Monday, December 31, 2012

SQUASH SHOTS XIV

The “Mickies” Awards for 2012

It’s time for the much unanticipated and irrelevant “Mickies” Awards for 2012. As I look back at the fantastic year we had, all the laughs, the successes and heartbreaking failures, it gives me a reason to flip through all the photos I snapped of you, select the less than flattering ones, and splatter then mercilessly with sarcastic comments all over the internet. On top of that, winners don’t receive any prize except the fame and zero fortune you will receive for being published. Without further ado, I announce the lucky victors…

The “Eyes Wide Shut” award goes to… Don Eugenio and Dan Follis!

Naturally there is no better way to prepare for a doubles match than sleeping. Conserving energy is an important skill to be a successful player and no one does that better than Don and Dan. And not just off the court either, as on the court they are equally adept! Experience is something you cannot be taught, and I’m sure the two are also visualizing (dreaming?) their upcoming contest, perfecting their strategies and thinking up classic one-liners to throw at each other when one of them makes an error.

The “Oh where, Oh where is Ginger Bear?” award goes to… Ken MacDonald!

Tragically, the DAC squash family lost one of its most beloved members. No, no, Ken MacDonald didn’t die, he decided the grass would be greener (and more mountainous, scenic, prosperous, relaxing, safer, better) in some God forbidden place called “Colorado”. (Anyone ever heard of it?) How anyone can say ‘good-bye’ to Detroit and venture away from this paradisiacal kingdom is a mystery more baffling than the Bermuda Triangle. One thing we know for sure, is that he will definitely miss the Detroit Athletic Club since there is no comparison anywhere to be found.
  
The “Fashion Faux Pas” award goes to… Sante Fratarcangeli!
 
Much has already been mentioned about Sante’s choice of squash attire. How he thought of the inside-out tracksuit pants can probably be attributed to a heavy night on the town in a foggy moment of pure cluelessness. Maybe he was attempting to set a new trend among his fellow players – which by the way we are all very thankful it didn’t catch on – or it was possibly an innocent mistake of putting them on inside-out without realizing. Either way we can thank our lucky stars his ‘mistake’ was not wearing his underpants on the outside in an attempt to emulate Superman.

The “This Isn’t So Hard” award goes to… Anil Kathuria and Elliot Shafer!

In a moment of enlightenment, Elliot and Anil decide to put together a pre-Thanksgiving tournament with one week’s notice. A wonderful gesture to take on all the organizational work required, however it was quickly apparent that they did not realize what they were getting themselves into. I have never spent so much time organizing an event I had virtually nothing to do with. Despite the headaches it created for the pair, the attempt of running a squash tournament during one of the busiest catering times of the year, the lack of court availability, the event went swimmingly well. They truly did a magnificent job. I for one am thankful that now at least a couple of members experienced what I go through every event.  But let’s see if they take on this task next year…




Thursday, December 27, 2012

HERE COMES THE CLASSIC

DAC Squash Classic Feb 14-17

Yes, yes, if you are reading this, you can now enter the 2013 DAC Squash Classic. And, if you have no doubt that you want to play, do it immediately. Don’t wait. Last year, we reached registration capacity 10 days before the set deadline. I expect this year will not be any different. In fact it may fill up even quicker. Many hotel rooms have been reserved already, and I have received numerous requests about the tournament. The legend of this event is spreading.

By now, most of you know how this works. We offer 7 singles categories: 2.5; 3.0; 3.5; 4.0; 4.5; 5.0; 5.5 and 3 doubles categories: A; B; C. You are allowed to enter a maximum of 2 events, but do so at your own peril. Remember, entering 2 singles categories will get you at least 4 matches, and if you are (un)lucky enough to win a few of them you could be like a couple of players over the past years that play 10! Also, the DAC Classic is known for the socializing. Commonly the socializing hampers the ability of some to fulfill their 2 category obligation and forfeits are unwittingly awarded which leaves the opposing player with a bad taste in their mouth – something we absolutely would like to avoid.

So, if you do enter 2 categories, please do so with the knowledge that you are expected to play all of your matches. Even if it is scheduled for 8am Sunday…

Here are the most significant details that everybody must adhere to and accept when entering:

  • Maximum 32 players in any on singles category
  • Maximum 16 teams in any one doubles category
  • Any player entering the ‘A’ doubles is NOT permitted to play the ‘C’ doubles regardless of partner. In layman’s terms – no sandbagging.
  • Minimum 2 matches per singles draw
  • Minimum 1 match per doubles draw
  • Walkovers / forfeits count a match
  • Maximum 145 entries for the entire tournament.
  • Minimum age to enter the tournament is 13
  • All singles matches is PAR to 11 scoring
One more essential point – we do not have referees for the matches. Players are on their own. We expect that all players will be fair and conduct themselves accordingly in regards to interference situations on court. Any disagreement should result in a compromise. We have not used referees for 9 years – and we have had hardly any issues. Let’s keep it that way.

The popularity of the DAC Classic has also created the need to offer a ‘spouse’ rate. This rate is only for the spouse (or partner) of an entrant that will not be playing in the tournament but will be present for the weekend and wishes to join in on all the meals and the Saturday night dinner / dance. The rate will be $85. You will not find the item on the entry form, please just let me know when entering that your better half will be accompanying you.

Match times. Because of the limited amount of court space we have and the fact that we max it all out, you MUST make yourself available for the following times throughout the weekend. Once the first round times have been sent out, changes will not be made – it will be up to you to arrange your schedule accordingly:

For players in the Detroit area – including Ann Arbor, Lansing, Toledo, Windsor:

  • Thursday, February 14 between 4pm and 11pm
  • Friday, February 15 between 3pm and midnight
  • Saturday, February 16 between 8am and 8pm
  • Sunday, February 17 between 8am and 4pm 
For all other players:

  • Friday, February 15 between 3pm and midnight
  • Saturday, February 16 between 8am and 8pm
  • Sunday, February 17 between 8am and 4pm
If you are from London and you can play on Thursday, please let me know. This will help me avoid arranging first round matches with your fellow club members. (It may be unavoidable anyway, but it still helps.)

Finally, take a moment to read through the list below- it is because of these very generous members that the DAC Classic runs at the elite level it can. Without their support, we’d just be another tournament. Please thank them if / when you meet them at the event:

  • Skidmore Inc – Patrick Petz
  • Smith Barney – Sean Moran
  • Advanced Voice and Data Solutions – Anil Kathuria
  • Corbet, Shaw, Essad, Tucciarone, Bonasso – Bruce Shaw
  • SVS Vision – Ken Stann
  • Metropolitan Baking – George Kordas
  • AARO Companies – Tom Fabbri
  • Adlhoch and Associates – Scott Adlhoch
  • Outrigger Imaging – Joe Schaden 
As mentioned above – do not hesitate. If your category is full – or the tournament has reached capacity - you will be placed onto a waitlist. Entry will ONLY be accepted with payment. You can e-mail me, snail mail me, call me. On-line registration is not possible. We accept credit card, check. (Or member number for DAC members). If you need me to e-mail you an entry form, just ask! Registration deadline is February 1 (or until capacity has been reached – which is more likely).

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

THE SQUASH POET #11

Did you receive everything you wished for on Christmas morning? Don’t you find it gets harder and harder year after year not only to find gifts for your loved ones but also to figure out what you want yourself? My wife asked me multiple times what I would like, and I couldn’t think of one single thing. Lucky for me, she figured out some stuff and I ended up with a nice little swag in the end. This poem was posted on the squashsite.com forum a few years ago. The Squash Poet was rather specific in his wishes, however it appears Santa couldn’t be so accommodating…

Oh! Magical Santa with beard so white
Come down my chimney on Christmas night
You possibly can’t get my gift-list wrong
I’ve been so nice the whole year long
I picked up my socks, I drank a bit less
I told my wife she looked thin in that dress
Just one little gift, nothing more, and then
I’ll never ask for another ever again!

The Squash Poet


"Twas the Night After Christmas"

‘Twas the night after Christmas, and I’m standing on court,
Eager to try out what Santa had brought.
I sent him a letter of the one thing I request,
Sent it one-hundred times so he wouldn’t forget,
And just to be sure that he knew what it be,
I told him many times more when I sat on his knee,
And I prayed really hard every night for a year,
Sure that this one thing would ignite my career.

So, I’m alone on the ‘T’, not a sound can be heard,
Just moments away to have my wish answered,
I feed myself the ball with a casual fling,
And pull back my racquet and get ready to swing,
I hit the ball hard with all of my might,
But missed with the strings and hit with graphite,
The air went from my lungs as I committed the sin,
And watched the ball crash loudly in the middle of the tin,

I tried it again and again, the result was the same,
How could I possibly keep hitting the frame?
The sound of the tin kept echoing through,
Nothing had changed, I could see that was true!
Through my tears and my moaning, I felt so dismayed,
How could Santa do this, I felt so betrayed!
For the one thing I wished for turned into disaster,
All I wanted was to be made into the squash master!

Was it possible that Santa couldn’t fit it in his sack?
He seemed to have space for my 5-underwear-pack,
But alas, I feared, it was never meant to be,
Asking Santa wasn’t the path to squash glory,
So I’ll enjoy Christmas as it is and hope you all do the same,
And accept that just being nice won’t improve my game,
But there are more ways than one, and I’ll find a way,
And since Christmas won’t work, I’ll wish it for my birthday!


The Squash Poet

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

THE INCREDI-BALLS - TAKE 6

Purely Astonishing

You may or may not have seen this. It has been making the rounds on social media ever since it spawned from a match between Egyptians Ramy Ashour and Mohamed El Shorbagy during the recent PSA World Championship in Qatar. Even if you have seen it, it is worth a least another look or two. And I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share it with you all.

Let me set the scene: Ashour and Shorbagy are playing the final of the 2012 PSA World Championship. Ashour has won a world title before and at the tender age of 25 can almost be considered a veteran. His rise to the top of the rankings was meteoric. He joined the tour in November 2004, was in the top 50 within 12 months, the top 10 a year after that and, was ranked number 1 for the first time in December 2010 and will once again regain that ranking come January.

Shorbagy is almost just as impressive. Currently only 21 years old, he joined the tour in ’06. It took him just over 2 years to reach the top 50, before getting into the top 10 in September 2010. He has yet to break into the top 5, but will do just that come January. Wise beyond his years, he beat the current world number 1 James Willstrop in the semi final of this tournament 11-8 in the 5th in 124 minutes. Previous to this match, Shorbagy has played Ashour twice on tour, losing 3-0 on both occasions.

Now, on the biggest squash stage in the world, in the biggest, most important match of the year, during the PSA World Championship final, this rally happened. The score was 2 games to 1 for Ashour and 9-9 in the fourth game. There could hardly be any more pressure in this situation. Ramy is 2 points from winning his second world title and rather than go defensive, Shorbagy decides to throw all caution to the wind and produces this gem of a rally:
  
To play a back-corner-between-the-legs-forehand-drop in this situation left me speechless. The finishing kill shot was the strawberry on top of what must be one of the best rallies I have ever seen. Even for the fact that Ramy returned the drop amazed me too! I hope the IOC was watching.

Shorbagy ended up winning the fourth game but lost the fifth 11-8. The match took 90 minutes. I doubt this was his last PSA World Championship final. Another Egyptian has risen to the top. I can assure you, there are more where he came from. Scary thing is, it’s many more.

Monday, December 17, 2012

DOUBLES CENTENARIANS

Doubles 100 Tournament~~

… 98… 99… 100! Ah! Just completed my set of 100 sit-ups for the day. For some reason, the number ‘100’ is a popular benchmark. NFL running backs are considered to have good day if they rush for at least 100 yards, a lot of rankings come in ‘top 100…’, my wife won’t consider playing the lottery unless the prize is at least 100 million dollars (as if we couldn’t live on less). It seems that just because it is the first 3-digit number, it is far superior than 99. Oh poor, forgettable 99. Forever looked down upon as the underachiever.

… 98… 99 …100! That was my set of push-ups. Anyway, speaking of 100, it is your task to venture out and find yourself a doubles playing partner that together your ages will be at least 100 years old. Not 99, because it only has 2 digits, but 100. Then with your winning combination of experience and youthful exuberance, just let me know if you wish to play in the A or B category.

All matches will be best of 5 games, knock-out draw with no consolation. Each match will have a deadline for completion and it will be your task to get that match in within time given or risk a default. Be prepared to be flexible with your time and respect your fellow member’s schedules. There is a lot more court usage going on so you will need to contact each other early to make sure you can book the time you prefer. If you plan on being away for a couple of weeks between January and March, then my suggestion would be to sit this one out.

And please, when you enter, do so with a partner. Entering a doubles tournament as an individual doesn’t quite work. So start researching, and strive to reach the ‘100’ milestone. Entry deadline is Friday, January 4. The draws will be released on Tuesday, January 8. The winners of each category will receive a personalized shirt.

So, without further ado, back to my daily exercises. Now, chin-ups. 1… 2… 3…

Friday, December 14, 2012

SIMPLY SPECTACULAR

The Stars of the Show - David Palmer and Thierry Lincou
Superlatives continue to fly. And they will continue to be thrown around for while to come. When you have two legends of the game, players who have graced the pinnacle of the sport, present a show in front of 100 plus members of the caliber that left all of us in complete astonishment, admiration and many times bewilderment, one cannot help but feel inspired. David Palmer and Thierry Lincou proved to all of us how squash can be art, a dance, an amusement, a gladiatorial combat, and a pure entertainment spectacle all rolled into one.

Leading up to that big moment, we also had a number of member matches going on. – 17 of them. I split the players onto two teams: “Palmer’s House of Pain” and “Lincou’s Larrikans”. In the grand scheme of things, the results of the matches didn’t mean anything, the winning team didn’t receive a prize and the losing team wasn’t punished. But that didn’t stop anyone from busting a lung or two from trying to win. We had four matches stretch into the 5th game and seven matches go 3-1.

Anil Kathuria signed up for double duty. His first match was just a warm-up as he took the 3-0 win before he hopped back on court with Chuck Doyle. (Chuck’s initial opponent cancelled last minute.) Chuck pushed him the entire way and one would think a 5-setter would suit the fresher player, but Anil found his way to the finishing line first to take the victory. It is Anil’s 5th win in a row over Chuck, so possibly a mental edge made the difference. Chip McDaniel battled his way to a 3-2 triumph over Joe Schaden, a tough win no doubt and it always looks as if Chip is about to keel over at match end. Somehow he avoids collapse long enough to grab a beer which seems to suddenly revive him.

The closest match of the evening was between Sante Fratarcangeli and David Devine. These two have developed a healthy love-love-relationship which manifests itself in back-and-forth in e-mails taking pot-shots at each other. It’s trash talking at its finest and on court they want nothing more than to destroy the other. They almost achieved in destroying themselves as the match was decided in a 5th game tie-break with Sante sneaking out a 13-11 win. David looked a lot like Chip did after the match, as if he’d been run over by an 18-wheeler. Naturally, it wasn’t anything a couple of quick trips to the keg couldn’t fix. Sante of course pronounced that the result was never in doubt.

Just for the record, Lincou’s Larrikans won the Hops Challenge 10 matches to 7. It was time for the big boys.

The feedback I have been receiving has all been exceedingly positive. It’s interesting to see member’s perspective once they have witnessed squash at this level for the first time. The main theme I hear: “control”. And it’s not just ball control. Which, by the way, is borderline inhumanly consistent. The ability to still hit tight and accurate even when the body is deformed and twisted into cringe worthy uncomfortable angles defies logic. Surely they are contortionists as well. Which leads to the next type of control: body control. How in the name of all that is holy, do they maintain the balance when they are in such situations? How do they manage to turn blind, reach out like Stretch Armstrong, lunge that low, get their racquet underneath the ball that should have bounced three times by now, and still flick the wrist and either hit a perfect drop, a beautiful lob so high that the ball comes down with ice crystals, a trickle boast, or against all laws of physics – a cracking length?

Post-match Q and A
David and Thierry put on a production. We saw the squash in all dimensions. The already mentioned control; the incredible touch; the blinding pace; lightning reactions; implausible angles; mind-blowing nicks; squash not just up, down and sideways, but it also seemed to transcend time. It was exhibition squash as you’d expect it to be: trick shots, humorous banter, ridiculous winners. They played 4 games, winning 2 games apiece. We would have liked a fifth, but to be fair the 3rd game was 21-19 so they really did play 2 games in one for that!

At the conclusion of the match, the players took time in for a Q and A session with the spectators – a lovely touch. They then mingled in with everyone drinking a few beers and meeting and greeting as many as possible. We could not have planned the event any better.

A huge thank you to Joe McManus – PST commissioner – for setting this up for us. One of the main reasons for it was to promote the PST World Championship that we will be hosting May 3-5, 2013. We are privileged to be running this event until at least 2015. We hope this got you excited. By the reaction so far, I am sure it did – and I can promise you the squash will be even more spectacular when they play for the real thing in six months!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

PIPPED AT THE POST

Boasters League first half final standings~~

Persistence paid off. This is a perfect example of the value of an active captain. Going into the final week, “Winky-Dinks” were 13 points behind the league leading “Butter Nutz” who had occupied that spot since round 4. A determined Justin Winkelman then not only started to e-mail his own team to get matches completed, but also the opposing players to play as well. Now, that’s not to say that other captains weren’t active. Sante Fratarcangeli was also a great communicator with his “Butter Nutz” team, and a major reason they did very well this half season, but Justin has raised the bar.

That one point loss will be a bitter pill to swallow for Sante and his team, which should make the second half even more competitive. When these two teams played each other this half, “Butter Nutz” won 28-25, a close result no doubt. So has a rivalry been created here? And what about Patrick Petz and his team “Mercedes”? He always seems to be lurking nearby and his 3rd place finish won’t satisfy him much so we can anticipate better performances come January.

As for the teams that finished 5th -9th , they were miles behind the top four and will need to turn themselves around to have any chance of making a statement for the finals in March. An energetic captain makes all the difference – pushing their players to get on court, to turn up for the bonus point, to communicate and be positive. Your players want to know they are part of a team.

The half season statistics reflect rather accurately the final standings:

  • Overall, 76% of the matches were completed. One of the highest half season percentages ever.
  • Round 2 had 88 ½ % of matches completed, or 46 of 52 matches.
  • Butter Nutz” played the most matches completing 87% of them. “Winky-Dinks” completed 86%
  • On the other end of the scale, “WallEED” completed only 69% of their matches.
  • Destiny” had the lowest match completion with 66%.
  • Butter Nutz” also had the best winning percentage with 60%. “Mercedes” also had 60%. “Winky-Dinks” won 55% of their matches.
  • The lowest winning percentage was 38% by “Mongoose”.
  • Overall, 57% of the matches ended up with a 2-1 score.
  • The reason “Winky-Dinks” still ended up on top? Bonus Points. They accumulated 74 of them at an average of over 9 per week – a remarkable achievement. That’s fifteen – yes, 15 – better than the next best “Butter Nutz”.
  • Destiny” picked up the least amount of bonus points with 28. In week 5, only 1 player of the team turned up. (It was Halloween mind you. “Foss-ters” didn’t have any player show that night, “Winky-Dinks” had 9.)
  • Eight players picked up all 8 bonus points.
  • 26 players completed all 8 matches. That, I think, is a record.
  • Only one player played all 8 matches and went undefeated – Hans Flick (“Destiny”). He scored over 18% of his team’s total.
Not that the league is supposed to be an individual one, we do reward the best point getters at each level for the entire October – March duration. We call these players the “All Stars”. At the half-way mark, below are the 13 players who currently lead their level. As teams will be rearranged for the second half, anyone moving up or down will carry their first half points with them to add to the second half. Scores include all bonus points as well.

Hans Flick

  1. Manny Tancer (“Winky-Dinks”)
  2. Al Iafrate (“Winky-Dinks”)
  3. Sante Fratarcangeli (“Butter Nutz”)
  4. Greg Baker (“Winky-Dinks”)
  5. Tom Healy (“Winky-Dinks”)
  6. A 3-way tie! Chuck Doyle (“Butter Nutz”); Dane Fossee (“Foss-ters”); JB Peabody (“Mercedes”)
  7. Elliot Shafer (“Vivio’s”)
  8. Brian Bartes (“Destiny”)
  9. Ted Morris (“Wardogs”)
  10. Tom Delaney (“Winky-Dinks”)
  11. Tom MacEachern (“Mercedes”)
  12. Chris Moyer (“Butter Nutz”)
  13. Hans Flick (“Destiny”)
The second half will start on January 9. All teams start from scratch and will be fighting for the 6 play-off spots, meaning the bottom 3 teams will be eliminated. I was very pleased with the attendance for the first half and hopefully we can keep the momentum rolling.

Monday, December 10, 2012

TWAS 18 NIGHTS BEFORE CHRISTMAS…

And no one cared win or lose, all the eager squash players, just wanted to booze… Well, I’m partially right. I’m sure many were also here to play some squash which was the reason for the festive gathering in the first place. The 9th annual Holiday Tournament got underway on Friday, December 7 with 16 participants fighting over the order they were to choose their gift from the offerings. The sooner you pick the better chance of getting some much desired Christmas ‘spirit’!

Patrick Petz and Sante. Damn ugly elves...
This year we must have had the widest range of standard so far. From Derek Aguirre who is about a 5.0 player to beginners. I do have to make special mention to Allie Penz and Margi Scholtes who have only been playing for a very short period of time but have decided to jump into such events head first. It can be rather intimidating – but nothing a bottle of wine couldn’t solve, huh ladies? Rest assured, you are a very welcome addition.

A big part of this event is luck of the draw. The first round is completely random, so anyone can literally play anyone else. Sante Fratarcangeli was feeling pretty good about his early rounds performances after winning his first 2 matches 2-0, then tying with Rich Stimson 1-1. He was sitting pretty in second place at this stage. Unfortunately, for his final match he had to play Derek. He put up a valiant effort, played some fine points but Derek was simply too tough and steady and took the 2-0 win. The result pushed Sante from outright second to equal 3rd with 4 other players.

One of the most improved players this year has been Elliot Shafer. A strong lad that appears to have fallen victim to a squash addiction – so much so that he organized his own tournament (with Anil Kathuria) at Thanksgiving  - his consistent playing is paying off for him. Elliot had 2 tough matches to start off – one with Patrick Petz and one with Rich Stimson. Not even 4 months ago, one wouldn’t have thought twice about who would win these match-ups, but not anymore. Elliot tied 1-1 with both of them.  

Dane Fosse and Elliot Shafer

Another quick improver this year has been Elliot’s practice buddy, Dane Fossee. Dane’s path for this event was a little easier to start off. He won his first 2 matches 2-0 before having to endure the wrath of Derek in his third match. For his final match, he had to play Elliot. Dane has the advantage of knowing Elliot’s game well. It was one of the best matches of the evening as both players extended the rallies with great retrievals. Justifiably, it ended in a 1-1 tie and both players earned a third place.

We also saw the classic Petz-Stimson match for round 4. The rivalry tends to make both players step-up their game a little which would have been tough to do after a couple hours of drinking. Rich Stimson got the better of Patrick this time around with a close 2-0 victory.

The gift choosing went swimmingly well. All but 2 of them were alcohol, one of them being a handful of worker’s tools which fell into Allie’s hands at the end. Not sure how gifted she is with a hammer, but if it is anything like me it will spend the majority of its existence in the darkness of the basement. There is no new items to add to the ‘banned substances’ list this year, but there is a couple of things to add (or start) a ‘do not’ list.

  1. Do not ask the squash pro to ‘take care’ of the gift for you. It is not my job to gather and wrap your entry. If you don’t have “time” to get the gift yourself, I am sure you have a secretary or wife to do it for you. (I am, believe it or not, neither of those things.)
  2. Do not turn on your cell phone to play Christmas carols during the event, and then lock it so no one can turn it off. Tunes with jingle bells in them should be forbidden. I would like to thank Mike McCuish who wrapped up the phone in a couple of towels and put it aside to save us from its merciless torture worse than a knife to the head. I am all for Christmas spirit, but ‘pa-rum-pa-pa-pum’ and ‘come all ye faithful’ have no business at a squash tournament.
So the final standings for this year’s Holiday Tournament are as follows:
1stDerek Aguirre – 8 points
2ndRich Stimson – 6 points
3rdSante Fratarcangeli; Chuck Doyle; Dane Fossee; Elliot Shafer; James Van Dyke – 5 points

Thank you to all who participated!
 
The Christmas Crew!


Friday, December 7, 2012

CAN WE STOP THE FARRIS CUP BLOODBATH?

Farris Cup. Sat, Jan 5 at the DAC ~~

The last two meetings of the Farris Cup have ended rather badly for the DAC team. There are many words to describe the defeats we have endured: “annihilation”; “slaughter”; “obliteration”; “extermination”… You may think that’s a slight exaggeration, but considering we have only won 6 matches and lost 24, it’s not far off. Will 2013 be any different?

The BAC has been turning out in force. For the first 6 meetings, the shoe was squarely and snug on our foot. We won 5 of them.  But since then, the BAC has ramped up the volume, hitched up the shiny white shorts, curled up the lip, and taken on the attitude to kick our tushies into the tombs of nothingness. And, quite frankly, they have.

The date is set for Saturday, January 5. Matches will be schedule to start at 9.15am at the DAC. Playing on our home courts is definitely an advantage and we need all the help we can get. Our team has been determined from the winners and finalists of the 2012 club championships. On paper, we look pretty solid. Obviously it will depend on the line-up from the BAC whether we can rise from the ashes. I encourage you to come on down and cheer on our team – I am sure the home crowd advantage wouldn’t go astray either.

At the completion of the matches, there will be a coat and tie luncheon for the players where we will have the presentation of the Farris Cup. If you would like to join us for lunch, please let me know. There is a $15 ++ cost.

The Farris Cup was created in honor of John C. Farris who passed away in 2004. He wasn’t just a member of both the DAC and BAC, he was a tenacious promoter and ambassador of the sport as well.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

TOO LITTLE TOO LATE

Boasters League round 8~~

With one week to go before the half way mark, the only changes to the standings came from the bottom four teams. “Destiny” decided to put up their best showing all season picking up 25 points that included 9 bonus points (3 more than their next best effort). They played the “Wardogs” last night who are third, and with 10 of 13 matches completed, beat them. It just goes to show the real parity of the league if everyone starts to turn up and play. In fact, of those 10 matches, 9 of them went 2-1. “Destiny” was rewarded by jumping clear of the cellar to 7th place. If only they had this commitment from week one.

Vivio’s” also moved up one spot from last round to 6th and are closing in on “Mongoose” who only picked up 5 points last night – all bonus points. In all likelihood they will catch “Mongoose” who have the round 9 bye and need to rely on makeup matches from here on in.

Losers in the standings were the idle “Foss-ters” who only picked up 6 points in the past 14 days, and “WallEED” who matched their season low 3 bonus points and have only 2 results in for the round. These 2 teams play each other next week, it will be interesting to see how many of them grace the court.

There were many 2-1 results this week. JB Peabody (“Mercedes”) and Chuck Doyle (“Butter Nutz”) looked like they played 17 games instead of 3, as bodies were doubled over, leaning on walls, and sitting on floors. Chuck took the honors in that contest. Josh Slominski (“Butter Nutz”) got past one of his nemeses Tom Fabbri (“Mercedes”) 2-1; Nick Petcoff (“Wardogs”) picked up his first victory of the season 2-1 over Dan Honer (“Destiny”); and Tom Delaney (“Winky-Dinks”) fought through for his 4th win of the half over Bill Seymour (“Vivio’s”).

There is 8 days to go before the deadline. I am sure to be asked to extend it, but please save yourself the e-mail. December 7 is the day. No excuses. Don’t forget I will be adjusting the teams at the half way mark based on your first half results. Get cracking. There are plenty of matches to be done. Mathematically, any team can still end up on top of the standings by next Friday… the odds of some of those teams doing so are probably similar to last night Power Ball… can’t believe I didn’t win that…

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

HOPS CHALLENGE GOES PROFESSIONAL

Hops Challenge – Dec 12. Matches start at 5pm.

If this doesn’t get you excited about squash, you need to take ‘excitement’ lessons. It won’t get any better than this. This year, the Hops Challenge (formerly known as the “Beer Challenge”) will treat you to a squash match that will leave your jaws dropping, drool dripping, tongues hanging, and reaching for the thesaurus to describe what you will witness.

Before I announce who the mega-stars will be, this event is for everyone. If you register, I will organize you a match. Last year we had almost 30 players, so feel free to join in on the excitement. Of course the keg will be available, and once all the matches are completed, I invite you to park yourself outside court 7 for the performance of a lifetime!

“Let’s get ready to rummmmmmbllllle….!”

In the right corner, weighing in at approximately 200 lbs with a presence that makes you want to bow down and plead for mercy, originally from the harsh outback plains of Australia where he wrestled crocodiles and boxed kangaroos for party tricks, coming in with a career record that questions whether he is really human, the forehand-driller-killer, the grander-squash-commander…. DAVID – “this-T-isn’t-big-enough-for-the-two-of-us” – PALMER!!
And…

In the left corner, weighing in at lean but solid 160 lbs, with a coolness and calmness that would soothe even the most violent of Hollywood Housewives, originally from France mixed in with more parts of the world than most people can think of and some we have never heard of, coming in with a career record that would pop your eye-balls right out of your skull, the speed-racer-ball-chaser, the Evel-Knievel-of-ball-retrieval…. THIERRY – “je-ne-sais-quoi” – LINCOU!!

These two have been ranked number one in the world and have recently battled it out on the PST tour with constant down to the wire results. Make sure you watch every moment of this very special treat! Your Christmas has come early! Not only is the keg for free but there isn’t a charge to watch the match either. Bring your DAC friends, be loud, and let’s pack the bleachers.

 
If you wish to have a match before the grand finale, registration deadline is Monday, December 10. Matches will start around 5pm, but possibly earlier depending on numbers. The pro match will be scheduled around 7.30pm to start. If you do not wish to play, come down anyway before you kick yourself for missing the best squash in the world.

Friday, November 16, 2012

MUCH OF THE SAME

Boasters league round 7~~

Once again there is little change to the standings after week 7. “Mercedes” was one of two teams that made a positive move jumping up one spot to 4th. The other team was “Vivio’s” who catapulted themselves from 8th to 7th moving ahead of the stationary “WallEED”. Last placed “Destiny” inched closer to that 8th spot but it does appear they are fated to stay there.

Butter Nutz” yet again set the example to the rest of the league that it’s all about playing matches. With 8 of 13 of them completed this round (against last placed “Destiny”), winning 6 of them, and collecting 7 bonus points, they increased their lead on top of the standings to 17 points. “Winky-Dinks” tried to keep pace but playing only 6 matches won’t cut it. With 2 rounds to play for this half, it is tough to bet against “Butter Nutz” from staying on top.

There were many close matches on Wednesday. Brien Baker (“Vivio’s”) put an end to Paul Ward’s (“Wardogs”) undefeated streak taking him 2-1; Sante Fratarcangeli (“Butter Nutz”) held off fellow captain Joe Bobzin (“Destiny”) 2-1, which was Joe’s first match of the season so hopefully he will be able to squeeze in the rest of them very quickly; Al Iafrate (“Winky-Dinks”) enjoyed his day at the office and showing off his improved court movement taking down Patrick Petz (“Mercedes”) 2-1; and Hans Flick (“Destiny”) managed to sneak over Kevin Prather (“Butter Nutz”) 2-1 to keep his winning record intact at 4 and 0.

The deadline to play all of the matches is December 7. Everybody can ‘rest’ up next week as the league takes a turkey break and Thanksgiving takes over our lives for a couple of days. But it will be best opportunity for you all to get some much needed make up matches completed. Once the first half is done, I will be looking over everybody’s win / loss record and make some adjustments by moving players up or down. The goal is to make the league as competitive as possible and while I will do my best to keep you on your current team, some “trading” will be inevitable. All teams will start at scratch for the second half.

Don’t forget that I also track everybody’s individual total points. At the end of the season the “All Star” team will be announced. The All Star team consists of the highest point getters from each level. That total includes your bonus points. It is just another way to encourage you to play as much as you possibly can.

Monday, November 12, 2012

THE GIFT OF SQUASH

Holiday Tournament – December 7

I love the Christmas Holiday period. My daughter of course loves it even more. The chance to open presents makes her giddy and she doesn’t care what’s in the wrapped paper, it’s the gift of receiving that she has hands down. In fact, she opens my wife’s and my presents too. I am sure you all enjoy this time of year just as much as my 6 year old, there is nothing more satisfying than opening a present from a relative you haven’t seen since Christmas the previous year and faking joy at the porcelain angel figurine that will never see the light of day. This Holiday period also means playing squash and drinking.

For the 9th year in a row, the Holiday Tournament will once again take centre stage. Matches will start at 5pm on Friday, December 7. It’s a unique format where everybody will receive 4 matches. All matches are 2 games to 15 points, and all players – regardless of level – will be in the same draw. It’s a fantastic chance to play against someone you have never stepped on court with before. The first round is drawn from a hat so theoretically the best two players could play themselves. You get one point for every game you win, and the second round will be against someone who records the same first round result as you. And so forth. At the end of the four matches, we should have a rough order of ranking. If everything runs on time and smoothly, we should be done by 7.30pm – 8pm.

Now to the topic of gifts. Every entrant needs to bring a wrapped gift worth at least $20 as their entry fee. Once all the matches are completed, the players will be able to choose a gift in order of the final ranking. That way, everybody wins! Plus, as an added bonus, everyone will enjoy the gift of giving too!

Characteristically, most of the gifts are alcohol related. If you choose to go a different theme, however, take note on what is NOT allowed. Don’t turn any of the participants into Grinches!

1. Cash. While we all love the green, it’s inappropriate here. At least make an effort to buy something! (I, on the other hand, am more than happy to accept cash…)

2. Viagra. Yes, believe it or not, somebody gifted this wonder pill one year. For obvious reasons, drugs are unacceptable.

3. Muffins. While I like this treat myself, this item has earned its way on the list when Patrick Petz almost had a fit in 2005 opening a box of them and their condition was less than palatable. It appeared as if a rat had gnawed through most of them.

4. Potpourri. Come on. This is clearly a re-gift item. From your grandmother. Leave it at home!

5. Canary yellow DAC t-shirt. Clothing is difficult to give to someone. Size and color and style differ tremendously from person to person. I remember once my wife received a jacket from a relative that almost made her cry it was so hideous. I think we can all agree a canary yellow shirt is not a popular fashion choice for anyone – except for a canary. Or a banana.

Just a couple more things: We need a minimum 14 players to run the event with a maximum of 24. Registration deadline is Tuesday, December 4. And in case you are wondering, the greatest gift of all will be ready and waiting for you as matches get under way…. The KEG!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

BUTTER NUTZ STAY ON TOP

Boasters league round 6 ~~

Despite sitting on the side lines for round 6, the “Butter Nutz” still holds a double digit lead atop of the standings. “Winky-Dinks” and “Wardogs” – who played each other – did catch up a little and still have a chance to make up the difference in the final three weeks of the first half. There was only one change in the standings this week. “Mercedes” picked up a league best 32 points over the week to jump from 7th to 5th and only 2 points off 4th. They did not have a huge night yesterday, but played a handful of make-up matches in the week.

The teams going in the opposite direction have a lot of work to do. “WallEED” scored more bonus points than match points yesterday – and only 3 of their players turned up. They are currently 7th but not far off the teams above them however they cannot afford to continue on their current trend. From round to round, they have played less and less matches. And they have the bye for next week.

Team “Destiny” has destined themselves it seems to the cellar. They have been there since round 4 and have made no apparent effort to climb out of it. They have only accumulated 14 points in the previous 2 rounds, a season lowest 13 bonus points overall. It’s not as if they are being outclassed – they actually have won more matches than they have lost, it’s simply a matter of hardly playing many of them!

We had a battle of the undefeated in the number 1 position last night with Paul Ward (“Wardogs”) and Manny Tancer (“Winky-Dinks”) going at it. Both are runners and can last half the night, so the match was full of long points. Paul eventually took a 2-1 victory and is now the only player on the 117 long list that has played all of his matches so far and hasn’t lost.

Peter Ulbrich (“Vivio’s”) is starting to shake off the cobwebs as he picked up his first win of the season with a 2-1 win over John Conway (“Mongoose”). Jon Walton (“Mercedes”) scored a tough 2-1 victory over the awkward switch-hitting style of Sean Moran (“Foss-ters”) and Bruce Shaw (“Mercedes”) clocked up his third 2-1 win of the season over Mike Rock (“Foss-ters”).

There are 3 rounds to go with a ‘rest’ day the week of Thanksgiving. A ton of matches need to be played, you all have until December 7 (inclusive) to play them. My recommendation is not to wait until that particular day…

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

STRONG DOUBLES SELECTION

Doubles Select Tournament 2012

The goal was to beat the registration record of 36 players. And we did – with 40! A great achievement, but one I was not all that surprised with considering the expansion of all the leagues this season and the significant increase in court usage. I am also going to venture to guess that this year’s draw was the most competitive with 13 of the 19 matches going to 4 or 5 games.
 
The closest 5-setter I was aware of was the first round match-up of Mike Petix / Chato Hill versus Andy Housey / Jim Thompson. Mike has been a finalist in this event twice, but this year he wouldn’t be getting the chance to compete for the title. Housey / Thompson took the 5th 15-13 only to be cut down in the next round 3-0 by Shail Arora and Bruce Shaw. Unlike Mike, Shail has won this event twice, (he was also a finalist one year with Mike as his partner!), and he had another good opportunity to make it a triple crown if he and Bruce could get through the semi final.

It wouldn’t be an easy task. Greg Rivard hit a bump in the road even before his campaign begun when his original partner had to withdraw with an injury. I almost had to forfeit him out, but managed to convince Jason Trombley to step in at the last minute after he lost his first match 3-0. A good decision it turned out, because with Greg as partner they fought their way through each match with narrow victories. A 3-2 win over Andrew Spohn and Bob Garvey was followed up with a 3-1 victory against Jim Fair and Joe Moran. Meeting Shail and Bruce in the semi, they decided another nail-biter would be only way forward and they took a 3-2 win to advance to the final. Shail’s third title will have to wait another year.

The opposite side of the draw had a favorite emerge rather early on. When I was taking registrations for this event, a Mr. Frank Willard called me to play. I had heard the name, but had never met him and had never seen him on court. He informed me he used to play many years ago and thought this would be a great chance to get back into it again. A wise choice, Mr. Willard. I matched him up with Kevin Kennedy. Another wise choice, this time by Mr. Joint. Frank as it turns out is a very capable player. The ten year or so hiatus from the game didn’t appear to dull his on-court senses very much and it was obvious he knew the angles and had the technique. Sure, he may have been a little rusty, but nobody was going to stop this duo from running the table.
(let to right) Frank Willard, Kevin Kennedy,
Jason Trombley, Greg Rivard

They did not win every match 3-0. Patrick Petz and Ted Morris snagged a game from them in the quarter finals, and in the final itself, Greg and Jason scared them a little by pinching the first game 15-11. In fact, from the few rallies I witnessed in the final, Greg and Jason held their own pretty well. The points were well contested – Greg pounding the ball well and covering the front court with Jason digging shots out of the back with nice length designed simply to keep them in the rally. But eventually, the steadiness and consistency of Frank and Kevin would prove too much. They took the next three games 15-9; 15-11 and 15-10 and undoubtedly deserved the victory.

Congratulations to the winners – I hope Frank will continue to swing his racquet and join the league. He would be a fantastic addition to the growing program. Now that he has knocked some of that rust off, he really shouldn’t allow it to accumulate again!

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