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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Exorcism of the Bulgarian.... St. Vincent Park


We are enjoying some unseasonably cool August weather here in St. Louis and decided to focus this weeks match on a park in the Normandy area.   Our decision to play there came out of our conversation on the recent court decision and surrounding school district controversy and its possible effects on North County Real Estate.  One group that is working hard to renovate and resuscitate this area is Beyond Housing through their 24-1 initiative.

Upon arriving at the park we were both stunned at the size and quality of this park.   It sits smack dab in between Normandie Golf Club and Glen Echo Country Club two of the oldest most celebrated golf courses in St. Louis.  Also the Valhalla. Lake Charles and Oak Grove Cemeteries take up large chunks of real estate nearby.   We also noticed a very large castle like structure adjacent to the park.   We will come back to that later.  In our last match Scott won in a third set tiebreaker giving him the opportunity to obtain his first two-peat in some time.



At First glance the four courts are well situated, quiet and secluded.   The surface has many cracks and will need to be redone soon.   Nets are all in good shape and the courts are playable.  St. Vincent Park has walking trails, a water-park, restrooms and many other amenities.   On to the match.   Apparently the sting of the last match loss had demonized Stan for weeks.





He showed up with an array of new equipment which included a Volkl C10 strung with gut, new Nike shoes and Wilson Grips.   As the match began we both struggled on one side of the court for 8 straight games and ended up with Stan finally breaking Scott with a series of cross-court forehand winners punctuated by a surprise winner down the line.   Stan held for the set.  First set to Stan 6-4.   Things were looking good for Stan as he was finding his range with the Volkl; a brand most famously used by the obscure Grand Slam Champion Petr Korda.


The second set started off with Stan taking a 2-1 lead and then Scott unleashed his best set in blog history winning 5 of the next 6 games.   They were earned with some great defense as well as some timely serve and volley plays and a couple sharp angled forehand winners.    This was a very physical set with many of the points lasting 10-12 balls or more.    Second set to Scott 6-3.


Scott at this point was very excited at the possibility of winning his second match in a row.   It was decided to play a 10 point tiebreak just like a USTA league match.    As it turned out the tiebreaker was a snoozer.   Scott had expended his energy in the second set and Stan vanquished his demons with a 10-5 tiebreaker win.   Victory for Stan, punctuated with a spectacular drop shot return of serve on match point.

Speaking of Demons, we decided to investigate the large Castle structure next to the park and drove over to take a peek.   Not only did we find an amazing building but we found one with close connections to a famous St. Louis event.   The building turned out to be the former St. Vincent's Sanitarium now known as Castle Park Apartments.   It was built in 1895 and remained in operation until the 1980's.



More interestingly we found it has connections to the famous Exorcism of Robbie Mannheim which is depicted in the famous movie "The Exorcist".     The young child purportedly stayed for a time in St. Vincent's and lived with his uncle around the corner in Bel-Nor.  An article was recently written about this house entitled "Hell of a House".    A recent movie about these events was filmed at St. Vincent's called The Haunted Boy. 

Although the courts had some serious cracks in them they really did not affect our match too much.   There were a few funky bounces.   The surface is pretty slow and gritty.    Location is  10 and the court itself a 6 for a rating of 8.    Nearby eatery is Maria's Deli.    

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