Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Ken MacDonald in his favorite squash shirt
I’m not totally sure if we received so many entries for this event because people were sorry to see Ken MacDonald leave, or happy to see him go… I kid of course, but for the middle of summer to have 25 participants in the “Race Against the Clock” tournament is a testament to the man of the hour. I now somehow need to have him come back every summer and then go away again in order to keep the registrations up.

It was a fantastic effort by all involved to keep the matches rolling along. All 52 of them, just on two courts, and although it did take a little longer than anticipated the feedback amongst the players was all very positive. In fact, one e-mail I received requested I run this event every month. That’s not going to happen, but I am pleased with the response. 

Split into 5 groups, each round robin match varied in length from 3 to 7 minutes long. There were no handicaps handed out. I was simply interested in who won or lost, since the player in the group who ended up with the most victories would take away the winners ‘check’ (or gift certificate). But it was intriguing to see many of the individual scores as well. Ten of the matches were decided by 1 point only and 4 of those were by sudden death – that means that if the score was tied by the end of the time limit, a sudden death rally had to be played to determine the winner. Patrick Petz had 2 of them – and won them both.

Brittany Paquette, Paul Huth
and Bruce VandeVusse
The ‘A’ group was the only one of the five that did not need a finals play-off. Anthony Fracchia went through the group undefeated, his closest match was against Mike Counsman whom he beat 8-6. Every other player in the group posted only 1 win. 

I’ll get to the ‘B’ group last, since Ken MacDonald was in that one and I want to end the article with him. In the ‘C’s, we had a tie between Patrick Petz and Sante Fratarcangeli, both with 3 wins. Sante could have swept the table, but came up short in his final pool match against Rich Stimson losing in sudden death 8-7 in a little controversial fashion. The play-off would be a 2 minute match. At the end of regulation, the score was 4-4, once again forcing a sudden death rally. Third time lucky was not a charm for Patrick as he tinned a (hypothetical) winner to hand Sante the victory!
Justin Winkelman, Ken,
Paul Ward and Mike Counsman
The ‘D’ was a closely fought bunch. Paul Flanagan and Dane Fossee scraped through to the play-off with 4 wins each, with Josh Slominski and David Pontes each with 3. Josh can blame David for not being a part of the play-off, when he lost their match 16-15. One rally the other way would have made the difference. In the 2 minute final, Paul scooted off to a quick start which made catching up an impossibility. He took the match 7-2.

In the ‘E’s, we were faced with a 3-way tie for first place. Justin Winkelman, Brittany Paquette and Elliot Shafer each scored 4 wins in the group. Their only losses were against each other, so the 3-way play-off was up for grabs. After Elliot drew first blood against Brittany 6-3, he then immediately stepped on court with Justin and found himself on a roll. The quick points piled up and by the time Justin tackled Brittany, Elliot had established an unassailable lead. He took the final with 15 points with his closest rival 4 points back.
Ken playing in the 2 minute final

Ken MacDonald, as you may have heard, is leaving the DAC. For the DAC. That’s the Denver Athletic Club. He is off to Colorado to start a new chapter in his life with his wife and young child. He was very active in our squash family, representing us in tournaments, the Cross Border Challenge, the Farris Cup, the McQueenie Cup, he played the leagues and ladders, was the Squash Committee Chairman last year, and seriously you’d be hard up to find a nicer, friendlier guy. So nice in fact, that the players in the ‘B’ group were overwhelmed by his affability, they couldn’t beat him. Except for (spoiler alert!) – Paul Huth. Paul beat him in the round robin to force the 2 minute play-off and wouldn’t you know it, at the end of the time limit, they were tied 5-5. Paul, it appeared, was going to make Ken earn the win just an itty bit. The sudden death rally was going swimmingly well, Paul lollied a ball into the middle of the court for a Ken MacDonald tournament ending winner, which he them promptly nailed into the tin. Oh well, not the fairy tale result, but close enough.

So, on behalf of the squash membership, I would like to wish Ken and his family the best of the best of luck, nothing less than genuine happiness and prosperity. I know you will miss us here in Detroit and the squash program (since there is no other one like it!) and we hope to see you regularly back in town. Make sure you wear that t-shirt when you return, but please, in the name of the Lord, wash it first.

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