This was my fourth trip to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. This is actually the one weekend of the year that I do not have to plead for a ‘hall pass’ from my wife. Why she encourages me to head off to paradise for 4 days on a bachelors trip with some of the hardest partiers on the planet is a total enigma and another reason I will never understand women. But, I shouldn’t question it, I should just be grateful. And I am. Since 2009, I have been joining at least 8 others from the Great Lakes area to be part of the squad that attempts to cross racquets with the Navy Squash Team. Our on-court success has been minimal to say the least.
My Favorite Part of my Favorite Weekend
Truly the highlight of the journey is the area itself. Incredible, breathtaking scenery throughout the bay where Jon Uffelman’s mother lives, Sherwood Forest is a delightful community 20 minutes by boat from downtown Annapolis. Why she allows most of us to crash at her house adds to my above puzzlement of the female species, however we are extremely appreciative of the opportunity to enjoy nature at its finest. On early Friday morning I spent at least an hour on the glass-flat bay zooming around in Jon’s boat watching him and Eric Green water-ski. I didn’t jump in myself not being an accomplished skier, but having the fresh morning breeze through my thinning hair was good enough for me. I am sure I lost an inch off my receding hairline.
Another Favorite Part of my Favorite Weekend
Beating up on the squids. (I think they call them that?) I’m talking about their squash team. A group of very disciplined, fit, strong young men headed by Coach Dawson and assisted by Casey Garwood who used to be a DAC member and was our club champion in 2003. The main reason I love beating up on them is age. They look at us – the Great Lakes Squash Team – and the first word that comes into their mind (apart from “Ugh!”) is “old”. I am not the youngest player on the team – that honor goes to 26 year old Mark Porter (now living in Toronto) – but I am waaaay off being the oldest. The dubious credit goes to Rob Graves from Franklin who tips the chronological scale at 76… ummm, I mean 58.
I don’t know how old my very quick and jumpy opponent was on Friday, but he had to be close to half my age. Almost like every year, the first half of the first game comes at me in a messy onslaught of watching my opponent zip, lunge, smash, leap, scramble, and crack that ball like his life depended on it. My task is to simply fend off the blows, and let him calm down into a more normal rhythm of a squash game where I then can take control. I won my match 3-0, pleased I could outlast the cadet - at least for another year.
Mark Porter flew the flag for our geriatric team as well, taking his squid 3-1. However, that was all the flag flying we had the energy for. Apparently, there wasn’t much energy to swing a squash racquet. Of the other 7 matches that counted towards the overall result, Team Great Lakes lost them all. It was our worst defeat in the four years I have been a part of this adventure and a surprising one as well since on paper we had a stronger group that should have been more competitive.
Saturday morning was the reverse scrimmage – more a mix ‘n’ match than an official competition and we faired a lot better. Fair to say their team was not as strong, but at least we took advantage of it!
Don’t Forget this Favorite Part of my Favorite Weekend
Believe it or not, squash wasn’t the sole reason for our trip. Yes, the expectation of being part of the team is to do plenty of male bonding. Group activities are essential for high moral. We play hard together, so we naturally socialize hard together too! Because of the location, seafood restaurants dominate the agenda. Unfortunately for me, I don’t like seafood. The rather common “you don’t know what you’re missing out on” echoes regularly towards me, but actually I know exactly what I’m missing out on: Seafood. It’s disgusting. But it’s no problem, I’ll enjoy my hamburger thank you very much. Of course nothing washes down a hearty meal better than a few drinks, and indulge we did. Annapolis has a vast selection of bars and we frequented many of them.
|Left to right: Mark Porter (Toronto), |
Brad Hanebury (London, ON), Nick Dimitrijevic (Windsor)
Mark Eugeni (Windsor), me!, and Jon Uffelman
in the front. The oyster shooters.... yugh!