Thursday, January 31, 2013


Boasters League round 4~~

With the foot firmly on the gas pedal, the “Butter Nutz” raced to the top of the standings this week picking up a league best 34 points, and now has opened up a healthy 13 point lead over second placed “Mongoose”. Last week’s league leaders “Winky-Dinks” sat out this round and even though they still managed to gather 9 points in makeup matches dropped to 4th place on the ladder. And steadily chugging along is “Mercedes”. Out of all the teams that have so far suffered through the bye week, they are ranked above all of them – a great position to be in.

Once again, however, the last two ranked teams are struggling to make any headway. “Destiny” scored only 12 points since last week, and “WallEED” 13. Even worse, was “Vivio’s” who picked up a measly 6 – that’s 3 less than the team that had the bye! – and consequently they dropped from 5th to 7th and in severe danger of occupying the basement if that trend continues.

There was a lot of play last night, but a high percentage of it was pick-up squash. Courts were full, beer was flowing, and the handballers were out in force with their tournament. For the record, court usage for this month is the highest since we started counting – since the year 2000. Now, if only everybody was also playing their league matches, I couldn’t imagine how full the courts would be.

There were a few tough matches completed yesterday: Brian Bartes (“Vivio’s”) survived for a 2-1 win over Chip McDaniel (“Foss-ters”) who I thought was about to keel over after the match as he staggered off the court and immediately hit the floor. Not to worry, however, it wasn’t long until beer had saved the day…  Bruce VandeVusse (“Mongoose”) was able to fend off the hard hitting Joe Bobzin (“Destiny”) 2-1; and Anil Kathuria (“Wardogs”) took his 6th win on a row over Chuck Doyle (“Butter Nutz”) 2-1.

Next week we see match-ups between the top 4 teams: “Winky-Dinks” v “Butter Nutz” and “Mercedes” v “Mongoose”. The way these squads have been turning up (they are also the top 4 teams earning bonus points) there is a very good chance they could put a lot of distance between themselves and the rest. Adding the fact that the 5th placed team “Wardogs” has the bye, the bottom four teams should really be feeling the pressure. Remember, the last three teams will be eliminated for the play-offs.

Friday, January 25, 2013


Many years ago, before my time started at the DAC, when my hair was fuller and darker, when the Detroit Lions were the laughing stock of the NFL... (well, time can’t fix everything…) the finals of the Doubles Club Championship for all the court sports used to be held on the night of the third Blackballer Dividend. It has been decided by the powers that be, that we will be returning to tradition.
Doubles Club Championship night is scheduled for Wednesday, March 20. It is only for the top category of squash and handball that will be playing – the ‘A’ draw. The ‘B’ and ‘C’ squash doubles draws will begin competition on March 11, with the final for those 2 categories scheduled for April 17.

In case that sounds confusing, here is the doubles club championship schedule:

Doubles A: Starts February 19. Final set for March 20.
Doubles B and C: Starts March 11. Final set for April 17.

You can enter now for any of the categories. For the B and C groups, there is plenty of time to search for your appropriate partner. However, I wouldn’t exactly be exercising patience in this case. Confirm your partner quickly.

When entering, do so with a confirmed partner. Please do not e-mail me with “I’m in. I’ll let you know who my partner is later”. That really doesn’t help. Also, make sure you enter the appropriate category. Nobody wants to play a sandbagger. I will move teams around if I see you are in the incorrect level.

Organizing your matches. Each match will have a deadline for completion. We cannot afford to fall behind. If you are planning to be away for a significant amount of time during the dates of the event, I suggest you do not enter. When I send out the draw, make sure that you immediately contact the other 3 players to arrange a time to play. Don’t hesitate. Don’t wait for the others to contact you. Be pro-active. Not having a match completed by the given deadline may result in both teams being defaulted. Be flexible with your schedule.

All matches are best of 5 games. There will be no consolation draw. In accordance with the expectation of behavior at the DAC, all players will be fully respectful of their partners and opponents. Be sensible with the ‘let’ calling, avoid arguments, and above all, safety first. Any disagreements on interference calls shall be automatic ‘lets’.

Registration deadline for the A draw will be February 13.
Registration deadline for the C and B draws will be March 6.

With the increase in doubles participation over the past 12 months or so, this should be a very competitive event!

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Boasters League round 3~~

So much for the “Vivio’s” surge. After thrusting themselves into top spot last week, they didn’t do themselves any favors this week by picking up a total of zero points. Given, they did have the round 3 bye; however they did not play any make up matches. Now, they fall back to 5th position and once again it will appear they will be fighting to keep a play-off spot.

Winky-Dinks” on the other hand, do what they do best: collect bonus points. Another 11 last night, giving them 29 for the three weeks, 6 better than the next best “Butter Nutz”. If only they played their matches like they turned up! They only reported 4 scores, but still have an 8 point lead over second placed “Mongoose”. “Winky-Dinks” sit out round 4 – let’s see if they also remain stationary.

Bringing up the rear are the familiar names of “Destiny” and “WallEED”. They aren’t too far behind, but everyone knows how hard is to play catch-up all season long.

“Mercedes” had another good showing this week picking up 22 points – the most of any team. They are now 4th, and have the luxury of already having the bye week. The three teams above them are yet to do that.

Being the third Dividend last night, not a lot of matches were completed, but as always we did have some close results. Josh Slominski (“Butter Nutz”) somehow managed to fend off the lob / drop attack of Jerry Rock (“Mongoose”) for a 2-1 victory; Jim Miller (“Winky-Dinks”) was too steady for Margi Scholtes (“Foss-ters”) and took a 2-1 win; Elliot Shafer (“Mercedes”) continues to impress with his 2-1 won over Scott Langenburg (“Destiny”); and Glen Milligan (“Wardogs”) was just able to edge out Nick Scavone (“WallEED”) 2-1.

Week 4 is just around the corner – make-up matches are piling up quickly for many. Better do something about them before they overwhelm…

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Boasters League round 2~~

You know? The team captained by Rich Stimson? The team that won the Boasters League title last year? The team that lingered for the entire first half of this season in the bottom half of the standings? Well, they’re baaa-aaack! At least for this week. Playing against Rich’s arch nemesis, Patrick Petz and his squad “Mercedes”, the two teams completed 10 of 13 matches for round 2 – 4 more than any other team -  and each picked up 8 bonus points – also a week’s best.

The catapulted “Vivio’s” from 5th to 1st. It also catapulted “Mercedes” from 9th to 8th, which doesn’t sound like much, but considering “Mercedes” had the week one bye, it’s significant. Each team won 5 matches each, and in the result of the two captains, Rich won this particular battle 3-0 over Patrick – albeit in 3 close games. In other results, Elliot Shafer (“Mercedes”) jumped up 3 spots for the second half, but didn’t miss a step as he took care of Shail Arora (“Vivio’s”) 3-0; Peter Ulbrich is starting to find old form taking a 2-1 victory over Jon Walton, and Jerry Solomon proved too wily for Bill Rivard taking a 2-1 triumph.

Struggling out of the gate in 2013 is “Foss-ters” and “Wardogs”. They played only 1 match last night and between them only picked up 11 points – 8 of them bonus points. They will find themselves with an enormous mountain to climb in order to avoid being eliminated from the play-offs unless they start to get on court.

The much hyped about match of the week (not!) was between Sante Fratarcangeli (“Butter Nutz”) and Dave Devine (“WallEED”). It was 1 game all when I left them upstairs, Dave coming off the court with a little fist pump having taken the second game. His momentum clearly couldn’t be kept when 15 minutes later the 2 of them walked into my office – Sante’s wide grin on his face was all I needed to see. Dave’s fist was now nursing a beer.

Week 3 of the league is also the night of the second Blackballer Dividend. Matches will only be scheduled from 4.30pm to 7pm. All other matches are listed as self schedule so many of you will have some arranging to take care of. Make sure you do. Especially if you are a “Foss-ter” or “Wardog”. It will too late too quickly for you if you don’t.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Boasters League round 1~~

Just where they left off mid December, the “Winky-Dinks” already are claiming top spot on the standings. Albeit by one point, but you can’t knock a healthy start. “WallEED” are in unfamiliar territory sitting in second place, and can probably attribute that to having played against the “Winky-Dinks”! The ladder is pretty close all the way down, and yes, its early going so not too much can be read into it right now. Although, I much rather be a “Winky-Dink” than a “Foss-ter” at this moment… (I’ll leave “Mercedes” out of the conversation since they had the bye).

It was a strong start to the second half of the season in terms of attendance. Not mind-blowing, but a good amount of matches and players were present. Scores of 2-1 seemed to be the order of the day, as over 70% of the results ended up that way. I like that. It means matches are competitive and close – just what the league should be.

The closest match of the evening went to Dave Devine (“WallEED”) and Kevin Kennedy (“Winky-Dinks”). Kevin won 2-1, but all 3 games were 15-14! You simply cannot get it any tighter! There is no way I could list all the matches that were 2-1 (well... I could, but I not going to) and I hope that this is an indication of what’s to come for the next 3 months or so: plenty of participation, plenty of close scores, and plenty of socializing. Now if everyone can make up plenty of matches too, we’d be all set. Which reminds me to say – like I do every start of the season – get your matches done! Don’t fall behind!

The season has once again kicked off full steam ahead. Let’s make the most active on record!

Monday, January 7, 2013


When I wrote an article advertising the Farris Cup a month ago, I used words such as: “annihilation”; “slaughter”; “extermination”... Well, after Saturday, here are a few more: Decimation. Cataclysm. Ruination. Butchery. Need I go on?

By now, many of you have heard about the result of the 9th Annual Farris Cup versus the Birmingham Athletic Club. Before I get into into what happened, just let me go on record saying that the event is a wonderful creation of George Haggarty and Walter Oehrlein (BAC). The concept of the competition is to foster the relationship between the DAC and the BAC with  fierce-but-friendly match-play. Matches that - in the utopian squash world - should all go the distance and be decided in a 5th game tie-break. Of course that would be impossible, but I am sure you get the point. Unfortunately, since 2010, it had been anything but utopian.

There were seventeen matches this year. Fourteen singles and three doubles. Traditionally, the DAC has not performed well in the doubles. We have no argument here. The BAC top players are simply better than our top players. Although, we almost pulled a win out of the bag this year. In the A level, Kirk Haggarty and John Birgbauer took Mike Parks and Dave Cosgrove the distance. A long, excellent 5-setter we found ourselves on the wrong end of. It is not an uncommon theme. The DAC find themselves often falling short of the finish line in 5 set matches. Why? Because we don’t play enough. We cannot expect to win under such circumstances when we step on court sporadically at best, and don’t play events outside of the DAC walls. That’s a discussion for another day, and not the reason for our Farris Cup demise. We went down 3-1 in the Doubles B and 3-0 in the Senior category.

There were two other 5-setter on the day. Eric Green in the 5.0 level lost 3-2 to Terry Barr. It seems to be par for the course for Terry who has gone to 5 games for the past three years, this being the first one he ended up the victor. Eric was disappointed to lose of course but admitted he ran out of gas in the last game. A casualty of the point made above.

Tom MacFarlane performed admirably in his 5 set loss to Alan Howard in the 2.5 level. I had a lesson with Tom a couple of days before the match and laid out a game plan for him (sorry, Alan, but you were representing the enemy!). We were honestly not expecting Tom to win any games, but sticking to the strategy paid off very well. Not enough to take the match, but the well timed drops caught Alan lagging behind often and Tom earned his games.

Let’s sprinkle this report with a little good DAC news. Sante Fratarcangeli was the first player to put a scratch on the win column for us. Playing John Kello, Sante won the first game easily but John then removed his knee brace which appeared to loosen up his body but tighten up his squash for the second to even the score. Sante came out in third with improved length and the result was instant success. He took the game comfortably but again was in a dog fight for the fourth and had to stave off a couple of game balls to eventually take the match 3-1.

DAC Club Champion Pablo Buitron was in the much anticipated bout against BAC number one Jon Uffelman. Jon is a great competitor. Awkward style with a two-handed backhand, very strong (some would say “bullish”), niggly, and doesn’t know when to quit. Pablo is very smooth, quick, has great hands, and seems impossible to fluster. Contrasting approaches and personalities, it was an interesting match. Pablo controlled much of the match and won the first two games comfortably - not easily, but not overly stressful either. For the third, Jon took advantage of a few loose shots and with his ability to hit winners generated a big enough lead to hold off Pablo’s mini comeback. It did look, however, that Jon was tiring. The fourth game went similarly like the first two and Pablo won the entertaining battle 3-1.

Of the eleven other singles matches, one went 3-1, and the remaining ten were 3-0. And we lost every single one of them. Given, a couple of our players carried injuries, but that’s no excuse. If you are on court, you are fair game. Before Sante had won his match, the DAC had already lost the first 10 results and therefore the Farris Cup. The same as last year. For 2013, we lost 2 matches to 15. In the last three years, we have won 8 matches to the BAC’s 39. Now, I don’t have an issue losing, but something is wrong with that scenario.

The Farris Cup is a tradition that should continue. It should continue to include the players from all the levels (2.5 - 5.5), but it should continue as a competitive event. Right now, it’s not. I can assure you that the DAC has no interest in being BAC’s chump year in year out in the name of tradition.

Like on all the articles on The Squash Joint, comments are welcomed and encouraged. I am sure this will generate a few. I ask you keep them civil and constructive.

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