Monday, October 31, 2011


Doubles Select – 2011

Thirty-four. That’s the largest amount of entries we have had into the Doubles Select Tournament since 2006 when we had thirty-six. It’s an interesting event where we pair up the top ranked player with the lowest, the second ranked player with the second-lowest and so forth. So far, in the 6 years of the event, we have not had one repeat winner. This year, however, the tradition was broken.

With the hardest and longest path to travel, Shail Arora and Bob Garvey unluckily were one of two pairs drawn to play a feed-in match. Since the bracket is completed by me randomly pulling teams out of a hat, it is literally luck of the draw. Shail and Bob were not deterred as they won their first two matches 3-0, then gutted out a ball-belting 3-2 victory against Sean Moran and Sante Fratarcangeli, and then repeated the feat with another 5-set win the semi final over Joe Moran and Tom McCarthy to reach the final. Both Bob and Shail have won this tournament before – albeit with different partners.

Meeting them there was Al and Al. That is, Al Rutledge and Alan Howard. The ‘Al’s’ had a somewhat easier time getting to the final dropping only 1 game in their first two matches and then getting helped along by an unfortunate forfeit in the semi final due to an injury to one of the opposing players. With Al R’s experience and Al H’s power, they looked to be a strong team to overcome in the final.

It was a close match although the game score doesn’t indicate it as such. The ‘Al’s’ had their chances too. A close first game had Shail and Bob taking it 15-12, but it was losing the second game that was the real kick in the stomach. The ‘Al’s’ were 2-0 in the tie-break – playing to 3 – and could not manage to seal the deal and instead of being 1-1 in games were suddenly 2-0 down with an enormous mountain to climb. It proved to be insurmountable, and Shail who is renowned for his speed around the court was not slowing down at all and continued to put pressure on his opponents in the front part of the court with his quick coverage. Of course, when you have a partner like Bob, who pushed them into the back court first with good length, it did make for effective team work.

Congratulations to Bob and Shail, and if they are so inclined, since they play so well together, the Doubles 100 tournament is coming up in January and they would qualify for that event too. Winning both hasn’t been done before…

Al Rutledge, Shail Arora, Alan Howard, Bob Gavey

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Boasters League round 4~~

Despite only playing two matches so far in round 4, “1st Place Lounge” has sprinted to the top of the standings from third spot a week ago. They in fact picked up more bonus points (9) than squash points (5) and lead the rest of the pack easily in that category. Their opponents last night was “O’Blivions” who are still struggling to play matches and have completed a league worst 33% of their games so far. The fact that they aren’t last is because they have collected 4 more bonus points than team “Vivio’s” that have only 8. That’s one bonus point less than what “1st Place Lounge” picked up last night alone.

Team “Anchor” has pulled themselves out of the cellar, more than doubling their point total from week 3 by playing a number of matches through the week. They still are a long way off the league leaders, but are inching their way closer.

We had a good crowd for round 4, the courts were full most of the night. There were a few close encounters to mention. Bob Rogers (“Anchor”) picked up his first win of the season with 15-14 in the 3rd victory over DJ Boyd (“Town Pump”). Bob’s team mate Peter Shumaker beat Anthony Fracchia 2-1 in a niggly match that featured a few too many ‘let’ calls but nothing that couldn’t be solved over a few beers afterwards, Josh Slominski (“Vivio’s”) handed Tom Healy (“Old Shillelagh”) his second consecutive 2-1 loss, and Glen Milligan (“Speakeasys”) grabbed his second victory for the season over Bob DuMouchelle (“The Tap Bar”) 2-1.

Not forgetting that we now award prizes to players of each level at the end of the season in March for the most points collected, some notable leaders in the “All Star” race are Ted Mabley (“Town Pump”) with 12 points who is one of only four players so far into double digits. The other three are Sante Fratarcangeli and Frank Giglio both from “1st Place Lounge” and Dane Fossee (“Old Shillelagh”) all with 10 points. It is of course still early, but it’s always easier to not to have to play catch-up.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


By now, most of you are aware of the major changes that have occurred with Michigan Squash over the past few months. If you are not, then below are some of the major changes listed:

·         New name. We were MSRA. We are now Michigan Squash.
·         New board members
·         New website. Go to
·         New logo
·         Once again realigned with US Squash
·         New travel league format

As a member of the board my opinion may be a little biased but nothing is perfect, it is still a work in progress and much work needs to be done. We have spent many hours in meetings overhauling just about every way the association operates. We believe we are heading in the right direction, prepared to make mistakes and correct them, and are always looking out for new ideas.

One of the ways we measure success is on how many members we have. Since we are realigned with US Squash, we now only count members who are US Squash registered. Before the change, we had approximately 90. At the time I am writing this, we have 147. That’s over a 50% increase in about 4 months. Naturally, we are pleased.

Nothing has undergone a transformation more that the travel league. I was rather skeptical whether the new system of playing on select Saturdays would attract enough teams to warrant a league at all, but to my surprise we have managed to put together seven teams in the 3.5 and another six in the 4.5 division. That’s 2 teams less than last year, but we are delighted to be able to run it. One of the positives to come out of this is the support from the major clubs in the area. Last season, BAC, DAC, Franklin and Windsor had 5 teams between them. This season they have 10. The biggest decrease is from the Life Time Fitness clubs, which was sort of to be expected with their very difficult (and inexplicable) guest policy and the fact that they cannot host any matches. They have 2 teams this season, hopefully something to build on for the future. We will see how the league format goes, I am sure we will run into little issues here and there and we will deal with as they come up, but our goal is to get players on courts. So far, it looks positive.

Another one of Michigan Squash’s goals is to increase participation in the state singles and doubles, skills and age, tournaments. The first of the season will be the Singles Age Tournament scheduled for November 17 – 21 at the DAC. Details will be coming shortly. If you think you would like to enter, there is no entry fee. However, you do need to be a registered US Squash member to play.

So please bear with us – we are doing what we can to improve and grow squash in the state. If you have any ideas / thoughts, do not hesitate to contact us. You can e-mail me or Michigan Squash directly at In the meantime, you can show your support by joining! Go to and for $80 a year, you will be doing squash in this state a great service.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Boasters League round 3 ~~

Looking at the standings we see a tale of two groups. The first group – the top 6 - is snuggling in close to each other and is jostling around amongst themselves, happy as pigs rolling about in slop. The second group – the bottom three – appears to be completely lost and hasn’t yet found where the courts are. Given, those three teams have all had a ‘bye’ week, but out of the two rounds they have played, two of the teams have completed only 7 matches, and the other six. I speculate it would be rather impossible to accumulate points without playing. And just because your team is called “Anchor”, does not mean you have to be wedged at the bottom.

The top 6 teams are obviously doing a better job. “Old Shillelagh” has played 22 matches - the most so far of any team – and la-di-da find themselves on top of the standings. In regards to leading the charge on the most bonus points collected, “1st Place Lounge” heads that category with 16, two more than the “Speakeasys”.

So far, the league looks to be very competitive. The majority of matches are ending up with a 2-1 score line (roughly 60% of the time) which means there aren’t many ‘easy’ wins out there and players need to be hitting the ball well every week to give themselves a chance. Good ol’ Irish luck is currently on the “Old Shillelagh” team with 16 of their 22 matches going 2-1 and they have won 12 of them!

Team “Jacoby’s” suffer through the ‘bye’ next week, but it really doesn’t have to hurt them at all if they start to make up some of their 17 matches they are yet to play from rounds 1 to 3. Sounds a lot, doesn’t it? Would it surprise you to know that that number is a fraction below the average?

Monday, October 17, 2011


The timing of this event may not have been the best. Running it on Friday after the Monday Night Football and then 3 consecutive Tigers playoff games was more bad luck than anything else. Since the schedule is done well in advance, we have to deal with what comes our way. The Blitz Tournament was played with only 14 people – the lowest total we’ve ever had.

Rich Stimson, Bob Rogers, Sante Fratarcangeli

The group play was still very competitive. Only one player went through undefeated – Josh Slominski – and every single player won at least one game and we had 5 games come down to a sudden death rally. None more memorable than the Chris Van Tol and Bob Rogers “rally”. It wasn’t dramatic for its length, or excitement, or spectacular shooting, but rather for the opposite reason. Bob did the unthinkable as he attempted to retrieve the serve and somehow allowed the ball to hit in the middle of the back! Not a scenario Bob wants to reminisce, and made all the more difficult to forget as I remind him here!

Since we only had 3 groups, we need 2 wildcards to advance to the knock-out finals. Straws were drawn between all the players who did not end up in the top 2 of their respective groups and the lucky winners were Alan Howard and Brian Schrage. Brian’s luck didn’t last long as he took a 6 point handicap into his first match against Josh but it wasn’t even nearly enough as he only won 2 rallies. Alan, however, faired a lot better. Taking again a 6 point handicap into his first match against DJ Boyd, it turned out that DJ actually needed the head start instead as Alan blasted his way to a 15-4 victory.

His next match was a lot tougher. This time giving up 5 points to Tom Fabbri, he had to earn every point but still managed to squeak past the veteran Handballer-turned-squasher 15-12 to find himself in the final. Meeting him there was Josh. Josh took out Sante Fratarcangeli in his semi 15-11 with only a 2 point handicap, one he probably didn’t need. 
Alan Howard and Josh Slominski (pre-match!)

Alan and Josh played each other in the group matches where Josh won easily 15-6 with a 6 point handicap. This time, they both played from scratch. It was the 7th game for each of them and to be honest Alan was looking a little worse for wear. No excuses however, Josh was on a roll anyway. He took the final 15-8, the result was never really in doubt. Sante ended up winning the 3rd / 4th playoff.

Even though it was a small event, it was still successful. Thank you to all the competitors, make sure you spread the word how much fun it was for the next one scheduled in March.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


This is more insensi-ball than incredi-ball, but this video (kindly forwarded to me by Jason Close) will make you wince. I fail to understand the point of it, but the next time someone hits you with a squash ball, be thankful it wasn’t from this guy.

If you have ever been hit by the squash ball off a full blooded swing, then you know the pain. The worst drilling I ever received was when I was a junior (decades ago!) and copped a backhand to the thigh that actually cut the skin. My opponent was barely 3 feet behind me and didn’t hold back. I remember it like it was yesterday, I thought he had broken my leg.

However, that pales in comparison to this. Australian Cameron Pilley, world number 16, recently broke the world record of the hardest hit squash ball which was held by John White at 172 mph. Pilley was clocked at 175mph. Now, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be hit by anything travelling at that speed, not even a nerf ball, let alone a squash ball.

Enter Pilley’s brother, Morgan.

Morgan volunteered to let Cameron hit the ball as hard as he could directly into the middle of his bare back from about 10 feet away. Errrr, what? Maybe Morgan is auditioning to be the new cast member for “Jackass”, or has suicidal tendencies, or simply wants a cheaper and easier way to get a tattoo, either way, it hurt me just watching it and I think my thigh bruised up as I cringed.

If you get a little queasy watching “Jackass”, then you may want to avoid clicking on the below link:

The lack of common sense here is palpable and obviously the question of “why would you do that?” comes to mind, but I would also be directing it at Cameron.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Not new to the DAC, but a new member to the DAC, this aspiring young squash player has been playing our annual tournament for the past few years. He was so impressed with the club, he had to join. Full of energy and enthusiasm, always smiling, he has his heart in the right place to. A Detroiter to the core, he dedicates himself to improving our city through his company, “Come Play Detroit”.

The Squash Joint (TSJ): I know you have been keen to join the DAC for a while, but what was it that gave you the opportunity to finally get on board? 

I had wanted to join the DAC ever since my first experience at the 2009 DAC Classic, but at the time I was working in Pleasant Ridge and living in Bloomfield Hills, so it just didn't make sense. Now that I have a company that is Detroit based and I moved to Midtown, I felt now was the time to make the DAC a part of my life, more than once a year (DAC Classic, haven't missed since '09).

TSJ: Tell us about your company, “Come Play Detroit”. How did you get it off the ground and running? 

In February of 2010, I saw that there was a lack of social offerings for young adults. I started up a men's basketball league with some friends via a Facebook group... 2 weeks later we had 10 teams. Then some girls I know said they wanted to do something and would like me to organize it, so once again I went to Facebook and asked "Ladies of Metro Detroit, what sports/games would you like to play!?", and the overwhelming response was for co-ed kickball. 26 teams and over 300 players later, I saw that there was something there... people WANTED to play, they WANTED to meet new people, there just weren't enough opportunities available. I left my job at ePrize to begin focusing on providing social offerings for young adults, and have recently began partnering with companies downtown to "activate their workforces", and show them that there are opportunities to have a dynamic lifestyle in Detroit, and that the city can be a lot more than just a destination for their work commutes. 

TSJ: Since “Come Play Detroit” is your full time employment, I am presuming your draw your income from it. How does it get funded? Are you constantly looking for sponsors and support? 

The business model for ComePlayDetroit is based off of Chicago Social, the largest social offerings company in the country. By bringing thousands of young adults together, typically 22-35 year olds, we have a niche market that many companies are looking to market towards. We depend on these sponsorships in order to provide the leagues at the lowest costs possible to the participants, as we realize how sensitive many people are to the price points. We have received support from over 50 local businesses, including restaurants, grocery stores, law offices, real estate companies, and we continue to receive a wide variety of new sponsors every session. 

TSJ: Would you rather have to live the rest of your life in a shack in the middle of the sweltering Sahara Desert or an igloo in the middle of the Antarctic? 

I would much rather live the rest of my life in an igloo in the middle of the Antarctic... I'm not a big fan of being really hot. As most of my squash opponents can attest, I'm a big sweater.

TSJ: Describe to us your ideal vacation. 

The dream vacation would be traveling the country to attend a baseball game in every stadium. 

TSJ: What long term goals do you have for your company? 

My long term goals for ComePlayDetroit is to become the go-to for anything fun and social in Detroit. Whether you are looking local parties, events, or to play in a local softball league. When you think fun, you think ComePlayDetroit! The impact I expect to have is to make Detroit a more attractive place for young adults to live, work & play. We need to retain and attract young talent, and the number one factor in young adults choosing where they want to live are the social offerings that are available (Soul of the Community, Knight Foundation).

TSJ: What are your personal goals with your squash? Do you see yourself playing this sport for the rest of your life (or as long as possible?) 

My personal goals with squash is to be able to be competitive in the 3.5/4.0. After pretty much dominating the 2.5/3.0 divisions for the DAC Classic and MSRA Skills, just through my athletic ability, I'd like to take my game to the next level. I definitely intend to play squash as long as my knees hold up... but I can already tell I'm getting older by the day (I'm 28, so don't feel too bad for me).

TSJ: Word association. Write down the first thing that comes to your mind when I say…

a.      Harry Potter… How old is Emma Watson now?
b.      The Royal Wedding… Overrated 
c.       New York Yankees… Overpaid
d.      Kwame Kilpatrick…  Shmuck
e.       Kentucky Fried Chicken… Popcorn Chicken
f.        Sports hero…  Hank Greenberg

TSJ: So far, what has been the most satisfying experience with your company? 

Being able to bring people together for fun experiences, and helping make Detroit a more attractive place for the next generation. I sell fun, how great is that!

TSJ: Without getting into too much politics, do you find it frustrating that the elected officials of the state struggle to get much done? Does it affect your business in any way, and does it make it difficult to keep motivated? 

It is definitely frustrating trying to have an impact on our community when our elected officials are too busy fighting among themselves. I have a non-profit organization, Detroit Harmonie, which has a variety of goals, but one of them is to put like minded people, that really understand what it is going to take to make a difference in Detroit, in positions to influence change. 

TSJ: Describe to us the worst date you have ever been on.  

Ha, well recently I had a girl tell me within 1 hour of our first date that she was diagnosed with clinical depression... and then on the 2nd date (yes, she was that hot that I took her on another date) she told me she thought she may be bi-polar. Still considering if I should take her on a 3rd date... 

TSJ: This final question is the one that will spark your mind and tingle the senses. It is also designed to embarrass you a little, but that’s no excuse not to answer it... What is your favorite time-wasting activity you do in order to get out of doing work?   

Facebook and Fantasy Sports.

I very much appreciate the time and honesty Justin spent in these answers. (And, since I had to edit his response to the final question, a little too honest at times!) With his boundless enthusiasm, I think his squash goals will be reached fairly rapidly and I’m sure his company will also benefit from his membership. We are lucky to have Justin in our DAC family.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Boasters League round 1~~

As you can see from the standings, the teams were named after bars in Detroit. While participation was relatively low considering it was the first round of the season, I wonder if any of the players mistakenly went to their team ‘bar’ instead of the DAC. No doubt, an easy gaffe to make.

The “Speakeasys” head into week 2 atop of the ladder and it’s simple to see why. They played 8 of their matches, won 4 of them, and had 9 players turn up for bonus points. Naturally, their opponents played 8 matches too – “Old Shillelagh” – but only had 6 bonus points. “The Tap Bar” also put a nice round behind them winning 5 of their 7 completed matches to go with their 7 bonus points.

The opposite end of the ladder, we see “O’Blivions” and “Vivio’s” who have already dug themselves into a hole. Only 2 matches were completed, and only 7 bonus points between them collected. “O’Blivions” also has the bye week in round 2 and will find they will have to play a lot of catch up all season if they aren’t careful. Team “Anchor” sits in 9th because they had the week 1 bye, but have 3 points since three of their players turned up for the Referee Clinic a couple of weeks ago.

There were many close results last night. None closer than Phil Pitters (“1st Place Lounge”) beating Sean Fossee (“The Tap Bar”) by one point in the 3rd game to take the 2-1 win. Paul Huth (“Jacoby’s”) continues to have Blake Ellis’ (“Town Pump”) number with his 4th consecutive victory over him, winning 2-1 as well. And a special mention to Chip McDaniel (“Jacoby’s”) who has not played a match for two and a half years due to work but has finally come back and joined the league as he somehow managed to beat Mark Monaghan (“Town Pump”) 2-1. Great effort!

The season is finally under way. Don’t let those uncompleted matches pile up on you, get them out of the way as soon as you can. The deadline to play them will be upon you faster than you think.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


September 29 – October 2, 2011

As the plane lifted off the runway in Baltimore Sunday afternoon, taking us back to the reality of life in Detroit, most of the Great Lakes Squash Team on board was probably fast asleep before the wheels even left the tarmac. With impish smiles on our exhausted faces, the light dreams no doubt drifted to the previous 4 days we had just spent tormenting our aging bodies…

The 2011 Great Lakes Squash Team consisted of 13 players from around the Detroit area. If they are anything like me, they would have been going over their squash matches in their minds. All the “could haves”, “should haves”, “would haves”, “why did I’s”, “if only’s” and “I can’t believe it’s” run through the brain and wishes of time machines and do-overs plague the disappointed. We matched up against the Naval Academy Squash Team in Annapolis on Friday afternoon (I’ll get to that in a minute), a day after arrival and a day after our first effort at emptying many of the downtown bars inventory. We failed at that task, but not without a decent attempt.

View from Sherwood Forest. Left to right: Jon Uffelman, me,
John McRoberts (BAC), Nick Peanutbuttersandwich (Windsor)

One of the finest pleasures of this trip is the luxury of being able to stay in Sherwood Forest, courtesy of BAC member Jon Uffleman, one of the main instigators of our excursion. It is a a charming community 20 minutes from Annapolis spread over the banks of the river. Views are nothing short of breathtaking, and when I woke up on Friday morning I did not even have to move my head – just open my eyes – to take in the spectacular panoramic sight of the water and surrounding islands. An early morning, two and a half hour jaunt on Jon Uffelman’s boat over the glassy waters was one of my highlights of the weekend, the fresh air, blue skies, the feeling of total relaxation was the flawless start to the day.

Before we tackled the cadets on the squash court, the day was spent enjoying the Sherwood Forest facilities. Eric “have-you-seen-my-sock” Green (DAC) and Jon Uffelman teamed up for a tennis match against Windsor’s Mark Eugeni and Nick Dimitrijevic. I believe Eric and Jon won the match, but really I wasn’t watching too intensely. It was then we hit the 9-hole golf course that snakes through the houses and streets. A terrifying prospect for anyone (such as myself) who is horrible at the sport. It doesn’t take much misdirection for the ball to find a house window, or a car, or a pedestrian. I only hit around the last 3 holes and managed to take out one gazebo, not a bad effort. Even Nick Digmeadeepditch, who had never played golf before swung the club a little, managed to hit the ball, but luckily missed everything else.

Winning the squash matches has always been a difficult mountain to climb for our team. The Navy Team is at least half our age, obviously fitter, faster, skinnier, nicer, and probably smarter too. The only thing we have going for us is experience. All 13 matches were played, however only the top 9 of them count towards the end result. It was a rough start. In the first round of matches, Peter Logan (DAC) and Casey Garwood (ex-DAC) won their matches 3-0 and 3-1 respectively, but we went down in the other contests. One of the strengths of the Navy Team is their depth. The top 5 to 6 players are really interchangeable, so for any of us to win, we needed to be absolutely on the top of our games. In the second round of matches, I ended up the lone victor. Even in the matches ranked 10 to 13, we lost all of those too. Final score: Naval Academy 6 – Team Great Lakes 3.

Normally we would have a second scrimmage on the Saturday morning, but because of the college football game starting at midday and all the lads wanting to start the tailgate at 10am, the squash was scrapped. There is nothing better than pulling oneself out of bed early in the morning after falling into it at 3am, just to get to a car park for the sole purpose of drinking some more. Like the troopers we are, we spent half the day between parked cars and barbeques, and the other half in town to continue our fitness regimen of endless bicep curls.

That night, to replenish our spent energy, four of us hopped in for a quick burger at a local deli. This deli is renowned for a particular food challenge. The challenge comprises of drinking a 6-pound milkshake and eating a 1-pound burger within 60 minutes. Just to give you an idea of how big this milkshake actually is, the table next to us ordered just the shake between 3 people. They couldn’t finish even half of it before they left and passed it on to us. The four of us couldn’t drink the rest of it either before we left and we passed it on to the next table. However, the story goes that Joey Chestnut (yes, that famous hot-dog-eating maniac champion ‘athlete’) took on the challenge and devoured both the shake and burger in 6 minutes. I suddenly, somehow, respect him more and less at the same time.

The trip was over. We had all given our best. And we all can’t wait for 2012. Hopefully by then we would have recovered. As a final note, I want to extend a mammoth thank you to Jon Uffelman – without him, his character, this experience wouldn’t be half of what it is and I doubt any of us would want it any other way. And another thank you to the rest of the team who mesh in such a way it really does make me feel I am part of something very special.

The 2012 Great Lakes Squash Team
Back row left to right: Mark Eugeni, me, Reilly Seidel (Toledo), Rob Graves (Franklin),
Nick Ihavethisnastyitch (Windsor), Eric Green (DAC), John McRoberts (BAC)
Brad Seidel (Toledo), Al Sprenger (Cleveland)
Front row left to right: Jon Uffelman (BAC), Peter Logan (DAC), Casey Garwood (ex-DAC), John Seidel (Toledo)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


The first of Windsor’s two tournaments is appropriately named the “Fall Down” Classic since is coincides with the season, and also the three tons of rotten leaves that accumulate on my lawn from my neighbor’s tree. From November 4-6, pencil it in your calendar to play some serious squash for that weekend. It’s pretty simple:

Step 1: Enter. You can do that by either letting me know and I can pass on your information to them, or even easier, you can call them yourself! Or, e-mail them. Or, send them a homing pigeon although I don’t recommend that too much. Smoke signals are not suggested either. Make sure you do it before the deadline.

Step 2: Take some lessons to sharpen yourself up for your upcoming matches!

Step 3: Get your first round time. Probably a good idea to do this before November 4. You can call them a couple of days before the start date to ask, or if I get them I will e-mail it to you (but don’t rely on that!).

Step 4: Turn up. Jump into your transportation vehicle of choice and make your way to the Windsor Squash Club which is less than 10 minutes from the tunnel. It’s very easy to get to. Just make certain that you do turn up before your match is scheduled to start.

Step 5: Play squash. This is the best part. Here, you get to hop on court and start smacking away at the black ball hoping to beat some other dude or dudess also smacking away at the black ball. You’ll get two matches minimum in the singles, so make sure you check your next match time win or lose.

Step 6: Enjoy. Self explanatory. There will be beer, friends, socializing, squash to watch, food… cannot go wrong here.

So, click on the poster above fall all the information and contact details. There are singles and doubles events to choose from. I plan on playing too, so I hope to see you many of you supporting this event along with me.

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