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Who Are These Guys?

 

Vince Ganshorn:  Vince is the commissioner, El Commish, The Commish, El Capitan, El Grande Burrito.  Vince started this league back in 1999 as a community league in Lincoln, NE with just 8 guys and has grown the league to include over 325 players in both Lincoln and Omaha.  Vince works in group sales at Ameritas and has a lovely wife Tami, and two kids Hannah and Jared.  They are all huge Star Wars fans.

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Greg Hudson:  Greg was one of the original ABTL members and is now found in the record books all over the place for most games lost, sets lost, matches lost, and percentage of matches lost.  Greg is the ABTL webmaster and was responsible for the implementation of the original ABTL web page.  Greg was pivotal in the transition of the old web site to the new one in late 2007 and early 2008 and continues to be the backbone of the ABTL web page.  Greg works at Olsson Associates as a computer programmer.  Greg is married to Amber and has 3 kids, Noah, Caitlin, and Alexa.

 

Erik Hjermstad:  Erik joined the ABTL in 2000 and began helping Vince with smack notes in 2001.  Since then, Erik has continued to help with smack notes and is now the better half of the Erik and Vince ABTL show.  Starting in 2009, Erik began running the Omaha ABTL league.  Erik works as a stats geek for Experian Automotive in Lincoln.  Erik is married to Robyn and has three kids Camden and Maryn, and Sienna.

 

The League

In short, the Ace Bandage Tennis League (ABTL) began in Lincoln, NE in 1999 as an inexpensive community tennis league and has grown to include more than 325 members in the Lincoln and Omaha area.  The goal of the ABTL is to provide a flexible playing environment with good, friendly competition at a cheap price.  Our goal is to promote tennis….PERIOD, and not just in Lincoln and Omaha, but all over the Midwest.

 

For more information on the ABTL league, please email info@abtlleague.com or simply read the long winded, more fun, sarcastically ironic version of what this league is all about.

 

Long Winded, More Fun, Sarcastically Ironic Version

Back in the late 1990’s, a man named John thought there was a need for a community tennis league in Lincoln, Nebraska.  So, he and 7 other guys got together to start their own league.  Thus, the Ace Bandage Tennis League (ABTL) was established in 1999 by John Vincent Ganshorn (aka. Vince).  The goal of the league was to provide a flexible tennis league that did not require permission from wives to be gone at weekend long USTA tournaments....did it work?  YOU BET!  Thus, the greatest singles league was born

 

A Bit of History

My cousin Vinny won the first annual ABTL tournament in the inaugural season due to creating himself an easy draw, making bad line calls, and…..okay, so he won fair and square, but his reign as king would not last long.  In the second season, the ABTL expanded slightly and a young punk from Nebraska Wesleyan named Erik Hjermstad won the second annual tournament, defeating an embattled John Vincent in three hard fought sets.  Vince blamed, the sun, wind, and anything else he could for the loss, but in the end questioned the integrity of young Hjermstad’s line calls…since then Vince has been given the nickname JV for his child like excuses during that match, and not coincidentally, those are his initials.

 

The early 2000’s saw many changes to the league, including a fantastic web page which included scores, commissioner updates, and standings.  The most notable feature of the league were the smack notes that commissioner Ganshorn sent out each week, tossing his worst at weekly winners and of course the “non winners.”  The league has expanded each year and has brought players of all ages, playing levels, and walks of life.  Other champions include:

 

  • A middle aged Vietnamese player named Alex Tran.  Tran’s wife makes fantastic egg rolls; we all know this as the Tran’s have catered the season ending party before.  The greatest thing about Tran is that in his glory season when he made his infamous title run, he could not solve his sweaty hand problem.  He tried the powder, tournagrip, and anything else he could to (As Aerosmith would say) “get a grip.”  In the end, he used a glove in the dead of summer to keep his hand dry and get him through to the finals and eventually win.  Some say it is the same glove that a certain ex Buffalo Bill running back wore when he allegedly committed no crime at all.

 

  • A close-talking (see Seinfeld if you don’t know what that means) pianist who gracefully “played” his way to a title.  After losing a hard fought final to Erik in 2003 (7-5, 7-5), Paul Barnes served and volleyed his way to the 2004 title.  Paul will talk your ear off on change-overs, if he isn’t pounding down his double tall, extra thick, double chocolate, foam filled, cream covered, sugar laden, silo off coffee.  I’ve played with Paul at 6:30 am and 9:30 pm and no matter what time you get this guy on the court, expect liveliness, a lot of chatter (all positive), and worst of all, horrendous coffee breath.

 

  • A family guy, who actually has a striking resemblance to the Family Guy on Fox.  Not really sure what this guy does at work, but he works at a hospital (I think).  He has great hours because I’ve seen him hitting with his kids over lunch during the summer (yes, the kids usually win).  Maury Higgins is the Chairman of the ABTL veterans for truth committee.  What does this mean?  No idea, but he started tossing out smack last year and announced himself as the chairman of the ABTL veterans for truth.  All you need to know is this: he is right.

 

In the 2007 the ABTL really took off.  The year end tournament featured more food, prizes, and music than ever before!  Kids, families and players enjoyed the finals which were played at Woods with banners flying everywhere from all of the wonderful local organizations who sponsored the tournament.

 

In 2008 the ABTL headed to Omaha and with in a few short years has exceeded to well over 100 participants.

 

Since then, things have been a blur for us as the league added another 200 players in total which meant we had to answer about 5,467,200 more emails, buy more food for people to eat, and get more stuff to give away...all in all...it rocked!

 

Going forward our goal is to give you the best tennis experience possible.  We will try our best to be entertaining with our podcasts (when we actually have time to do them) and keep the webpage as relevant as possible and we will continue to push for sponsors to the benefit of the ABTL tennis community.  Tennis is a life long sport.  We love it and we want you too as well.