Monday, December 10, 2018

SHARING THE SPOILS


Holiday Tournament - December 7, 2018

Who doesn’t just love Christmas? Especially since it’s only about 30 days after Thanksgiving and you are still scraping off the last dust particles of your extended family visitations, the last taste of the turkey leftovers from your taste buds and swearing off poultry for at least 11 months, and wiping away the last tears of the Detroit Lions public holiday display of complete ineptitude. All, just in time to repeat the entire fiasco anew. (Except for the Lions. There is only so much agony and abuse a Michigander can take.)
Julie. Just... awesome!

Welcoming in the joyous season, there is nothing better playing squash with the traditional annual Holiday Tournament. It’s a Swiss system style format where everyone gets 4 matches, against random opponents, no handicapping. Why they call it the ‘Swiss’ system is anyone’s guess unless for some reason they lay claim to inventing it which would be hard to prove and I’m sure no one really cares anyway. I digress. To get into the Christmas spirit, I do encourage all attendees to dress in appropriate garb. The more hideous the better. We did see some green and red combinations, Greg Allare’s red short shorts raised a few eyebrows, maybe he was going for the 1980 John McEnroe look…? Julie Vande Vusse once again treated us to the most stunningly grotesque squash shirt that she enchantingly repulsed us with last year, reminding us that beauty and ugliness can indeed live in harmony. The perfect Yin and Yan combo. I want one. And yet… I don’t. And Janie Franklin was simply adorable in her headband / reindeer ears, a perfectly amusing and novel way to spread the cheer!
 
Henry Gembis and Janie Franklin
Twenty-four registrations. That’s the max for this event since any more and we’d be playing until midnight. One player informed me 3 hours before the start time that he wasn’t able to play (Grrrr~!) but miraculously turned up 10 minutes early anyway to take part. (Yay! But.. huh?) Unfortunately, we still did have 2 1/2 no shows. I have no idea why 2 of them stayed away (I didn’t send enough e-mails?) but we know exactly why we had a half absentee. Steve Brown is a smart guy. At least that’s the word on the street. He was the first person to register for this tournament, so I know he received my e-mails. And all my reminder e-mails. And all the reminder e-mails to the reminder e-mails. Plus the final reminder e-mail. I am also pretty sure they all said the tournament started at 5pm. So why he thought it was 7.30pm is a mystery that even Steve admitted he can’t solve. Kudos to the man however - he did eventually turn up, with gift in hand and took all the ribbing in good stride. He was also allowed to take part in the post tournament gift choosing ceremony where he appropriately ended up with the pumpkin (?) pie. Ahhh, Steve we will miss you next year.

So onto the squash. It is an important part of the evening, otherwise there would be little point gathering them all and providing a keg, right? The appeal I find of this event, is that who really wins is irrelevant. Since there is no handicapping, the top ranked players will end up with the most points. But this format gives everybody a chance to play against members they would typically never meet up with otherwise. That being said, we do on occasion end up with a final order that would not reflect our club ranking.

We had 2 players sharing first place - Jeff Gembis and Greg Allare. Greg’s biggest victory of the evening was his third match where he took out JC Tibbitts 3 games to zero. That set him up going into the 4th and final match with a 1 point lead over the rest of the field. Jeff’s most important result was in his second match, taking out Colin Bayer 2-1. Jeff was 1 point behind Greg heading into his 4th match. He played Joey Gaylord and held off the resistance - just - to take all 3 games putting a little pressure on Greg to win all 3 of his if he was to become the sole victor. Let me introduce this year’s spoiler, Brandon Tasco. Now on paper, I don’t think anyone would predict a Tasco victory. And you’d be right, Brandon didn’t win. But, he did take the third game and thus preventing Greg from hogging the spotlight all on his own, forcing him to hold hands with Jeff atop the podium. For Brandon’s sake, his reward was ending up a surprise second place, also holding hands here with David de la Nacho-Chapo-Torre.

Third place was dished out between JC Tibbitts, Colin Bayer and John Rogers, and a couple pleasant surprises for fourth: Matt Paradiso and Julie Vande Vusse, along with Joey Gaylord.
 
The Christmas Crew!
As usual, the presentation went very smoothly, I hope everyone was very happy with their gift. I certainly was - and I sincerely thank you all for it as well. Once again, I haven’t heard of anything that needs to be added to the banned substances list, although I was asked that since the new law that recently passed in Michigan, if any allowances would be made for that. Just let me say, as long as my surname is “Joint”, ironically, he answer is an emphatic “no”. Wishing you  all a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

DAVID V GOLIATH


Hops Challenge ~ Wednesday, December 19

Another year has just about come and gone and it’s around this time when we really start thinking about Christmas and what we have done over the past 12 months that deserves recognition from that weirdo fat dude in the red velvety suit. I for one have been a very good boy. I made sure I cleaned behind my ears, didn’t eat too much candy, and didn’t watch too many cartoons on Saturday morning. I can’t vouch for all the rest of you, but odds are some of you are definitively on the naughty list.

This time of the year also means we host the annual Hops Challenge! The only time when we can ALL feel like we are on Santa’s Nice List regardless of all the transgressions and bad behavior we may have indulged in… except for one chosen member: The loser of the Hops Challenge. Here we can enjoy the cool, soothing brewskie at the expense of someone else. The best tasting beer in the world is the one someone else pays for, right?

Register to play a match and I will assign you an opponent. Singles or doubles. If appropriate, we can count it for the December box ladders as well. This is your warm-up for the main event, to get your taste buds up and excited, feel like a winner even if you lose, and watch the important bout of the evening. The bout where the loser will pay for the keg…

So….

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

In the right corner, weighing in at a shadow of his former self with 245 pounds, hardly recognizable to himself, his wife, his kids, (and the best disguise against his top ten FBI wanted poster), currently residing in the cool and hip village of Ann Arbor, but apparently not cool enough since he’ll be shipping out to the humid Hell of the south in St. Louis early next year, coming in with a 2018 record of 30 wins and 16 losses, the thrills-and-spills-of racquet-skills, the I’d-fight-Sasquatch-for-a-glass-of-scotch… STEVE – “I-own-Ryan-MacVoy” – BROWN!!

And…

In the left corner, weighing in at a run-of-the-mill 175 pounds, recently taking on the roll as a father and therefore sacrificing any and all requirements of sleep, self-grooming, personal space and spending money on yourself, an inhabitant of the fantasy biosphere of Birmingham, where any product more than 4 weeks old is no longer trendy, coming in with a 2018 record of 33 wins and 21 losses, the slash-and-dash-faster-than-Flash, the burning-rubber-squash-scrubber… RILEY – “run-faster-run-faster-run-faster-run-faster” – ENGLISH!!

A true David v Goliath match-up! This will be the 10th meeting between the two, with Steve holding a very narrow 5 to 4 margin. Only 2 of the results were 3-0, so it’s bound to be an epic encounter. Make sure you park yourself outside court 7 at 7pm for all the action!

And make sure you notify me if you wish to play a match beforehand. Numbers are limited, so don’t hesitate to e-mail me.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

YOU HAVE UNTIL DECEMBER 9


Boasters League round 8~~

Everyone enjoy Turkey Day? Everyone enjoy their families, no matter how functional or dysfunctional they may be? Everyone enjoy watching the Detroit Lions showcase why they are the laughing stock of the NFL since forever? Everyone enjoy watching Ohio State throw the Wolverines down the stairs for the 7th time in a row? Ooooh… too soon?

And I imagine everyone enjoyed having a week off from the league so they could get some much needed make up matches in. Right? At least some of you did, and we are whittling down the number of players who still haven’t reached the magical number of 5. That’s FIVE matches you need in order to secure your second half position in the league. If you don’t, you do risk removal. We still have 52 players yet to achieve the milestone, but from those 52, 35 only need 1 more result with another 9 needing 2 results. The rest need more than that. You have (as of today – November 29) 10 days to do that. So in reality – no excuse. That’s plenty of time.

The Wardogs have taken over top spot. Even though they equal on points with Butter Nutz, they hold the bonus point tie-break. However, bursting their bubble, it will be a short-lived tenure. The Wardogs will have to sit out round 9 with the bye, so unless they have a remarkable amount of make-up matches completed in the next week and a half, they should in all likelihood end up second.

The biggest mover since round 7 was the Nicker Ballers. They picked up 44 points over the past 2 weeks, jumped up one spot to 4th. Mongoose are third (equal points) based again on the bonus points. And, not willing to change any trend whatsoever, On the Rocks and Foss Nation were way behind the rest of the league picking up a paltry 20 and 24 points respectively. Not surprisingly, those 2 teams also picked up the least amount of bonus points this week.

After a sluggish start to the night, it ended up being fairly decent turnout. I heard of lot of “I’m so fat and unfit” from all the holiday gorging, but what would Thanksgiving be without that extra serving or two of pumpkin pie? And stuffing. And turkey. And yams. And cranberry sauce. And more pie. Plenty of tight (shorts) 2-1 results came in, so I won’t list all of them, but I’m sure the players involved are thankful for the harder contests to burn off those extra calories. (That after match beer probably didn’t help though!)

Now remember, for those of you who qualify for the second half that will start on January 9 – which I hope is all of you – keep in mind that I will be going through your win / loss record of the first half and be shuffling you around based on those results. So, you may move up, or down, or stay put. I will be doing my best to keep you on your current team but that that will be impossible to do with 153 players, and generally, about 20% of the league will be ‘traded’. It’s all in the spirit of making the league as competitive as humanly possible. Also keep in mind, it is not an exact science. Some of you may deserve to move up but do not – it’s nothing personal I assure you, understand, that if I move someone up, I need to move someone down as well and that may not be feasible. You do not need to remind me of your current record (right, Joey Gaylord?) as I do have a spreadsheet of all your results.

The countdown to December 9 begins… tick, tock… tick, tock…

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