nothing but the best and hope she returns next week.

Kim Peterson had a wonderful afternoon at 4-0 and I managed to sweep through the field at 8-0 yesterday.  All of the stats were turned over to Tom Titus who resumed his weekly reporting so I have nothing to add at this point.

Yesterday was rather uneventful with business as usual.  There were no food fights between Club 34 members and IHOP patrons so that was a relief.  I cannot believe that we are already into August so thoughts of the Club Championship and the annual Christmas party cannot be far behind.  I would like to announce that the second annual Club Championship will be held on two successive Tuesday afternoons September 24 and October 1.  There will be a $20 buy-in, divisions of three with 8 players each preferably.  The top 3 winners of each division will win $$.  The top winner of div A will receive the very attractive trophy which currently resides in my trophy room.  If anyone thinks they can wrestle it away from me, be my guest!!

The Christmas party will be an event to remember.  Even though we recently found a ukelele and a trumpet player to provide musical entertainment, I may try to have the event at the nearby Italian restaurant next door to the IHOP.  I need to speak with the management in the next few months.

As recently promised I now want to resume a practice I started 5 years ago with the featured player of the week.  I was very pleased to see this player join the Club 34 family over a year ago.  Paul Rickhoff is a gentleman.  I do not know how to say it any other way.  Paul is now vacationing in Chicago where he was born and raised.  Chicago was his home until the age of 24.  He graduated high school in 1969 and then did something very few of us have ever done.  He applied to the Illinois Institute of Technology and was NOT accepted.  His SAT scores were ok but his reading scores were very poor.  He met with Dean Dudley and was told if he took a summer course in reading, he might get accepted to IIT.  That is exactly what happened so Paul graduated from there in 1975 with a degree in electrical engineering.

He married wife Nancy and started a family in 1975.  He spent the next several years working at various companies as an electrical engineer.  In 1979 he was hit with a life-altering event.  The Chicago area was hit with 90 inches of snow so it was time to get out of there.  I can certainly relate to that having grown up in Kansas City.

Paul met Horace Greeley and decided to move out west.  He accepted a job in Pasadena, California, then one with Litton Aerospace which became the Northrop Corporation where he stayed until 2017 and retired as an aerospace engineer.  Today he remains as a part-time consultant with Northrop.

Paul has his son Kevin to thank for his venture into the world of Scrabble.  Kevin saw a newspaper ad from Gary Moss about the Newport Beach tournaments Gary ran at the time.  This was 2002.  Paul and Kevin spent many an hour playing the game Boggle.  This quickly turned into Scrabble and the rest is history.  Paul then started attending Bruce Dambrosio’s club in Santa Monica on a regular basis.  His first Nationals was in Reno 2005 with l2 more to follow.

While at Bruce’s club, Maxine Marcus would tell him many times how great Club 34 is and once he retired, he decided to see for himself.  When Paul showed up for the first time, I really thought it would be a one time thing.  Paul lives in Santa Clarita near Magic Mountain.  That is a very long way from Huntington Beach, a very long way.  But I have other members who travel every Tuesday almost as far.  Then Paul started to come every Tuesday!!  I was shocked but found out that he would then go visit daughter Laura in Aliso Viejo, have dinner with her and then return to Santa Clarita the following day.  So it has all worked out wonderfully.

Paul has his own Blog which puts mine to shame.  Paul analyzes every game he plays at Club and Tournaments.  It is very well done and quite educational…  He spends 3 to 4 hours each time putting it together.  Scrabble is Paul’s only hobby but he does like to spend time working in his yard and as a handyman around the house..

Paul is a good Scrabble player and a better person.  Finding a player of his quality is why I do this job.  Nothing makes me happier than to see someone like Paul Rickhoff be a part of the Club 34 family.  Welcome aboard Paul!!  Welcome to the IHOP and to Club 34….


David Poder, Director


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