Monday, April 4, 2011


If you looked up “genuine” in the dictionary, you may find a photo of this fellow. Genuinely nice, genuinely friendly, genuinely kind hearted, he is also a very smooth looking squash player that appears to ‘float’ around the court. You would probably find his picture in the dictionary next to “calmness” too as never have I seen or heard him get his feathers ruffled.


The Squash Joint (TSJ): “You played squash in college which is unusual for a DAC member. Which college did you play for, how was the coaching, and did you really enjoy the experience?”

I did, it was a great experience. I played at St. Lawrence University. It is a small school in upstate New York, about 2 hours north of Syracuse. Like most people from the midwest, I had no idea what squash was until I showed up at the first practice. It was a new program, and still a club sport my first year, so they basically just needed a few extra people to make up a team. The following year it became a varsity sport and I was able to learn enough the first year to stay on the team. I was lucky to have Sasha Cooke as my coach for the first 3 years, he played hardball professionally in the 80's, and from what I understand was ranked as high as 14 in the world. It was like getting a lesson from you 5 days a week for 5-6 months out of the year. I can't imagine how much that would cost me now?

TSJ: “Give us your take on college squash and the complete domination of Trinity who just won their 13th National title in a row. While it is fantastic that the Trinity record brings recognition to the sport, is it a fair playing field?”

As you obviously know, college squash is very small sport in terms of the number of teams. I think there are currently about 60-70 teams in the country, but there is a big difference between the top 10-15 teams and everyone else, and then there is Trinity who are basically in a league by themselves. I have no idea whether or not everything they do is legal ( I have heard some rumors), but Trinity has done a great job recruiting around the world. When I played it was rare for them to have a U.S. born player on their team. We played their B team my senior year and I think we might have won 2 games out of 12 matches. It might not be fair for everyone else, because there are generally only a couple of teams who can even think about competing with them, but I don't see anything wrong with what they are doing. They have a great program, and it sets a benchmark for everyone else to try to reach.

TSJ: “You are by nature a pretty placid guy. (As far as I can see!) Do you think this negatively affects your squash game? Should you be more aggressive?”

Yeah I think it does at times, but it depends on who I am playing. Sometimes there is such a friendly atmosphere at the DAC it makes it hard to go out and try to crush someone like you would at a tournament, but generally once I know someone fairly well that doesn't bother me anymore. Once we are friends I have no problem trying to beat you 3-0. Remember that the next time we play Pontes! You are going down!

TSJ: “I break into your house, raid your fridge and turn on the TV. Which beer do I find, what channel is the TV tuned into and which movie do I find in the DVD player?”

Hmmm, well right now I think there are some Bells Brown Ale, but there are only 3 left, so try not to drink them all. You are probably going to have to fight my roomate for the remote, because there is a good chance he will be watching TV there already, and I think he secretly likes to watch Who's The Boss re-runs when I am not home, so you might be subjected to watching that. As far as movies go, the most recent one I have seen is the Social Network.

TSJ: “If I gave you front row seats to any sporting event in the world, which one would you choose?”

Can you get me inside the ropes of the final pairing on Sunday at the Masters or the US Open? I would love to follow around the leaders of any of the major tournaments for a full round. Normally you are lucky to catch a glimpse of them as they are walking by, golf is a tough sport to watch in person, so if you can get me inside the ropes I will take that. Otherwise, any World Cup match.

TSJ: “In your professional life, you are a florist. What exactly do you do and how did you get into the business? Don’t be afraid to give yourself a shameless plug here”

It is a family business. My grandfather started it in 1946. I never had any aspirations of being involved when I was growing up, but I have always had a great relationship with my parents and I spent a fair amount of time away from home during college and right after, that I thought it would be fun to get involved with them when I got back. There are so many things that go into keeping it running every day and every year. I try to get involved with as much of it as I can, but my main focus is on marketing, our website, and taking care of all the intangibles that are never ending. Basically, I kind of have to create my own niche and figure out what my parents are either not good at, or don't have time to do themselves.

Ok, here is my plug: The name of our shop is Conner Park Florist. We have 2 shops on the eastside, but deliver everywhere in Metro Detroit. I am not sure when this will be published, but if it is in April, then everyone should remember their secretary on April 27th!

TSJ: “I know that you volunteer regularly to help out with the “Racquet Up Detroit” urban squash program. What has been the most satisfying experience to date with working with the kids?”

Yeah, it has been a great experience. Probably the coolest thing I have noticed was just last week. The kids typically spend half of their 3 hours in the classroom and the other half on the squash courts. They have always been excited to play squash, but it was really great to see them so excited about being in the classroom, which was a lot different from when they started out. It is a really cool program. I would not be surprised if you see a couple of these kids playing for some of the top college teams in about 6 or 7 years.

TSJ: “Who is your all time favorite squash player, current or past?”

I would probably have to go with Jonathon Powers...Sorry Mick.

TSJ: “What was your favorite ‘Seinfeld’ episode?”

Hmmm. That is a tough one. It would have to be either the Soup Nazi, or the one where Kramer drives all the empty bottles to Michigan to get the deposit. I don't know what you would call that one?

TSJ: “What is the worst pick up line you have actually used on a girl and what happened?"

Hah. (I am laughing at myself here). I wish I could give you an interesting story, but I am not really into cheesy pick up lines, and I am not very good at making up stories. The best advice I have ever received is to keep it simple, if you ask, usually they will say yes. Just as long as you keep your target within reach.

TSJ: “What has been the best thing about joining the DAC?”

Well, I think it goes without saying the opportunity to meet so many great people is one of the best parts of belonging to the DAC, but after that I would have to say the men's locker room, and if we ever get more than 2 squash courts on the first floor than that will be my favorite part of the DAC.

TSJ: “For the final question, we delve deep into your psyche… Who is that one celebrity that you like and look up to but are a little embarrassed to normally admit it? Don’t be shy now…”

Well if you had asked me a couple years ago I would have said Tiger Woods, but that might not be the best choice these days?...Actually, maybe he could help me with my pick up lines.

So the next time you need a flower arrangement, don’t hesitate to give Andy a call. We thank him for his time in answering all the questions, and don’t be afraid to ask him for a game of squash – I am sure he would be more than happy to oblige. He currently plays in the number 3 position in the Boasters League and isn’t to be underestimated. Watch out for his forehand drop!

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