Thursday, February 23, 2012


Boasters League round 8~~

Unless something dramatic happens, it looks like five teams have punched their ticket to the finals already. The only really close race is for the last play-off position between 6th place “The Tap Bar” and 7th place “Oblivions”. It would be fitting if these two teams played against each other for the final round, but they don’t, and a lot will also rely on how many matches the two teams makes up between now and March 1.

The top two teams look set and will receive the first round bye for the finals. Third ranked “1st Place Lounge” has to sit out week 9 and most likely will watch “Vivio’s” and “Anchor” overtake them but are not in any real danger of slipping outside the top 6. As far as “Speakeasys” and “Jacoby’s”, I don’t think even divine intervention would be enough for them to rise above their deficits.

It wasn’t a terribly hectic evening for round 8; I am presuming most players prefer to wait until the final couple of days before the deadline to start catching up so I expect a lot of scores to be pouring in all next week. (Can you smell the sarcasm?) As always, though, there were some rather competitive matches played. Chip McDaniel (“Jacoby’s”) took Todd Baker (“Vivio’s”) 2-1, but by the way the two came off the court it looked like it went 5 games and 90 minutes. David Devine (“1st Place Lounge”) picked up his fourth win of the half with a well deserved 2-1 victory over Greg Baker (“Town Pump”) and he did it with a demo racquet. So he purchased one. Because it’s obviously the arrow, not the Indian. And Kevin Kennedy (“1st Place Lounge”) handed Brendan Fossee (“Town Pump”) his first loss of the half with a dogged 2-1 win.

Seven days to go. 168 hours or 10,080 minutes – give or take. March 1 (inclusive) is the deadline to get any and all scores to me. The finals schedule will be sent out on Friday, March 2.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


One of more depressing things about living in a city such as Detroit is the amount of abandoned houses that litter the neighborhoods. Houses that are dilapidated, burnt down, derelict, and discarded by previous owners that only scar the surrounding residences and cast a continuous shadow of despair throughout the remaining population. The choices left for those lingering families are minimal. The easy thing to do is maintain the same attitude and slither down the spiral of hopelessness, or you can take the path of Gina and Mitch – who created a non-profit organization called “Power House Productions” – and do something positive about it.

These people are artists. They are also builders. But they are more importantly community activists who have a vision of dragging the tiny pocket of their neighborhood in Detroit, just north of Hamtramck, back to a level of respect it once enjoyed, and back to a place where people will want to visit, live, and be proud of the identity rather than be ashamed of it.

By choosing select locations around the streets where they live, and by employing the help of visiting artists from around the world, volunteers, money from donors and private foundations, (and they are also hoping for assistance through government grants), Power House Productions is slowly transforming houses into themed dwellings. The aim is to have an abundant variety of activities for the families in the area to enjoy; bringing people together as they play music and have concerts in the ‘Sound House’, go and skate on tracks and obstacles through the ‘Skate House’, then pick up a racquet and have a game of squash at the next. Yes, you read it correctly – a ‘Squash House’. In Detroit, five minutes from downtown.

Graem Whyte dreaming of his 'Squash House'
I went to visit the location with Gina and Mitch and also Graem Whyte (the artist taking the reins on project 'Squash House') on Klinger St. one very cold Saturday afternoon. The house was burnt to a crisp – although the floor and the walls were still pretty solid. Graem had some experience with racquetball, but his vision of the house focused more on squash – helped along no doubt by the fact another aspect of the transformation was to create a squash garden behind the structure and actually grow the vegetable. The house is exactly 21 foot wide; the same width as a full sized squash court but about 10 feet longer. It was certainly high enough which wouldn’t have been an issue anyway since the roof would have to be rebuilt. Being artists, Graem wanted to ‘jazz’ up the squash court as well. I have no idea how to ‘jazz’ up a squash court, and I’m not sure Graem had much of an inkling either, but it will be interesting to see what he comes up with.

It is a wonderful idea. To bring a neighborhood back to life through imagination and initiative, and to have squash as a part of the grand scheme is a splendid plug for the sport. I wonder how many of the people in that area would ever have heard of squash before...?

Here is short video clip of the beginnings of Squash House: Introduction . You will have to excuse the use of racquetball racquets in the clip. At least they were wearing eye-guards! The Squash House is slated to be up and running by September this year if everything goes to plan. But they do need a little assistance. If you would like to help out on this or any other project they are doing you can check out their website and facebook page and their is additionally a special facebook page for the Squash House. They are also looking for racquets and eye-guards to use for when they do open, so if anyone has any old gear they wish to get rid of, I can take it off your hands and willingly donate!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


2012 Doubles Club Championships – Mar 12 – Apr 18

The best piece of advice I can give you if you are planning on competing in the Doubles Club Championships is – confirm your partner early. The longer you wait the less options you will have to find a suitable team mate. Every year, I receive a bunch of e-mails close to the registrations deadline from the ‘lingerers’ that want to know who hasn’t yet registered and who I would recommend. So get on the blower and start sending out feelers now!

Doubles is slowly becoming more competitive at the DAC, more players are trying their hand at the hardball. We had a very competitive event in 2011 and I expect we’ll be even better this year. You can enter the A, B, or C draw. When entering, please take note of the following very important points:

  • You MUST enter as a team. I will not accept individual entries. It is also important that you actually ask your partner to play with you before you sign up.
  • Tell me which category you want to play in. If I think you are out of your league when you enter, I will place you in a more appropriate level.
  • Each match will have a deadline and it is your responsibility to complete that match before that deadline. I recommend you contact the players involved in your match immediately after receiving the draw to organize a time. Do not wait until just before the deadline to start sending out e-mails.
  • If you are going to be away for a significant amount of time during the event, then probably a good idea to sit this one out. We cannot let the event fall behind.
  • All matches are best of 5 games. There will be no consolation.
  • Be fair and courteous when dealing with ‘let’ calls. Safety first. The expectation is that all players conduct themselves as would be required at the DAC.
The registration deadline is Wednesday March 7. It would be great if all 3 finals could be played on April 18 – we’ll try and hopefully everybody’s schedule can cooperate. The winners of the A draw will automatically qualify to represent the DAC at the 2013 Farris Cup which is scheduled for January at the DAC.

Start calling…

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


When I was informed the tournament this year would be the weekend after the Super Bowl, I was very relieved. There was no way I was not going to watch the football, but I didn’t relish the idea of forcing myself to stay awake with scotch tape on my eye-lids to do it. I also believe that most players prefer it too. The feedback was all positive and it was proven in the registrations. Player capacity was reached 10 days before the deadline – a definite luxury as an organizer.

The support from our friends in London grows from year to year. Incredibly, they had the most representatives with 32. Windsor came a close second with 28. We love hosting the Canadians for the weekend, they are delightfully social, first-rate drinkers, and even better squash players. It is getting tough to schedule, however. If more Londonites enter next year, some may find themselves playing on Thursday night. I sincerely hope they can accommodate…

We ended up with 37 doubles matches and 192 singles matches over the 4 days. Results are as follows:
Anil Kathuria and Chuck Doyle

2.5 draw – A DAC winner in this category was virtually guaranteed. There were only 4 non-members in the draw and they were all women from London. I know that sounds a little harsh and sexist, but by sheer weight of numbers the odds were with us. None of the ladies reached the quarter finals, although they definitely get the prizes for best dressed and best technique and Cheryl Mayer also gets the runner-up prize for the best dancer on Saturday. (The first prize goes to my daughter! Rob Doherty gets the prize for best use of a dining chair on the dance floor and Michael Jackson impression…) 

Chuck Doyle and Anil Kathuria were the 2 left standing by Sunday afternoon. They had only dropped one game between them on their path to the final. Chuck was in the same position in 2011. He lost that final as was determined to go one better this year. He did, but not without having to play all 5 games. He eventually tired Anil out in the 5th to earn the title.

Josh Slominski
3.0 draw – In this draw, we also had heavy numbers on our side. So it was also not surprising to see 8 DAC members reach the quarter finals here. Three quarter finals ended up 3-0, the fourth 3-2 where Chip McDaniel knocked out the 2008 3.0 winner Walter Fisher. The two semi finals on Sunday morning also went to 5 games. Chip marched to a 2-0 lead over Sante Fratarcangeli before the weekend started to catch up with him. It was Chip’s 4th match of the event and the muscle soreness was kicking in rather nicely. Sante smelled blood and stormed back to win the match 3-2. As disappointed as Chip was, he was also relieved he did not have to play another match that day. The other semi was a real nail-biter. Josh Slominski was 2-0 up over Tom Fabbri when Tom started to establish a much better length and thereby much better control of the ‘T’. He evened it to 2 games each and then bought himself 4 match-balls at 10-6 in the 5th. But Josh kept his composure very well and extended the game to a tie-break where he eventually took it 15-13. I didn’t get to see the final, but on paper it seemed pretty even since both players had taxing 5-setters that morning. I am presuming the match was arduous when the 3-1 score line was reported back and I am also presuming that since Josh won he won’t be feeling the aches and pains as much as Sante! 

3.5 draw – Once again, the biggest draw of the event. It now starts to get very difficult for our members to complete successfully from this level onwards. Most of the outside participation start to show their skills a little more prominently. We did however have 2 semi-finalists. Chris Van Tol won his first two matches 3-1 before coming up against the lone entrant from Grand Rapids, Jake Chapman. A resilient competitor, Jake had a grueling 5 set win over Seth Rogers (who isn’t a member anywhere, but should be one here…Seth?!) and was too good for Chris this particular Sunday morning taking him down 3-0. His finals opponent was Fermin Fernandez from Franklin. Fermin also had a very demanding run to get to this stage. A 3-2 win in round 1 was followed up by another 3-2 win in round 2, and then two 3-1 wins in the quarters and semis. I watched the final few points of the match as Fermin’s wife was having a heart attack from the nerves as she watched her husband win 3-1. I think she almost fell off her chair twice. Fermin’s smile was almost as wide as Srini Krishnamoorthy’s afterwards who had nothing to do with this match, but is forever smiling anyway!

4.0 draw – Cue the Canadians. Only 2 of our 6 players reached the quarter finals of this category. The semis involved 2 Londonites, 1 fellow from Windsor and Andrew Pritchard from the BAC. Andrew lost 3-1 to Marcus Plowright (London) who happened to win his first match 12-10 in the 5th, and his second match 13-11 in the 5th. Meeting Marcus in the final was his buddy club member Martin Langdale. Martin had only dropped one game to get there (to Scott Adlhoch in the second round), and he continued his dominance against Marcus. The 3-0 score was not indicative of the closeness of the match, however. All three games were decided by 2 points: 13-11, 11-9, 15-13. I apologize to Martin for the sandy taste he experienced drinking out of his winning stein. The bag broke.

4.5 draw – It was a good day for Life Time Fitness member Jason Heywood with a victory in the category, taking the final over David Suelzle from London 3-0. Jason dropped two games in the event – one to Dean Lansens (Windsor) in round 2 and one to Gary Sullivan (London) in the semi. Gary requested I place him and Jon Anderson on separate sides of the draw so they could have an all-out battle to the death in the final. Jon lost the quarter final to our Ryan Bendzinski in 5. I guess we’ll have to wait until 2013 to witness that pleasure.

5.0 draw – The biggest 5.0 draw we have ever had, it was logically also the most competitive. Last year’s winner Brian Porter (Windsor) received the rough end of the pineapple with the draw when his first match was against Mike Blythe from London. Mike won 3-0 and immediately became the player to beat in the event. His toughest test came in the next round playing Ali Somani from Windsor as Ali pushed him to 5 games but couldn’t quite close the deal. A 3-0 pasting over a hazy Andrew Caille (Windsor) in the semi on Sunday morning had Mike in the final. There he met another Windsor player in Kevin Furmanek. Kevin went quietly about his business, also receiving his toughest test in his second match winning that in 5 close games before beating last year’s finalist John Rakolta 3-0 in the semi. However, he was not able to counter the steady and intelligent play of Mike in the final. Mike took the match 3-0, looking in control for most of the encounter.

5.5 draw – The big boys. For a second year running, we had repeat finalists. And for a second year running, we had the same winner. And, for a second year running, we had the same score. Brad Hanebury (London) managed to keep 2-time winner Mark Eugeni (Windsor) at bay just enough with an 11-9 in the 5th victory. Both Mark and Brad reached the final with relative ease, but with the up and coming youngsters such as Michael Snower (BAC) and Stefan Houbtchev (Windsor) starting to win matches in that division, their days of ruling the 5.5 roost may be numbered.

Doubles C – You can’t beat experience. Really. I mean, who is going to stop the veteran London pairing of Lindsay Smith and his lovely wife Anne in this category? Not even Renka Gesing and Syd Strom could manage it, although they did win one game in the final. It was Lindsay and Anne’s second title in a row – and they also won it in 2009. We’ll no doubt see them here in 2013 for more hardware!
Lindsay and Anne Smith

Doubles B – The poor McKittrick brothers. They must feel like the Buffalo Bills. For the fourth time, they have reached a final of a doubles category at the DAC Classic, and for the fourth time, they have come up short. This time it was a 5-set loss to the London team of Marcus Plowright and Tom Panabaker. Marcus and Tom didn’t have it easy either. They won their second round 18-16 in the 5th over Chris Boden and Martin Langdale also from London. I guess we’ll also see the McKittrick’s next year. They will probably keep on playing until they win one!

Doubles A – No surprises here. For the winner in any case. Jon Uffelman (BAC) and Mark Eugeni (Windsor) powered their way to a third title without too much trouble. I was a little surprised at their finals opponents in John Seidel (Toledo) and Rob Graves (Franklin) who beat the London team of Rob Doherty and Caleb Quinlan 3-1 in the semi final. Not that John and Rob are pushovers. I have been on court with them before and have been on a bad end of a thrashing, but Rob and Caleb have won this tournament and I did pick them to reach the final. However, no excuse, but I don’t think Rob slept very well the night before.

Socially, I don’t think anyone could admit to not enjoying themselves. Just ask Srini Krishnamoorthyopolouswangchungsmithklein. The permanent smile plastered across his face no matter what is going on around him, his blinding white teeth, just makes you happy to be alive. Friends were made, beer was consumed (eh, Rob Doherty?), Mike Counsman was true to form, the lead singer of the live band busted a few moves on the dance floor to get the crowd going along with the outstanding music, we had dirty dancing, amazing food, pretty girls, exciting squash… what more could you ask for?

So there you have it. A big thank you to all the DAC staff who helped out behind the scenes: catering, housekeeping, hotel, kitchen staff including the chefs and waiters, and a special mention to Ernest Jordan and his Men’s Locker Room staff, Blerta, Tiffany, Illene, and of course Rob Barr. The praise from the players about you was nothing but tremendous. Not forgetting our sponsors either – without them, we wouldn’t be running the thing at all. There is a good chance that next year will be the same weekend – the one after the Super Bowl – so pencil it (lightly) in your calendar. And no, I am not yet taking registrations.

For all the category results, please click: DAC Classic Tournament Results 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Toledo Tournament – Mar 2-4

Once the hangover from the DAC classic has subsided, the perfect follow-up is to repeat the adventure on the road – in Toledo. It’s a measly 60 miles down the I-75, not that far that it’s too long a journey and not too close either so it’s a good excuse to overnight. It’s time to start working on those ‘hall-passes’!

This event has its own unique attraction. Mainly because the squash courts are tiny. At two-and-a-half feet narrower than regulation, it will make you feel like Gigantor with the feeling you could reach any ball at any time. But beware! The change in size comes with changes of angle and ball approach and it is extremely easy to be out of position and stuck behind your opponent. You will have to adapt accordingly.

Naturally this gives the Toledoen a huge advantage. But luckily this event is not just about the squash. On the contrary – it’s more about the social side. Beer chicks serve you on the Friday, and a big party on the Saturday night guarantees you won’t be leaving this Detroit-wanna-be city unhappy. And I don’t want to give you the wrong idea – it’s not impossible to win your category. Peter Logan and Anthony Fracchia have pulled it off in years past.

So click on the above tournament poster for all the pertinent information and details about the tournament hotel which is only a couple minutes drive from the Toledo Club. Join me for a weekend of intermingling, squash, beer, camaraderie, and important tournament experience.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Boasters League round 6~~

It appears to be the trend for the second half of this season: “Town Pump” and “Old Shillelagh” continue to play matches, pick up bonus points and solidify their first and second placing on the ladder… while “Speakeasys” and “Jacoby’s” fall further and further behind the rest of the pack.

Given, the “Speakeasys” had the bye week, but they only collected 2 points over the week in makeup matches and have dropped to 8th spot, and “Jacoby’s” look to be setting a record slow pace as they have only added 12 points over the past three weeks combined!

The rest of the teams are shuffling around amongst themselves and are just trying to keep in the top 6 to make the play-offs. “1st Place Lounge” and “Vivio’s” appear to be in the best position to do just that – in fact “1st Place Lounge” scored the most points this week of any other team with 26 and jumped into third place. The only shining light for the teams chasing the top 3 is that all those teams still have the bye week to suffer through. However, by the way matches are not getting done, it doesn’t look like it will matter much.

Overall, the attendance for round 6 was pretty good considering the tournament of the century starts today (I am of course talking about the ever more popular DAC Classic). Pity that attendance always comes from the same 3-4 teams! It’s nice to see more and more matches coming in with a 2-1 score rather than a 3-0, the competitiveness is getting better. Rich Stimson (“Vivio’s”) picked up his second monumental win of the season 2-1 over Joe Bobzin (“1st Place Lounge”) – a fact I just had to point out since he commented sarcastically on the blog a couple of weeks ago after I mentioned his first win and he gave the article a 1 star out of 5 rating. Those “Vivio’s” headbands must have some magical pixie dust on them… Doug Ross (“O’Blivion’s”) and Greg Davis (“Town Pump”) came off the court sucking in deep gulps of oxygen as Doug got the 2-1win, and Anil Kathuria (“Old Shillelagh”) overcame the wily Jim Fair (“Anchor”) 2-1 with a few too many well placed drop shots.

Typically, the week after the DAC Classic is a little quiet as players nurse their squash hangovers. But there really is no rest for the wicked. (And if anyone was wicked…) Make the effort, help your team, don’t be stuck on the outside looking in come March.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Boasters League round 5~~

Count on Patrick Petz to push his team to the top. Well, almost to the top. “Town Pump” decided to flex a little muscle in round 5 and his team pretty much dominated the evening. Nine of twelve matches completed (of which they won 6), and another 9 bonus points to boot propelled his team to within 1 point of the league leaders “Old Shillelagh” and in doing so also created a very comfortable 24 point cushion from 3rd placed “Vivio’s”.

The biggest loser of the week was “The Tap Bar”. Last week they were sitting blissfully in third, enjoying a 12 point buffer to the next team. But the bye week hit them hard, and they obviously sat on the laurels not bothering to make up too many matches. In fact, they only picked up 1 point in the week and have now dropped to 5th place forcing themselves to fight hard for the remainder of the season in order not to miss the play-offs.

Speaking of missing the play-offs, it looks like “Jacoby’s” have already thrown in the towel. With 40 points in 5 rounds, it doesn’t bode well for them. I would love for them to prove me wrong and start to make a tremendous comeback, but all indications just point to the contrary. Things are also looking a little weary for the “Speakeasys”. They are holding onto the last play-off spot by a meager 2 points and have the round 6 bye. Unless they get some matches done over the week, they very well may find themselves in the basement too, struggling to dig out.

There was a decent crowd and plenty of matches played last night – the best showing we have had for weeks. There were also a handful of close matches. Brittany Paquette (“1st Place Lounge”) is finding her winning rhythm with a tough 2-1 victory over Jim Kelly (“Anchor”); Brendon Fossee (“Town Pump”) scored an excellent 2-1 win over Scott Langenburg (“Vivio’s”); Ken MacDonald (“Old Shillelagh”) was impressive with his 2-1 triumph over Mike Hayden (“O’Blivions”).

So now the clock is ticking faster. We are in the final month of the regular season, the DAC Classic is coming up next week, and time is running out quickly to get your matches done. Mark the unmovable deadline on your calendars for results to be reported: March 1 (inclusive).

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