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09/14/2022 01:56 PM

Davis Rings Up a Stellar Season in Deep River Horseshoe League

Chester resident Jeremy Davis proved one of the elite players in the B Division in the Deep River Horseshoe League this summer, racking up a division-best 405 ringers during the 2022 season. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Davis

Jeremy Davis stepped onto the scene in the Deep River Horseshoe League (DRHL) and proved himself as one of the best players in the B Division. Jeremy loves playing horseshoes and has worked hard to improve his game. He feels proud to be doing so as a member of the DRHL.

Jeremy, a Chester resident, grew up playing horseshoes at backyard cookouts and thought that he was pretty good. Eventually, fellow league members Anthony Conkling of Marlborough and Kris Toohey of Westbrook encouraged Jeremy to join them in the DRHL. Five years ago, Jeremy decided to take them up on their offer.

Jeremy started out as a substitute, then became a full-time substitute. He spent his first year playing with Toohey and Dennis Goodrich of Essex. It was his first year and Jeremy found that competing against more experienced players could be intimidating. However, Jeremy had his teammates by his side and came to realize that everyone in the DRHL was more than willing to help him grow his game.

“It was intimidating at first. You see these guys, and some of them have been playing down there 30-plus years. But it was smooth. Everyone there was so welcoming,” says Jeremy, 44. “They helped you. They’re giving you tips. It was a smooth transition. It was just hard to be consistent and to be good consistently.”

Jeremy played in the C Division before moving back to a substitute role following the birth of his child. This past season, Jeremy competed in the B Division for the first time. This marked Jeremy’s highest level of competition, but with several years in the DRHL under his belt, he felt that he was ready.

“I was ready for it. My game had progressed over the last couple of years,” Jeremy says. “I knew I could compete with the guys at the B level. The stats at the end of the year showed that.”

Jeremy certainly demonstrated that he was ready for the B level this year. When the 2022 season had come to a close, Jeremy led all B Division players with 405 ringers and finished tied among the Bs in doubles with 43.

Jeremy feels that the one of the biggest keys to his success was his ability to forget about the pressure. Jeremy had spent so much time focusing on being the best, but realized that he needed to remember that horseshoes is supposed to be fun. Once he started loosening up and having fun, Jeremy saw his game improve.

“Being a B player, I knew it would come with some pressure. You have to be able to compete with some of the best players,” says Jeremy. “The first week was tough. I told myself at home, just have fun. Stop worrying about being the best, just have fun. The more I loosened up, the better I got. We had a great team. They made it fun every night. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.”

This season, Jeremy played on the Reds with A Division player Pudge Goodrich of Old Lyme and C Division player Bob Beckwith of Guilford. The Reds had a strong season, but the league’s handicap, which helps even things out, played a part in keeping them from making the playoffs. However, Jeremy says that he had a great experience with the Reds and would happily play with those same teammates in any season.

“I can’t say enough about Pudge as my A player. Every week, he put his best game out there. He is one of the most consistent guys in the league. Bob Beckwith is a great C player, as well,” Jeremy says. “We were so good, but handicap was not our friend. We didn’t make the playoffs. But I’ll tell you what, I’d play with that team next year any day of the week. We were great.”

In addition to horseshoes, Jeremy also plays cornhole in the Truck Bar League in Higganum. When he is playing either sport, Jeremy thinks through all of the things that he needs to do to prepare for success. He then starts to focus on his shot and makes sure that he’s staying consistent.

“I have a mental Rolodex that I go through. Whether it’s follow through, get your hand up. Every pitch, I try to slow down and go through my mental Rolodex of what I need to do,” Jeremy says. “I play cornhole, as well. I have the same mentality. Just keep your eyes on the pin, get it up in the air, and focus. It’s not easy, but it’s what I do. I just have to go after it.”

As the DRHL statistician and a player in the league, Joe Heery got a firsthand look at Jeremy’s progression this year. Along with Jeremy’s performance in the pits, Heery says that he always brings great energy to the league that nicely complements his solid play.

“Jeremy is one of the most improved B players this year. He raised his average series score by 18 points,” says Heery. “He is one of the most outgoing individuals I’ve ever met. He makes friends with everyone and, when he isn’t playing during the match, he moves around talking and joking with others. He always is a smiling, happy-go-lucky guy.”

While he lives in Chester now, Jeremy grew up in Deep River. He would walk past the DRHL’s matches, but never knew the people who played in the league. Now, Jeremy sees that the DRHL features a diverse group of players from different towns with various backgrounds. Jeremy loves competing alongside those players and encourages anyone who has ever thought about throwing horseshoes to consider joining the league.

“It means a lot. It’s a great league,” Jeremy says. “I’m not young, but I’m glad to be one of the youngest guys there. We need youth. I’d like to see some younger guys come play. It’s fun. I enjoy it. They do a great job putting it together. I encourage anyone who is thinking about it to come down, try it out, and have fun.”