Thursday, April 26, 2012


The good news: Record numbers in the Doubles Club Championships. Registration was up and consequently it was the most competitive event we have had in recent memory. We had new faces in the draw trying their hand and most of the ‘old’ faces attempting to teach them a lesson. The bad news: The Red Wings lost the play-offs, Brandon Inge is still a Tiger, and there was broccoli in my dinner again last night.

Doubles C~~
No offense to all the participants here, but almost all of the 10 teams would have qualified for a Doubles 100 event! However, it didn't detract from the competitiveness one iota as with age comes experience and the ability - for the most part - to play smarter not harder. Unlike singles, hitting the correct angles on a doubles court will almost always end up as a winner no matter how fast your opponent may be. Not that speed was a big worry for most players here. Except if you are talking about Mike Petix. Mike is renowned for his court coverage and extends rallies beyond what his opponents expect which often leaves them flat footed as they watch their 'winners'  come back. He won this category with Paul Flanagan last year and teamed up with Drew Creamer this time around. Mike and Drew reached the final, taking out his 2011 partner (who was teamed up with Andrew Spohn) in the semi final in a 5-game come from behind win. Meeting them there were the 2011 and 2010 runner-ups in Joe Moran and Ken Katz, and they were rather determined to reverse the result. Joe and Ken were seeded one and worked themselves through the draw comfortably dropping only one game which was in their first match. Now, not that the first game determines the outcome of a best of five match, but if the 18-17 win to Moran / Katz went to Petix / Creamer instead, I believe the end result would have been different. Momentum carried Moran / Katz to a 15-10 win in game 2, giving them an obvious huge advantage and an intimidating hurdle to overcome for Petix / Creamer. But with their backs up against the wall, Mike and Drew stepped up to the challenge to push the match to a fourth but they couldn't keep it up. Joe and Ken clinched their Doubles C title three games to one 18-17; 15-10; 9-15; 15-11.

Doubles B~~
One of things that stand out after the result of this category is that familiarity breeds success. John Dunwoody and Chris Terry have been playing together for a long time. How long? I'm not too sure, and I'm not too sure John or Chris can remember either but the rumor has it they met while helping lay the foundation stones of the DAC building. Which reminds me, it's the DAC club house centennial is in 2015... Anyway, the pair can finish each other’s sentences (and martinis) and this (weird) extra sensory perception translates perfectly on the doubles court where they regularly finish each other’s rallies. Teamwork is a vital ingredient in this game and a seemingly mysterious art to master - especially when players have an endless merry-go-round of changing partners whenever a doubles event comes up. In the attempt of trying to find a "perfect match" on the doubles court, it is actually causing our members to fall further and further behind the other clubs. Pick a partner and work together- learn to play the game as a team, not as individuals. Improvement will come when you practice and play regularly with the same person and start to complement each other. And that is where John and Chris have the advantage. They reached the final with a 3-2 semi win over the recent Doubles 100 winners Greg Rivard and lefty Craig Hupp. Their finals opponents also won their semi 3-2. Patrick Petz and Rich Stimson knocked out Shail Arora and Ryan Bendzinski 15-12 in the 5th and played that match well together. But consistency is important and because they don't play as a team too often, they struggled against the 'wiser' pair. Frustration surely played a part, especially after a slow start. John and Chris took command early taking the first two games 15-9, 15-3. Patrick and Rich picked up their game in the third and pulled it out 15-9, but it was too little too late as Dunwoody / Terry regained control to secure the fourth game 15-10 and score another Club Championship title - their 2nd in 3 years.

Doubles A~~
Domination of this event has been spread over 2 teams for the past 4 years. Every final since 2009 has been between Peter Logan / John Birgbauer and Kirk Haggarty / Mike Eugenio. The teams have been swapping titles and this year was actually no different. 2011 winners Logan / Birgbauer lost this year's final to 2011 finalists Haggarty / Eugenio 10-15; 15-12; 15-11; 15-13. It was a competitive, good spirited match played in front of a handful of members enjoying the free keg. But are the foundations of this annual staple match beginning to crack? Usually the two pairs cake walk the preliminary rounds 3-0 but this year the Logan / Birgbauer team dropped a game against Peter Shumaker and newcomer Jed Elley. Next year, even 'newer'-comer Pablo Buitron will no doubt make his presence felt and suddenly the 2013 Doubles A draw already will be stronger and less predictable. But speculation is all it is and for now Kirk Haggarty earns yet another notch on the heralded DAC Champions board for all infinitum along with Mike Eugenio who is quietly collecting his fair share of titles as well. We sincerely hope they will be back next year to defend and tackle the 'new guys' and also the current crop of improving members such as John Rakolta and George Kordas who may find themselves very competitive if they decide to dedicate some serious time to the game. As we all know - every year gets harder.

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