Wednesday, February 9, 2011


DAC Squash Classic 2011

With a deep breath, the magnificent feeling of weightlessness is almost euphoric as the DAC Classic comes to a close once again. I absolutely love running this event. The countless hours of preparation and the seemingly endless work through the four days of the event itself pays off in spades knowing another successful tournament is in the record books.

The most satisfying time after the DAC Classic for me is sinking into my lounge chair at home and looking forward to watching the Super Bowl. My wife understands my exhaustion and lets me be in command of the remote control. She knows I’ll be taking the next day off to relax, but the sly smile is also because she knows that “relax’ means I’ll be shoveling our long driveway for 3 hours. Hmmm, nice way to wind down. At least the Packers won the game. I couldn’t bear having the Steelers win another title…

With 146 players this year, the DAC Squash Classic has reached its capacity. We can’t expand the playing hours anymore, and we don’t have any more courts. Maximum registration is achieved before the deadline, and the reserve list is plentiful. We had over 60 players from Canada (Windsor and London), over 50 DAC members, and the other 35 or so from around metropolitan Detroit. Here is what happened…

Customarily, DAC members barely make a blip on the radar in the doubles. The copious amount of teams that come from Canada are full of experience and – let’s face it – are overall simply better than us. But we did create some rumblings in the C draw. We had 2 teams reach the semi-finals. Anthony Fracchia and Andy Housey played tough to get there beating 2 Windsor teams on the way, but met their match with the Lindsay and Anne Smith pair from London. The 3-0 result was painless enough in the fact it was also very quick! Sean Moran and Jim Stroh played the other semi against Ron Henry and Heather Betts (London) but were quickly behind the eight-ball when Jim injured himself early on in the match. Still, they did well to pick up a game and the 3-1 loss could have been very different if Jim would have been able to run! The Smiths won the final 3-2. [Pictured above: Jim Stroh, Sean Moran, Heather Betts, Ron Henry]

London teams also dominated the B draw. Once again, it was Lindsay Smith – this time with Murray Shaw – taking on the much younger team of Andrew Mount and Marcus Plowright in the final. And once again, experience shone through. Smith and Shaw took it 3-0. All quarter finalists in the B draw (16 players) were Canadian.

In the A draw semi final, Rob Graves (Franklin) and John Seidel (Toledo) took advantage (as they should have) of an injury to Rob Doherty (London) who was paired with Caleb Quinlan (London). Doherty / Quinlan were the top seeds, but there was no way they were going to beat Graves / Seidel if they were not healthy. They didn’t. In the final, Graves / Seidel then played Mark Eugeni (Windsor) and Jon Uffelman (BAC) who were in no mood to play any more than the 3 required games to win a match. And when Eugeni shoots well with his impressive power, they did just that. Win 3-0.

Although the DAC did not win any of the 7 categories, we in fact did rather well. Four of our members made it to the final. Of course, going 0 for 4 isn’t exactly something to brag about, but adding it to the 3 players that won their consolation event, we took home a third of the singles hardware which isn’t too shabby.

2.5 finalist Chuck Doyle – Respect experience. Not Chuck’s, but his final’s opponent Anne Smith (London). Chuck only dropped 1 game on his way to the final, Anne didn’t drop any. In fact, Anne was beating up on our younger members quite convincingly which left them shaking their heads in bewilderment. Chuck knew he was in for a tough match as the word had already spread. But Anne was also ready – as she had been all weekend. Clever and tactful, she knows where her opponent’s next shot is going and then where to hit it. She won 3-0.

3.0 finalist James Van Dyke – Respect youth. Not James’, but his final’s opponent Charlie Beauregard (BAC). At 12 years old, Charlie battled his way through the draw winning his quarter final 9-7 in the 5th (he was 6-1 down), and then beating James 9-6 in the 5th for the final. That’s a good head on a pair of young shoulders. James has improved tremendously over the past 8 months and reaching the final here is a testament to his hard work. He should be very proud of his achievement. [Pictured: Charlie Beauregard and James Van Dyke]

3.5 finalist Mike Petix
– Mike hit form just at the right time. The biggest draw in the tournament with 32 players, Mike had tough matches all the way through to the final. He won his first two round 3-1, before tackling Ken MacDonald in the quarter finals which Mike ended up winning 9-7 in the 5th. He carried the excellent form into the semi knocking off Rich Stimson 3-0 but then it appeared he lost his mojo. Maybe it was tiredness, that one match too many, but he struggled to keep up against his final’s opponent Peter McDonald (London) and went down in 3 games.

5.0 finalist John Rakolta – I knew John could win this category. I also knew John could lose the first round. His biggest enemy at times is himself. His inconsistency can let him down. But not this weekend. Even though John may tell you otherwise, I believe he performed admirably and should be more than satisfied with the second place result. He lost to Brian Porter (Windsor) in the final 3-1 who is a tough customer with long reach and plenty of squash know-how. But John did beat 3 other Windsor players on the way to the final, all of them respectable opponents. [Pictured: John Rakolta and Brian Porter]

The Consolation Winners – Matt Hayduk took the honors in the 2.5 level with a solid 3-0 win over Tom Bergh. After Matt lost to a women in round 1 (sorry – couldn’t not mention that!) he went through the consolation without dropping another game. George Kordas took home the 4.5 consolation title beating Bobby Macedo (Life Time Fitness Rochester) 3-0. George won his semi 3-2 as did Bobby. (Bobby actually beat Scott Adlhoch 10-9 in the 5th!) Eric Green won the 5.0 cons with a solid 3-0 win over Mike Eugenio. Not taking anything away from Eric, but Mike may have been a little weary after winning his semi final 10-8 in the 5th earlier that morning.

The Social Life
No matter how well organized a tournament is, unless the social aspect is outstanding, the weekend falls flat. With the amount of non-members attracted to the club for the weekend, the DAC Classic doesn’t seem to have this problem. This event has found a working formula that I hope to keep concocting together year after year. I felt the addition of the players’ lounge where all the meals were served was a great success, and if you were in the court area on the Friday night at 11.30pm – as matches were still being played – you would have seen about 60 people lingering, drinking, and laughing, with no intention of going home. (Of course when the keg emptied, they had no choice!) The Saturday night dinner / dance saw 160 people dance to the beat of the live band “Bump”, and even though I crashed into bed shortly after 11pm that night, I know people must have had a great time as there were 2 casualties where players failed to reach the courts for their early morning matches. [Pictured above: The Dinner Party!]

So a HUGE thank you to all the sponsors and the players – you make the weekend what it is. Another HUGE thank you to my fellow DAC staff – I know the weekend can be a stressful for you as what it is for me. And now I look forward to next year and wonder how to tweak the formula a little to make the weekend even better… and then it hits me… I’ll buy a snow-blower!

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