OTL San Diego remembers the “King of the Beach”
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – This past weekend I took my dogs to Fiesta Island only to be greeted by bumper to bumper traffic. “Its OTL make-up weekend.” said a fellow dog walker. My thoughts immediately went back to 1999 and the “King of the Beach” Mr. Chuck Cromar.
The Over-The-Line Tournament was one of my first story assignments as a new sports reporter at KUSI-TV. Not a bad way to get acclimated to America’s Finest City. This farm boy from Wisconsin had never seen anything quite like OTL. The next closest thing would be the infield at the Daytona 500!
After I finished blushing I made my way to the Open Division Final. I had no idea at the history I was about to witness. “The King of the Beach” Mr. Chuck Cromar was on the brink of winning his 12th and final Open Division title.
Cromar was the first to admit he had lost a step in the sand. “My best talent these days is recruiting” said Cromar, a subtle reference to the quality of his teammates. But watching him play you could see his judicious footwork and flawless anticipation. He never took a step in the wrong direction. He seemed to know where the ball was going and his ability to “hit ‘em where they ain’t” hadn’t waned at all.
It was my great honor to witness Cromar’s 12th and final Open division title. Talking with him afterwards, he was beyond humble. He was the kind of guy you just wanted to have a beer with. I will always regret not following up on that inclination.
Early this week a massive heart attack took the The King of the Beach at the age of 59. OTL will never be the same.
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