Tuesday, March 30, 2010


A slightly better showing than Toledo, the DAC had 7 representatives (including myself) for the recent Windsor Tournament this past weekend. I’m still a little stumped as to why we can’t get more members to support this event. It is not a big deal crossing the border (you do need a passport, however) and the longest I waited at the tunnel was about 15 minutes getting back into the US on Friday night as I watched customs officers look in, on, underneath, on top, and outside of the truck in front of me, and then decide to really ‘search’ the truck as they pulled it to the side for a more thorough inspection. They let me through in 30 seconds – the power of the Aussie passport! Also, the Windsor crew are a social bunch to say the very least. If you don’t have a beer in your hand then you are prompted to do so regularly. After all, how could you possibly play squash without drinking alcohol? Hic!

Our 6 members didn’t win any of the events (must be that Windsor curse...?) but as always, we put up a strong fight. Anthony Fracchia – fresh off his win in Toledo – reached the quarter final before succumbing to a fine player from Toronto who just happened to be a woman. (Beaten by a sheila…!) Of course there is no shame in losing to a female… just ask Jim Stroh… or Rich Stimson… or Chip McDaniel… or even Justin Winkelman. Justin lost his first round to Krista Porter. He was leading 2-0 but Krista mounted a strong comeback to take the match 10-9 in the 5th. Even though Justin lost the match, I am sure many of the spectators thanked him for keeping Krista on court for as long as possible.

Bruce VandeVusse won his first round 3-1, and then lost his second match 3-0 to Vince Mencotti. Vince is a product of the BAC junior program – a 14 year old up and coming talent and it is excellent to see him competing in adult tournaments. (Vince ended up reaching the semi finals of the C draw.)

Ryan Bendzinski [pictured left] had a similar result to Bruce – won his first match, then lost his second. He went down 3-0 to London-ite Srinivas Krishnamoorthy (say that 10 times drunk!). Srinivas (Sometimes known as ‘Alphabet-Soup’ or more commonly ‘Shrini’ for short) played very steady squash and simply waited for Ryan to hit the errors to which he obliged just a little too often. A good experience for Ryan, he wasn’t out-classed, he needs to learn not beat himself.

Andy Adamo played 2 tough matches but unfortunately lost them both. Andy has a lot of potential, and it also terrific to see him playing these tournaments picking up valuable match toughness and practice. Ken MacDonald played 2 events (sucker for punishment). He did win the first match in each draw, getting his money’s worth and just like Andy, picked up significant experience.

On a personal level, I won the Open category winning all the matches 3-0. I played the human canvass Chris Hanebury (he’s covered in tattoos!) in the final – a lad I have now played at least 5 times. As scary as he looks, Chris is an extremely nice fellow – and very quick on the court. He also found the right angles on many occasions as he pounded quite a few of my shots straight into the nick. But, I was steady enough to overcome these winners to keep him at bay just long enough. (On a side note in the Open draw, one of the first round matches ended up 21-19 in the 5th! Talk about a marathon!)

So the last tournament for the 2009-2010 season has come to an end. Thanks to Brian Porter, Dave Guthrie, and the Windsor team for putting on another successful event. Next season, once again all I can do is encourage you all to play at least one event outside the DAC – be it London, Toledo, Chicago, Cleveland or Windsor. You won’t regret it – they are truly tremendous weekends!

Monday, March 29, 2010


Update - Date Change!!
The Cross-Border Challenge has been moved to SATURDAY, APRIL 17. This is so we can avoid the doubles-whammy of the Frozen Four and Tiger's opening weekend on April 10. It would have made traveling through the tunnel and parking a nightmare for the visitors... hang on... on second thoughts... anything to give us an advantage...

Take… nine.

Yes, yes, it’s that time of year when we let our very good friends from that country that won the Olympic ice-hockey gold medal grace our squash courts and beat us into submission. (With friends like these, who needs enemies?) Seven times in a row we have managed to drive home trophy-less. In fact, I bet most of you don’t even know what the Cross Border Trophy looks like.

On Saturday, April 17 we are going at it yet again. Trying to stop the rot… turn the tables… reverse the trend… Our losing streak is turning rather cliché. Since nothing else has worked, including conspiring with my counterpart in Windsor to try to ‘fix’ the matches in order for us to win, I figure I may as well steal somebody else’s ideas rather than using my own for this article…

I will not beat around the bush. Against insurmountable odds, we need players who are willing to spill their guts on the court for us. I have a real axe to grind, a bee in my bonnet, when those Canadians tell me that Hell will freeze over, that pigs will fly, before the DAC can pull a win out of the bag. I need singles players of all levels to put up their hands, and sweat blood for the team. We also need 3 doubles pairs, preferably at the A, B and C levels, but at this stage, I’ll take what I can get! We are stuck in a rut. They say ‘great things happen to those who wait’ – well, we’ve waited long enough! We need to pull our heads out of the sand, treat the past losses as water under the bridge, and if we can turn over a new leaf, maybe, just maybe, we will be walking on cloud nine, breaking new ground, and we can take home the hardware!

Matches start at 2pm at the DAC. We will do our best to match you up against a player from Windsor similar to your own level. Registration deadline is Monday, April 12. Simply e-mail me your registration. As always, we will be providing a keg for your thirsty needs.

And, if we happen to bite the dust, if we can’t bring them down to earth, make them stop believing they are the cat’s meow, then all I can say is… “Sh*t happens!”

Friday, March 26, 2010


Boasters League – Final

…Flashback 2009, round 1 of the Boaster’s League finals…
Pat Petz’s team plays a 15-15 tie but advance 5-4 on bonus points… fade-out… Its one week later. Semi Finals of the 2009 Boasters League and Pat Petz’s team repeats the unlikely – they play a 26-26 tie, but again advance on bonus points 10-9… fade-out… Its one week later; the final of the 2009 Boasters League season. Pat Petz’s team dominates and wins the league… fade-out…
...Fast forward to 2010…

Surprise finalists “Angry Dragons” were lucky even to be present. Spending much of the season in last place, they ended up 3rd from the bottom and were second worst in picking up bonus points. But their team was quite strong. Once the finals started, suddenly they started turning up. The knocked of the second seeded “Hell’s Kitchen” in round 1, then had little trouble with “Duck or Bleed” in the semis.

On the other end on the spectrum, Pat Petz’s [pictured left] team, the “Defending Champs”, spent most of the season in the top 2-3 positions on the ladder and went in as the top seed. In round 1, “The Trolls” put up a reasonable resistance, but just weren’t up to scratch, in the semi final, the “Defending Champs” staggered to the finishing line 23-20 over “The Deconstructors” who certainly had their chances to cause the upset. The final was set between the first seed and the seventh seed: 29 points separated the teams on the standings, so going by that, the final should have been a cake-walk… yeah, right!

Eleven matches were played. One of them ended up 3-0. The other ten: 2-1. One of things that really hurt the “Angry Dragons” was that 3 of their regulars required subs. Even though 2 of those subs won their matches, they can’t receive bonus points and in the end, it made the difference. History was about to repeat itself.

I don’t know how many games ended up 15-14; how many games were decided on an unforced error, or a lucky winner; and I am sure all the members “Angry Dragons” will now be scratching their heads, making themselves feel guilty, and spending time wondering the “what-ifs”, “could-haves” and “should-haves”. In reality, they couldn’t have done much more.

Firstly, they should be thankful they made it so far. I debate whether they even deserved to be in the final. Playing as few matches as they did during the regular season - with the 2nd worst percentage of matches completed - does not warrant a spot in the play-offs. (This may prompt a play-off rules change for next season.) Secondly, they actually won 7 of the 11 matches played. That in itself is a noble effort, and just proves they should have ended up near the top of the standings after the regular season.

So I suppose justice was served. With a 24-24 tie, the “Defending Champs” are (again) declared winners based on the tie-break: 8 bonus points to 7. Congratulations to: Scott Adlhoch, Jay Poplawski, Pat Petz, Joe Moran, JB Peabody, Andrew Spohn, Mark Monaghan, Justin Winkelman, Tom Healy, Jim Miller, and Jerry Solomon. It was a terrific effort, the “Angry Dragons” did put up the best fight they could and should be commended as well. Unfortunately for them, only the victor receives the spoils!

The 2009-2010 Boasters League is done. Here are a few seasonal stats for the second half: Bob Rogers (“The Reach Arounds”) [pictured left] picked up the most points in the league with 28. Tom Healy (“Defending Champs”) was second with 27, then Chuck Doyle (“Hell’s Kitchen”) and Anil Kathuria (“The Reach Arounds”) with 25. Bob, Tom and Anil also went through the season undefeated. Only 3 players picked up a bonus point every week: Paul Ward (“Angry Dragons”), Mac Nutter and Chuck Doyle (both from “Hell’s Kitchen”). On the other side of that, only 3 players failed to pick up any. They shall remain nameless. Spread over all the teams, 74% of the matches were played. The “Defending Champs” completed 84% - the next best was 75%.

Summer League is just around the corner. It is scheduled to start on May 17. Do yourself a favor and keep active over the summer months – you will reap the benefits come September when it all starts again…

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Recently, it is becoming more noticeable that some of our members are ‘forgetting’ to wear eye protection whilst on court. The mandatory eye-guard policy at the DAC is, by the most part, welcomed by the members. Given that some of our players have an uncanny habit of positioning themselves in life-threatening situations, you would think that people would get struck by the ball all the time. Strangely though – and luckily – it is not as common as you may think, and in the five plus years I have been working here no one has received an eye injury. But the risk is always present and the $20 for a pair of goggles is a miniscule price to pay to protect your sense of sight. A squash ball can cause devastating trauma to the eye, including permanent blindness, so wearing eye-guards, however uncomfortable they may be, should be a welcome and thankful piece of equipment.

The excuse of “I cannot see the ball properly when I wear eye-guards” doesn’t fly. Like anything else, they do take a little time to get used to if you are not familiar with them, but you will adapt. Sooner rather than later your eye-guards will become just another piece of clothing you need when walking on the court. My old club in Montreal did not have a mandatory eye-guard policy. Few players wore them – I did not. When I came to the DAC, I found the eye-guards initially distracting but it did not take long before I hardly notice them while I am playing. Now, I feel naked and vulnerable without them. I will not step on court with a member (no offense!!) without my eye-guards. Basically, (and I am being a little conceited here), if I feel I should wear them, then so should you.

Before anyone asks why is it that none of the professionals wear them, as they should be the ones setting the example to the rest of the squash community, you cannot compare apples to oranges. Again – no offense – you aren’t professionals. You play squash for enjoyment, for the camaraderie, for the beer, for the friendly competition. You do not make a living out of it. All it takes is one miss-hit, one badly timed shot, one fleeting moment of bad judgment, and you could get hit. Walk around one day with a pirate-patch over one eye and see how even the most simple of daily tasks suddenly become complicated. Professionals are not immune either, although the likelihood of being hit in the eye at that level is close to zero, it has happened to the best of them. Thierry Lincou in the 2003 US Open hit Jon Power in the eye with the ball. Luckily for Power it wasn’t hit very hard, but he nonetheless had to take a lengthy injury time out and ended up losing the match. A few years ago in St. Louis, David Palmer got a close up of Amr Shabana’s racquet as it smacked him squarely on the bridge of his nose. Both of these injuries could have been avoided if eye-guards had been worn.

But I digress. Essentially, you really don’t have a choice. It is a club rule – a rule put forth by your own committees – so there is no reason not to follow it. You may not agree with it, but that does not give anyone immunity from obeying it. Do yourself a favor, wear your eye-guards, avoid any uncomfortable incidents for non-compliance, and we all won’t have to wait for the “not if, but when” situation.

Monday, March 15, 2010


No offense to Matt Hayduk, but I’m sure all the pundits were not laying their money on him to win. In fact, if asked, I’m sure Matt would have placed his bet on any one of the other 23 competitors in the Blitz Tournament before himself.

But that is the beauty of this tournament. Anyone can win. Literally. Just ask Matt. Consider the path the he took to earn first prize– and he did earn it. First of all, hurdle one - the group round robin. JB Peabody won all 4 of games to end up first, where Matt, along with two others won 2 games. With 3 players tied for second place, the next hurdle to see who advanced came down to pure, dumb luck: drawing straws. Matt drew first, and from the groans and gesturing of the other two, had drawn well. He moved onto the next hurdle: the knock-out finals. His first game was against Charlie Severn who went on with a 6 point handicap. Perfect. Matt takes the game 15-14. Next in line was Jim Stroh who won his group round robin. Matt started with 9 points which proved to be more than enough. He won 15-11. His semi final was against Ryan Bendzinski. [Photo right: Ryan playing against Bob Rogers] Matt took 11 points into the game, again proving it was more than enough. The 15-9 win had (a surprised) Matt in the final. The other side of the draw could not have been any closer. Every single match ended up 15-14. (Kudos to me for the handicapping!!) Scraping through by this narrowest of margins was JB Peabody – the winner of Matt’s round robin group. Hurdle four: Overcoming a previous defeat. In the round robin, Matt was given 5 points head start on JB (he lost that game). For the final, I gave him 7. Perfect. Matt takes the final 15-14 topping off the faultless evening for the lad. Not only did he win the event, received some very nice prizes for his efforts, he also drank free beer. What more could you ask for? [Photo: Matt and JB in their final]

Special mentions:
Judy Doyle. The only woman to enter into the testosterone filled domain of the squash court arena. And she took it to the boys as well. Judy won group round robin, but was knocked out by Bruce VandeVusse (bully!) in the first knock-out match 15-14. (Bruce went on to lose the 3rd / 4th playoff to Ryan Bendzinski 15-13.)

Mac Nutter. Although Mac did not advance through the group round robin, his entertaining style of play kept us all rather captivated. He must be made of putty as he bounces off the walls and floor, rebounds back onto his feet, all while he doesn’t stop running. In need of 17 band-aids, Mac kindly pointed out that he almost scored the maximum amount points in the group as he either lost or won every game 15-13 or 15-14. Lamentably, that didn’t count.

The tournament took just over 2 hours to complete. We had 56 games played, 24 competitors, 1 keg emptied, zero racquets destroyed… Pat? 964 towels used, and 1 successful evening. Thank you to all who supported and played.


Friday, March 12, 2010


Boasters League Quarter Finals –

Defending Champs (1) v The Trolls (8)
The “Defending Champs” took a page out of Ken Katz’s book and accumulated an impressive 10 out of a maximum of 11 bonus points. Captain Patrick Petz even managed to convince his number one player, Scott Adlhoch, who had not collected one bonus point all season, to play on Wednesday. (I hate to think what Patrick promised him…) Even so, “The Trolls” put up a commendable fight and kept themselves in the hunt just about all the way. The “Defending Champs” move on to the semis with a solid and well deserved win. Final score: 26-17.

Hell’s Kitchen (2) v Angry Dragons (7)
This was a lot closer than the final score suggests. There was only one 3-0 result out of the nine matches that were played. Unfortunately for “Hell’s Kitchen”, they only won 3 of the other 8 matches that ended up 2-1. They also hurt their chances by only collecting only 5 bonus points. The second seeds bow out of the league with a final score of 16-22. Against the odds, the “Angry Dragons”, who have been lingering at the bottom of the standings almost all season long, now find themselves in the semi-finals. They are not to be taken lightly!

Marauders (3) v Duck or Bleed (6)
In the closest battle of the week, this came down to the final reported match. Both teams gathered 7 bonus points on the night, so it was 100% the squash which was going to determine who advanced. In the match of the week, even though the score was 3-0, Joe Bobzin (“Duck or Bleed”) held off Matt Jarboe (“Marauders”) in a match that was anything but straight forward. Matt just doesn’t quit, not even if he’s sprawled all over the floor, 25 feet from the ball, and his lungs are oozing out of his nostrils. I am sure Joe was very pleased to get away with this victory. Before the last score was turned in, the “Marauders” held a 17-15 lead. However, Paul Ferrini saved the day for his team with a sound 3-0 win, pushing “Duck or Bleed” to the next round. Final score: 18-17.

The Reach Arounds (4) v The Deconstructors (5)
In the only blow-out of this week’s finals, “The Reach Arounds” really defeated themselves. Due to either unavailability or injury, 3 of their team members forfeited their matches which immediately put them 9-0 behind before the night even started. Add on three more 3-0 losses for matches that were actually played, and an 18-0 deficit suddenly becomes insurmountable. Especially when only 5 matches are left to play. Rubbing salt into their already infected and festering wounds, “The Deconstructors” also picked up more bonus points. Final result: 27-11.

The semi finals are on St. Paddy’s Day. Be prepared for Patrick Petz’ green explosion. I wonder how many players will be struggling to perform…?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I was in the University Club of Chicago last weekend playing the Windy City Open and bumped into a few of their members who used to belong to the DAC. Every single one of those members spoke so fondly of the club and their admiration for it, and how much they miss coming here. There was a lot of name dropping going on, especially the name “Haggarty”. There was more than just one reason why it did come up, but mainly because of the amount of times it appears of our championship boards. It was all pure admiration (and probably a little jealousy!) but it made me feel very proud to work for a club where people in other cities would affectionately reminisce and wished they could still be members.

The 2010 Club Championships will give the name “Haggarty” another opportunity to be eternalized on our championship boards. Kirk’s main rival will once again be Peter Logan, who is actually the reigning champion and as keen as ever to maintain that title. However, no match is to be taken lightly – we all know what can happen if you underestimate your opponent!

There are 6 other categories to play in outside the Open - 2.5; 3.0; 3.5; 4.0; 4.5; 5.0. You can enter a maximum of 2 categories (no consolation draw). The draws will be a knock-out format with matches to be played best of 5 games to 9 points using hand-in-hand-out scoring.


If you cannot play on that day, then you should not enter the tournament. The Club Championships are scheduled to start on April 1. (Yes, Easter weekend!). The draws will be played over the month of April. Matches will be scheduled with a deadline by which time it must be completed. It will be your responsibility to make sure that each match is completed by that deadline or risk being defaulted. If you will be away for a significant amount of time during the month of April, then think twice about entering.

Registration deadline is Thursday, March 25.

The winners and finalists of each category will qualify for selection to represent the DAC at the 2011 Farris Cup to be held at the DAC on January 8.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


So now is the chance to redeem yourself for not playing in Toledo, and enter the Tony Tomicic Challenge in Windsor! Check out the poster for all the pertinent details on categories, entry fees, what’s included, and the registration deadline.

Most importantly though, it is a great weekend of squash and we already know how social and hospitable their members are, and we know how much they support us, and we know that we need to support them in return, and we know they’ll have a keg… need I go on?

So – the weekend of March 26 – 28 is the date, you need your racquet, squash shoes, eye-guards, (no need for a ball, they provide that), passport, happy face, at least 5 lessons under your belt between now and then, solid pair of drinking boots (may want to pack 2, just in case), and some wicked squash form.

The entry deadline is Saturday, March 20. You can e-mail the tournament organizer – Dave Guthrie – on dguthrie@windsorsquash.ca or call 519-966-2141. Payment is required with registration, so it will be easier for you to register with Dave directly. I will be playing in the Open category and I hope to see your ‘stuff’ there as well.

Monday, March 1, 2010


How we don’t attract more DAC members to play this event is a mystery to me. Just one hour away, this tournament is designed – and advertised – as a ‘biathlon’. Play hard (squash that is) and drink harder. Like our tournament, their keg is an endless well. Unlike our tournament, they hire models to serve you that beer. As you can see from the photos, Justin Winkelman had a difficult time trying to stay away from them. Their ‘tag-team’ move was a popular strategy and they did an excellent job making sure not many of the patrons ever saw the bottom of their beer cups.

Three DAC members made the journey. Keep in mind that the Toledo courts are 2 and a half feet narrower than ours, same length, but the ‘T’ is closer to the back wall. The angles that you are accustomed to are now completely off kilter. Justin played the D event. He won his first round match 3-1 on Friday night in solid fashion, before succumbing 3-0 in his second round on Saturday. The games of that match were quite close, and Justin is fully aware that without some of his mistimed errors, the outcome could have been very different.

Robert Welch, also in the D event, lost his first round 3-0 – to a young girl barely in her teens. Now before we all start ribbing him for all eternity, we found out later that the girl was the pro’s daughter and grew up on these shoe-box courts and knew the angles very well. It turned out to be a tough draw for Rob! However, Rob went on the win the consolation event with a 3-0 thrashing of his opponent in the final.

Now everybody stand up and applaud the man of the hour – Anthony Fracchia! (Pictured left in red.) Guts, determination, a few desperate dives, he put his body in the line as he collected at least 5 squash balls in the backside (one hitting his cheek!), he battled muscle soreness, the referees, and even though he came out the other end wounded and bloodied, he is a true Toledo Tournament survivor as he won the C division in spectacular fashion. None of his matches were easy. He won 3-1 in his first match, 3-1 in his second, 3-2 in the semi final on Sunday morning in an extremely tight match that took an hour, and then he still managed to back it up with a 3-1 victory in the final! Congratulations Anthony! Make sure you see Tiffany for a massage…

On a personal level, I won the Open event winning all my matches 3-0. I played Ian Sly from Cleveland in the final in a repeat of the 2009 event where I just got through 3-2. This year, I was determined to keep the pressure on him and remain focused. Being a handy doubles player, Ian can hit the ball very hard and uses the angles smartly, but I managed to keep the ball tight enough to stop him from doing any real damage.

As usual, the Toledo Club looked after everybody exceptionally well. The Saturday night party in the club had a live band playing songs from the 70’s and 80’s, and the drinking went on until about 4am (as far as I know…!) Seriously, for a get-away squash weekend that could not be easier to get to, the Toledo Classic a must-do. I suggest you mark it on your calendars for 2011 (last weekend in February) and make a genuine effort to enter it. (Photo: Justin, me and Robert Welch)

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