As the NCAA tournament winds down, New York state lawyers have gone retro, turning to foosball and pinball.
About 50 signed up for the first New York State Bar Association foosball and pinball tournament, hosted Wednesday by association President David M. Schraver at the Rochester offices of Nixon Peabody LLP.
“I was going to call this April Madness,” Schraver joked, welcoming contenders to an informal gathering as a prelude to the state association’s bringing its spring House of Delegates meeting down the Thruway from Albany to the Roc.
An alumnus of the University of Michigan, where he earned his law degree, Schraver lamented how the Wolverines, a No. 2 seed, were defeated March 30 by the No. 8 seeded University of Kentucky Wildcats.
He quickly cheered up though, first noting his wife, Nancy, is a UK graduate, so she was still happy with the tournament at that point; then getting down to business to open the first “NYSBA Section Cup.”
Schraver said colleague David Tennant came up with the idea of having an informal event for NYSBA members to socialize and get to know each other better.
“This is just kind of a fun night to have people who don’t usually cross paths get together,” said Tennant, who served as self-appointed tournament commissioner.
Judge Richard Dollinger and Paul Nunes opened the tournament with what Schraver referred to as “the pinball song,” their own rendition of The Who’s “Pinball Wizard.”
“It’s a UCC wizard,” Nunes explained, referring to his lyrics about the Uniform Commercial Code.
“Ever since I was a young boy
my friends made fun of me
from Syracuse to Cambridge
they never let me be
but I got into law school
this deaf, dumb and blind kid
sure knows his UCCs.”
The Dollinger-Nunes team fared well, knocking out T. Andrew Brown and his partner, John Messenger, in the first round.
“I thought we were headed for the championship,” Brown said.
But Dollinger-Nunes were not tough enough for the team of Jared Lusk and Tom Greiner, who took first place, receiving a large gold trophy.
“Jared wanted to make it clear if there’s an MVP, it is he,” Schraver said in presenting the prizes.
Greiner said his secret to success was “nerves of steel.”
“I taught him everything I know, right before we started,” Lusk chimed in.
“They did not shut us out,” second-place winner Judge Dollinger pointed out. “We got one goal.”
Smaller trophies were presented to the second and third place winners, but Tennant said everybody is a winner.
Lusk-Greiner later found out they were not invincible either, losing in a post-tournament match to the two NYSBA referees: Megan O’Toole and Adriana Favreau, sporting black-and-white striped tunics.
“These guys know what they’re doing,” Judge Dollinger told Nunes in a pre-tournament bout with the refs. “Paul, they’re playing control ball.”
“Oh, nice shot,” Nunes said when O’Toole scored a goal.
Taking first place in the pinball portion of the contest was Sharon Stern Gerstman, who came in from Buffalo. She “sure plays a mean pinball.”
NYSBA sections sponsoring the event were the Antitrust Law; Business Law; Corporate Counsel; Commercial & Federal Litigation; Criminal Justice; Entertainment, Arts & Sports; Elder Law; General Practice; Health; Intellectual Property; Labor & Employment; Real Property; Senior Lawyers; Tax; Torts, Insurance & Compensation; Trial Lawyers; Trusts & Estates; and Young Lawyers.
Check out the Tuesday edition of The Daily Record for coverage of the House of Delegates’ meeting Saturday morning.
— Photos by Vasiliy Baziuk