Thursday, October 19, 2017

PICKING UP THE PACE



Boasters League week 3~~

Mongoose are on the move. It’s tough having the first round bye because you have pretty much resigned yourself to playing catch up the whole way, but Mongoose aren’t particularly interested in playing that game. They jumped 3 spots to 6th on the standings this week picking up a league best 41 points – which included the highest bonus point total of 15 (from a maximum of 17). This ‘attitude’ puts them in a pretty good position. All the teams above Mongoose still have to sit out a week.

Last week I hopped up on my soap box and lectured about not playing matches on Wednesday and putting too much emphasis on bonus points. This week was a vast improvement. Only 2 teams picked up more points off court than on it – surprisingly, one of those teams was Mongoose. But it would be hard to criticize them for it. Against Vivio’s, they have played 11 matches so far for round 3 – the most of any other match-up – but it just so happened they only won 4 of them.

I’m sending out a shout-out to the Wardogs team as well this week. After 3 rounds, they have completed the most matches overall, and picked up 40 points this week, jumping to equal 3rd on the standings. I’m very pleased to see the amount of play and the tightening up of the standings.

The busy night didn’t allow me to watch a lot of the matches. I did get a peek of Justin Winkelman (Winky-Dinks) and Curt Pedersen (Foss Nation) upstairs though. Battle of the giants, we need a heads-up next time these 2 get together, we may need to raise the ceiling a foot or two or install a basketball hoop. For the record, Justin ended up with a 3-0 victory. The always smiling Helen French (Mongoose) has been enjoying her summer break and was happy to take a game from the very experienced, “I-know-exactly-where-you-are-hitting-itJim Miller (Vivio’s). Never have I seen someone relish a beer so much after a loss!

JC Tibbitts (Butter Nutz) picks up his first win of the season taking down fellow captain Paul Ward (Wardogs) 2-1; Tom Fabbri (Mongoose) is 2-for-2 this season as he outlasted the younger legs of Kevin Thomas (Vivio’s) for a 2-1 victory; and Michael Rahaim (Foss Nation) scores his first career (!) win in his third match ever with a 2-1 triumph over Kevin Butler (Winky-Dinks).

Hopefully this trend will continue with the amount of play we experienced this week. It’s all a matter of keeping on top of the schedule and not falling behind. Play the matches early if you have to. There is already one player in the league that has reached the 5 match minimum rule – and we’re only 3 weeks in!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

YES, BONUS POINTS ARE IMPORTANT, BUT…



Boasters League round 2~~

It’s not quite the booming start I was hoping for in terms of squash. It doesn’t appear overly difficult to get people to turn up – that’s not the problem. But I fear there has been a little too much emphasis placed on the “bonus point”. The main reason that enticement was implemented in the first place was to encourage more play on the Wednesday league nights. The following stats may shock you from last night just to underscore exactly my concern:

In total – over the 8 teams that played last night – there were 86 bonus points collected. That’s a good number. BUT – there were only 14 scheduled matches completed (another 9 were played early) Let that sink in for a moment.

In 14 cases, both players of a scheduled match were here for their bonus point, but didn’t play the match.

Five of the 8 teams scored more in bonus points than on their actual squash scores, and one team scored the same. That means only 2 of the 8 teams scored more on the court, than off it.

Rearranging of matches is an understandable side-effect of a league so large, but it’s coming to the point that players are avoiding playing on Wednesday completely in favor of simply coming down, picking up their bonus point and having a few drinks. May as well get your match in since you are here anyway, right? I don’t have an answer, but a big part of the fix lies with you. It’s a Wednesday squash league, not a Wednesday “bonus point” league. Yes, get your point – but play your matches too.

And…. exhale. Something to think about there, but otherwise let’s move onto the squash that was played. Butter Nutz had a relatively successful evening against Winky Dinks. Of the 7 matches completed so far, Butter Nutz won all of them. Five of those results were 2-1 mind you, so it was closer than what it looks like on paper. No surprise that Butter Nutz lead the standings, considering they have not only played the most matches so far, but also have the most bonus points – which is the way to do it.

Not to be the soothsayer of doom, but Paddy’s Dropshots already appear to be in trouble. In 7th position, and only ahead of the 2 teams that have had the bye, falling behind so early in the season is typically a recipe for disaster. And their off week isn’t until round 7, so they better pick up the pace immediately.

There have been plenty of close 2-1 results so far. Renee Fershee (Over Served) picked up her first win of the season beating Bill Largent (Foss Nation). Not to set off any internal (family) rivalries (cough, cough), but Renee may have had a few clever words for her husband Paul who lost 1-2 this week to Dave DeCew – also considering Paul plays on Foss Nation

Also, solid 2-1 wins for Tom Pierce (Butter Nutz) over Drew Van Tongeren (Winky-Dinks), Peter Fromm (Nicker Ballers) over Helen French (Mongoose), and Chris Terry (Over Served) over Curt Pedersen (Foss Nation).

It’s not panic time yet, there is still plenty of time to get the matches in, but that time flits away pretty quickly. Before you know it, you’ll be eating turkey, watching the Lions create a new way to lose a football game on Thanksgiving, and wondering how you are going to get your make up matches in before the December 7 deadline…

Thursday, October 5, 2017

IT’S SHOWTIME!



Boasters League round 1~~

I wouldn’t say it was complete mayhem to kick off the start of the boasters league season, I wouldn’t say it was half mayhem either, but we had a fairly decent turnout. Certainly there was room for improvement, I would have liked to have seen more bums on courts but I am aware that many people are still trying to hang on to the last strands of the summer as long as possible. It’s as if picking up the squash racquet signifies cold weather and winter, the end of the golf and outdoor activity. I say you shouldn’t have put the racquet down in the first place and you may as well embrace it… the season has started!

Like in any new season, we receive many new faces. This year, we have 33 of them. It can be rather tricky placing them at a competitive level, not only have I not seen them play before, some of them I haven’t even met before! Word of mouth, clairvoyance, reading the stars, checking their astrological zodiac signs, time will tell how much I have butchered it, but at least I can take comfort with a couple. Mike Hanchett (Vivio’s) ended up with a 2-1 win over Tom Paglia (Nicker Ballers) and Brendan Hanley (Butter Nutz) took 2 of 3 games from Dave DeCew (Over Served) where the winner was determined by who could serve the ball harder.

Shout out to Josh Slominski (Foss Nation). Great to see him back on court in the league after a hiatus last season. Rusty to start off against his opponent Jay Poplawski (Wardogs) who took full advantage of it in the first 2 games before pulling out the third. Another shout out to Chris Moyer (Nicker Ballers) who also took a sabbatical for a couple of years – not from squash, but from Michigan. He moved to Denver but of course missed us so much he simply had to return! Back in the league, he tackled David Pontes (Vivio’s) for a 2-1, 15-14 in the 3rd victory and touted that the 14-all rally in the second game was the best rally he had evet played in his career. Wish we had it on camera.

Final – and special – shout out goes to none other than Colin Bayer (Over Served). Not because he won his league match 3-0 over Ryan MacVoy (Butter Nutz) but because of the world’s worst wager he had with Tom MacEachern. Never take a bet you can't win, and even then think twice about it. I am highlighting this for all you youngsters out there who think gambling doesn’t hold any consequences. Colin bet Tom he could shoot a round of golf under 100. If he failed in this quest, Tom would get a free shot at hitting Colin with a squash ball from the back wall. You could have bet a drink, or a meal, or $20, or anything that didn't involve a racquet and a ball. And Colin didn’t just miss the cut by a little, he missed – it sounds – by the 10th hole! Sounds a lot like my golf game... and I'm beyond horrible. Wow. Better work on your swing, Colin, or better yet, recognize your odds a tad better. I found a video of Colin’s swing here. Obviously I am not condoning this course of action, so a word of advice to Tom – “avoid” hitting him in the back of the knee… that hurts more.

Standings after week one have the Butter Nutz in the lead which isn’t surprising when you consider they played 11 matches and won 4 of them 3-0. Their opponents were Over Served – they are second. Still, it’s way too early to predict any sort of team order. But. It’s never early enough to start getting your matches in. The five match minimum rule is in effect. Play less, and you will be replaced for the second half!

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