Monday, January 10, 2011


It was, in all truthfulness, rather ugly. The Birmingham Athletic Club (BAC) did exactly what they promised to do – send in a formidable team in order to stop the pounding we have been handing them for the past 4 years of the Farris Cup competition. And giving us a taste of our own medicine, they didn’t let up all day.

Things were actually looking up for the DAC after the first result came in. Brien Baker had full control over his opponent and took a 3-0 win in fairly comfortable fashion. However, that was the only time we had the lead. After that, we didn’t just fall behind, we stumbled, smacked our heads, wondered around dazed and confused, ran backwards, before we knew what hit us. [Picture: Brien Baker (right) with Larry MacKenzie]

The next 6 results had on the losing end of every one of them. Four of them were 3-0 and weren’t all that close. Given, our players did not have the best day on court, but full credit goes to their opponents who took maximum advantage of every opportunity that came their way. And once they were 2-0 up, they really put down the hammer and refused to give any of us any hope of a sniff or comeback. The other 2 matches we lost in the 5th game. And on both of those occasions, we were 2-0 up. Fitness (or lack of it) was a major contributor here. If you are unable to physically last a 5 game match, then your opponent only has to win 2 games to beat you. It is easy to relax once you establish a good lead, but it is just as easy to lose the momentum you had that got you into that position in the first place. Being 2-0 up is actually the time to pick up your game, not rest.

Ironically, our second victory of the day came in identical fashion. John Rakolta just happened to play against his Farris Cup opponent – Terry Barr – in the travel league just 2 days before. In that match he was 2-0 down, then came back to win in 5 once Terry ran out of gas and could no longer keep pace. Two days later and Terry must have felt like he was experiencing ‘Groundhog Day’. John once again found himself 2-0 down. And once again, exhaustion got the better of Terry who looked like he was struggling to stand up straight, let alone run down any shots. John rolled off the next 3 games taking the 5th 9-1.

And let’s not forget about the doubles matches. The DAC have always had issues competing with the BAC on the doubles court. This year was no different. We lost all three of the match-ups, winning only two games total.

We managed to pull out 2 of the last 4 singles matches on the day with strong 3-0 performances by John Birgbauer and Jeff Gembis. However, when it was all said and done, we had lost the Cup 4 matches to 11. A genuine pasting. Congratulations to the BAC, they truly deserved the victory. [Picture: Jeff Gembis (right) with Chad Keesling]

Now, I know I have sounded a little negative here, but this should serve as motivation for our members when we go to the BAC next year and win on their turf. After all, in the spirit of good sportsmanship, we are technically only loaning them the Cup for 12 months. If we keep on thrashing them year after year, they won’t want to play with us after a while, right? But in all seriousness, to truly compete to the level we need to, it is imperative that you get tournament experience. Play people you are not used to playing in venues you aren’t used to playing in. Such variety goes a long, long way.

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