Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Hops Challenge – Dec 21, 2016

There is no better way to welcome the Holiday weekend than to (drink) play some tough, friendly squash matches and then enjoy a cool beverage afterwards that – for all worthy Christmas miracles – will end up being completely free of charge! “Who will pay for it”, you cry as you guiltily pour yourself another beer from the keg…? We’ll get to that in a minute.

If you wish to be a part of the squash, just let me know and I will match you up against a fellow member. The result will not mean much except that I will be entering it onto the ranking system, but it is a way to get you sweaty and thirsty and then ready for the ultimate showdown for this year’s Hops Challenge match. The loser of which will be graciously (or not) paying for the keg you are so apologetically consuming. Matches will start at 4pm, we can take a maximum of 32 players, so be quick to register. Singles and doubles available.

Once ‘normal’ matches are completed, everyone is invited to re-fill their paid-for beers, grab a position behind court 7 and get psyched for the donnybrook about to materialize…

“Let’s get ready to rummmmmmbllllle….!”

In the right corner, weighing in at an number that fluctuates between 250 and 270 pounds depending on if it’s a weekend or a weekday, residing in the concrete warzone of downtown Detroit where he chugs raw eggs for breakfast before his 4.30am training runs, coming in with a 2016 record of 33-19, the teeth-gritter-switch-hitter, the earth-quaker-floor-breaker… ZAC – “don’t-make-me-angry… you-wouldn’t-like-me-when-I’m-angry” MACVOY!!


In the left corner, weighing in at an unspectacular 180 pounds, a weight that hasn’t changed more than 3 pounds either way since the ninth grade based on which Nike outfit he has on, lurking in the nose-lifting suburbia of Birmingham where he orders his Starbucks Venti Iced Skinny Hazelnut Macchiato, Sugar-Free Syrup, Extra Shot, Light Ice, No Whip next to the nail-salon, coming in with an extraordinary 2016 record of 70 wins to just 9 losses (does this guy ever work?), the obsessional-squash-professional, the hyperbolic-squashaholic, RYAN – “watch-me-make-Zac-angryMACVOY!!
Zac and Ryan. Who will be smiling after this one...?

Brotherly love has never meant less as these 2 siblings will be desperate to fight for the family pride and the winning acceptance from their elders. Which one of them will be allowed to sit at the main table during the Xmas dinner, and which one will be relegated to the spare room on the other side of the house? Head to head, Ryan holds a commanding lead of 13 to 5, but a couple of those losses still sting and have no doubt left deep scarring tissue on the membrane and Zac has the tendency to raise his game and green up his skin somewhat when he sees Ryan on the opposite side of the court.

Want to witness a “Cain v Abel” type extravaganza? Registration to play is Monday, December 19 (or until full), but even if you just want to drink their beer, come on down and support the gladiators.

Monday, December 5, 2016


Holiday Tournament December 2

Chuck Doyle, Patrick Petz (awesome sweater!), Sante
Nothing pleases me more than having a full contingent of players for a tournament! We maxed out with 24 registrations and not one single person cancelled during the week. It appeared we were heading into a true Christmas miracle, uncharted waters, smooth sailing… Of course, no tournament ever runs that way… The 5pm start time was strictly adhered to and since everyone turned up ‘on time’ we only started 25 minutes late with 2 players missing. Luckily, Colin Bayer had brilliantly foreseen this exact scenario and even though he didn’t enter the event, was ready to play - gift and all. Michael Craig was also aimlessly wandering the halls of the DAC and volunteered to step in for the other M.I.A. member. Ah, yes… perfect planning!

Randomly drawing matches adds a little to the excitement of the evening, and everybody had a chance to play against somebody that they had never competed against before. All of the matches were 3 games to 7, the shorter scoring system makes all points more valuable and evens the playing field just a little too. Of course, randomly drinking beers also adds to the excitement of the evening, or to the fuzzy haze of it depending on how many trips to the keg one had made.

It’s always a pleasure to see new faces at these events. Nathan Marsden was one of them and he went home no doubt thinking that he could have won all 4 of his matches rather than displaying a bagel in the win column. He lost each encounter 1-2. At least they were all competitive! Nathan’s partner in crime - Jeff Gembis - also had a bagel on his score sheet but it was in the loss column instead. You would think a 4-0 record would secure a top 2 spot at the end of the night, but such the nature of this event, Jeff only managed a 3rd place finish. That was due to the fact that 3 of his wins were 2-1, those lost games cost him. The 2nd place finisher actually had a 3-1 record…

The ‘Impressive Performer’ award I am going to give to Haytham Hermiz. Haytham went 3 for 4, all three wins were 2-1 scores, including a couple of opponents that I didn’t think he would beat. He was initially disappointed at his only loss - an 0-3 pounding from Jeff Gembis - but once I explained to him that Jeff plays in the #2 spot on the Boasters League, he didn’t feel so bad after all! A close second for this award goes to Jeff Rogers. His tactic of just popping the ball back, running down everyone else’s winners, would even be a lot more effective if he actually discarded his soccer shoes for squash ones. All of his matches were 2-1, he ended up winning three of them, and the more I look at who he played, the more those results confuse me! Talk about playing to the standard of your opponent!

JC Tibbitts and Sante
Every player in the tournament won at least 1 game. Of the 48 matches played, 25 of them were 2-1. I don’t know how many games ended up 7-6, but it was a decent amount. In fact, the first result of the event was Brian Bartes beating David de la Torre 2-1, all three of the games were 7-6! There is nothing more exciting in squash than a sudden death rally. I think it should somehow be reintroduced at the pro level.

The final match of the evening would decide who could select from the gift table first. Our good friend, and last year’s winner, Sante Fratarcangeli versus our other good friend and no year’s winner JC Tibbitts. Both players had won their first 3 matches 3-0. As the match started, my wife - as always - times these things perfectly and decided she had to call me. I managed to keep the conversation under the obligatory 30 minutes (love you, honey!) to witness the 3rd game between the 2 players and see that Sante ended up taking the match 2-1 and with it his second consecutive Holiday Tournament title!

He chose his prize - a bottle of Vodka (I think…) and a jar of olives. Wouldn’t have been my pick, I find olives repulsive. Amazingly, most of the gifts were alcohol themed - who’d have thought? Patrick Petz once again managed to select the strangest of all, sparking up haunting memories from 2005 when he selected half-chewed muffins inspiring the start of the ‘banned substances’ list, with what looked to be flower of some sort. I will have to find out exactly what it was, maybe that list will have to be expanded!

A wonderful evening was had by everyone, and the best gift of all was that the keg miraculously didn’t go dry!

Great crew for the 2016 Event!

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