Monday, April 30, 2012


It was akin to a small band of medieval warriors drooling at the mouth for battle, weapons lofted above their heads, war cries echoing through the valley, adrenalin overtaking all the senses as they start their heroic charge to attack the castle... only to be violently slaughtered within seconds by the snipers in the turrets, equivalent to killing a fly with a nuclear warhead.

The DAC McQueenie Cup team was outgunned in a similar fashion. Hosted at the beautiful UCC (University Club of Chicago), the home team took full advantage of available players. In reality, the result was decided before the competition began. 
Ken MacDonald and Nick Duffy (ULC) enjoying
a drink in the UCC court area overlooking Lake Michigan

Each club provides 2 players maximum in each of the 4 knock-out draws - A, B, C, and D. Every position in the draw is played out and points are awarded depending on where a player finishes. For example, winning a category nets 24 points, second is 20, third is 18, and so forth. At the end, each player’s points goes towards their respective club’s total and the club with the most points wins the cup.

For some reason, 5 of the 8 DAC players were drawn to play UCC members in their first match. The UCC team dominated the weekend - 5 of their 8 players reached at least the semi final. Still, we did score one victory as John Rakolta managed to win 3-1; however, the other 4 weren’t so successful. We won one more match for the day with Peter Logan cleaning up a quick 3-0 over his ULC (Union League Club of Chicago) opponent.

With the way the scoring works, and having 6 players in the consolation draws competing for minor points, winning the McQueenie Cup was already out of reach. The 2012 campaign had ended quickly. Sorrows were quickly forgotten as the Windy City Friday night beckoned and the DAC squash team did some serious bonding. It was a long session, and very productive. So productive in fact that player’s bodies were hurting more from that rather than from the squash.

Saturday morning arrived too early for many and the on court fortunes did not change much. Brien-watch-me-hit-a-boast-Baker and Andy Adamo went against the trend and pulled out a couple of wins and ended up playing each other for the 5th and 6th position. Brien came out on top of that match 3-1.
John Rakolta after his 5-set marathon
For our first of 2 Friday winners, John Rakolta’s semi final was against Toledo’s Drew Snell. Arguably it was the match of the tournament. Drew started strongly taking the first two games, but John changed tactics cleverly to extend the rallies and start to frustrate his opponent. It was a tough assignment, but it was working. John took the next two games and went point-for-point in the 5th up until 6-all when Drew found another gear from seemingly nowhere, suddenly picked up the pace and had a tiring John just a step too slow. It was a great match, despite the 3-2 loss. Peter Logan’s match was a stark contrast. His opponent was Rahul Singh from the UCC - one of the US’s top 5.5 players. There wasn’t much Peter could do. Rahul was too good all over the court, sweet racquet skills, smooth deception, and floating footwork. The 3-0 result was expected, Rahul went on to win the final 3-0 as well over Drew, no one was surprised about that either.

It was a glaring McQueenie Cup victory for the UCC. Not even close. They ended up with 150 points, Toledo came second with 124, MAC (Milwaukee Athletic Club) came in 3rd with 90 points and the DAC 4th with 86. ULC rounded out the 5 teams with 62. More disappointing was the fact we lost out to the MAC who only turned up with 5 players. Two of their 5 players won their respective category, one of which competed in the A draw last year but bumped himself down to the B draw this year. No wonder he won.
Anthony Fracchia, Brien Baker,
Ken MacDonald and Andu Adamo

The result aside, the event was a blast. Great venue, great city, we were perfectly looked after by UCC’s delightful new assistant pro Joni from Holland (I don’t know his last name) who somehow succeeded in pleasing everyone all the time. The dampener was that the winner was decided so early; much of the excitement of the matches was missing.

Saturday night forced us all to hit the town again. It would have been sacrilegious if we hadn’t. Apparently Friday night bonding did not kill off enough brain cells or taste buds and most of us managed to keep the glow running until the wee hours of the morning. We are athletes after all and can push through such pain.

Special mention to the DAC team for a terrifically entertaining and memorable weekend, the laughs never stopped: John Rakolta; Peter Logan; Mark Gregory; Anthony Fracchia; Brien Baker; Andy Adamo; Ken MacDonald and Patrick Petz. Now if only we could play squash as well as we socialized...

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