Thursday, February 28, 2013


Boasters League round 8~~

Could it be that round 9 will only be played to see what seeding the 6 finalists will receive? Are the bottom three teams too far behind to even be considered? Going into the last week, the 20 point difference between 6th and 7th looks monumental. Especially when you consider everybody has 7 days left to get as many results in as possible. It has been a lackluster second half in terms of playing matches, and I fear “Destiny”, “Foss-ters”, and “WallEED” are looking at an early league end.

So more of the interest will be focused on which two teams end up first and second and therefore receive the first round bye in the finals. I’m going to put a “brave” prediction forward and say it will be “Winky-Dinks” and “Butter Nutz”.  Even though “Mongoose” is tied with the league leaders right now, they must sit out week 9 with the bye, and I don’t quite see “Mercedes” closing the gap that much. But a lot can happen in a week, there are literally a ton of matches to be made up, and who knows, maybe “WallEED” have it all figured out and are on the brink of a colossal comeback…!

Activity was rather healthy last night, “Winky-Dinks” once again blitzed the bonus point count picking up another 10 and also playing the most round 8 matches up to date (along with “Vivio’s”). “Butter Nutz” had their quietest round of the season with only 4 bonus points and 4 matches completed – something captain Sante wasn’t particularly pleased about this close to the finals. Not that they won’t be playing in them, but finishing top of the standings is a minor victory.

A few tough, close matches to mention: Bruce Shaw (“Wardogs”) went down fighting 2-1 to Terry Lang (“Destiny”), both players coming off the court panting for survival, almost to the point of not being able to put a coherent sentence together; meanwhile on the court next door, Jay Poplawski (“Vivio’s”) and Kevin Kennedy (“Winky-Dinks”) where putting themselves through a similar punishment – with Jay taking the 2-1 win; Bill Rivard (“Vivio’s”) picked up his first win of the second half taking down the effervescent Britt-Marie (“Winky-Dinks”) 2-1 (notice how Britt-Marie doesn’t need a surname attached anymore. Just like ‘Madonna’. We all know who it is!!).

The last round is nigh. MARCH 7 (inclusive) is the deadline for all matches and scores to be in. The quarter final schedule will be sent out on March 8.

Monday, February 25, 2013


Squash. The final frontier. These are the matches of the DAC Squash Classic. Its 4-day mission: To explore strange new opponents, seek out new friends and new socializing partners; to boldly play how no man has played before.

Just like the previous 2 years, the tournament reached capacity well before the deadline. The support from our friends in London and Windsor hasn’t waned and I must shout out a special ‘thank you’ to the London members who made the effort to arrive on Thursday to play. It definitely helped me with the organization. We were also honored this year to have players come from Toronto, Flint, the U.P., Lansing, and we even had 3 come from Pittsburgh who couldn’t actually play due to injury, but decided to come anyway for the festivities. However, no one traveled further than our old red-headed companion Ken MacDonald who made a special appearance all the way from Denver.

DAC representation was also very strong this year, and our members performed admirably. In fact, I would rank this as the best overall result for us since I started running the Classic back in 2005. Let’s recount:

Tom MacEachern and Ted Morris
2.5 draw~ Probably the largest 2.5 draw that I can remember, we had 26 players, 7 of which were women. The closest match of the bracket just happened to be the final match of the Thursday evening. A match that started at around 10pm and didn’t finish until close to 11pm. Niko Ahee and Josh Gershonowicz had the ‘refuse to lose’ attitude that took them to a 4th and 5th game tie break. Niko had a 2 games to 1 lead, and had many chances to win the 4th but Josh just wouldn’t quit. Taking the game 16-14, the 5th was almost as grueling. Match balls were saved by both players, and in the end it was Josh snagging the victory 14-12. It was one of the best matches of the weekend, pity only Josh’s girlfriend and I watched it! Niko went on to win the consolation draw, this time ending up on the winning side of a 5 set marathon taking the final 11-9 in the last game. Josh on the other hand lost his second round. DAC members dominated the quarter finals of the main draw. Tom MacEachern motored through his opponents dropping only 2 games on the way to the final, one to Joey Gaylord and one to Justin Winkelman. Meeting him there was Ted Morris, who also only dropped 2 games on his way - both of them to Joe Schaden in the semi. The final was not as close, Tom was on a mission and completed the 3-0 victory in commanding fashion.

3.0 draw~ Once more, DAC members were in charge of this bracket. Unfortunately, even with the weight of numbers behind us, we couldn’t pull off the win. But we were close. Sean Moran reached the semi with a solid 3-2 win in the quarters over John Corcoran (Franklin) and met up with Sunil Lall from Flint. The result was 3-0 to Sunil, but all 3 games were only decided by 2 points. Sean’s loss could easily have been reversed and if it was we would have been guaranteed a DAC winner. On the other side of the draw, Tom Healy got to the final after beating Tom Fabbri 11-9 in the 5th in their semi. It was a back and forth, taxing battle between the two and no doubt the time Tom Healy spent on court cost him much needed energy to take on Sunil. Not taking any credit away from Sunil, he was the more consistent player in the draw and definitely deserved the win as he beat Tom 3-1.

3.5 draw~ The biggest draw of the tournament, the 29 players had some punishing matches amongst themselves. I can thank a handful of them for pushing the schedule late, but that’s a minor inconvenience when the results are close and the quality of the squash reflects those results. Just to list a few: Justin Jacobs 12-10 in the 5th win over Anil Kathuria; Adam Pole (Windsor) 12-10 in the 5th win over James Van Dyke; Ken “Ginger Bear” MacDonald 11-9 in the 5th win over Justin Jacobs only to lose 3-2 in his next round to Elliot Shafer. Three of the four semi finalists were DAC members, but just like the 3.0 draw, we had the odds with us but the dice weren’t rolling our way. The man to beat for the draw was a big South African from Flint - Malcolm Hendricks. Malcolm stormed through his matches winning 3-0 all the way to the final but had to pull out a special comeback to actually win it. Al Iafrate was wondering how he was going to tackle Malcolm after beating Mike Petix 3-2 in his semi. Two games into the final, Al wasn’t wondering anymore - he was 2-0 up with now his only worry being fitness. Regrettably, it caught up with him and Malcolm took advantage cleaning Al up in games 3, 4 and 5. Al was done but surely happy with his performance. Malcolm, however still had work to do.
Brien Baker

4.0 draw~ On tour, the South Africans were renowned for their toughness, their ability to work through physical discomfort, and it made anyone playing against them have to prepare themselves for a punishing dogfight. Malcolm Hendricks also entered the 4.0 draw. Now, that’s not unusual - I had about half the registrations playing in 2 categories - but what is unusual is to reach the final of both. By the time Al had finished with him, Malcolm had only a few minutes to get ready for his 8th match of the weekend (and 4th match that day)- the final against Brien Baker. His body was hurting, but his effort was valiant. Brien had reached the final by beating his pal Phil Pitters 3-1 in round 1, Matt Osburn (Toledo) 3-1 in round 2, and taking a tough 3-2 win from Marcus Plowright (London). It was clear that as hard as Malcolm tried, he simply couldn’t keep up enough against Brien and inevitably he went down 3-1. The gallant South African could now relax and enjoy his beer.

Andrew Pitters and Berto Mill
4.5 draw~ The story of David slewing Goliath. The result of this category has created more chatter than any other. Berto Mill. A 13 year old - a small 13 year old - from Windsor has proven to all of us that you don’t need to be big and strong to win. Just good. Very good, in fact. After Berto beat Phil Pitters 3-1 in the first round, everybody looked at Phil sideways asking how on earth he could let that happen. Phil didn’t have any answers, and nor did Peter Shumaker - who also lost 3-1 to him, or George Kordas who couldn’t win any games, or London’s Murray Shaw. Could Berto possibly win the division? Andrew Pitters was his last opponent. Andrew played very well to get to the final, beating Anthony Fracchia 11-9 in the 5th in the second round which I sadly missed but have been told it was a sensational contest and up there for match of the tournament. It was a great final. The only downer was that it was 3-0. The crowd wanted more. But Berto was done. He had already won. Now, just wait until Berto actually grows and does get bigger and stronger. He’ll be a fine(r) young player.

Jed Elley and Aly Somani
5.0 draw~ Did I say that South Africans are tough? The DAC has it’s own in Jed Elley. Smooth and quick, Jed was always a favorite in my mind to take the 5.0 division. He didn’t let me down. A solid performance all through the weekend, he was basically too consistent for all that stood in his way. He played the final against Aly Somani (Toronto) and after a rough start losing the first game, he gathered himself nicely together to take full control of the match and charge through the next three games. It was a competitive draw - only 7 of the 20 matches were 3-0.

5.5 draw~ Only an 8-man draw this year, DAC interest was centered on our club champion Pablo Buitron. We were all looking forward to his semi final match against Mark Eugeni (Windsor) and it was a match worth waiting for. Pablo took a 2-0 lead with steady, tight squash, not allowing Mark to use his trademark racquet skills too effectively. But he couldn’t keep it up and Mark doesn’t need much encouragement to start slotting a few winners and grabbing the momentum. Games 3 and 4 went to the Canadian, which set up the 5th into an all out wrestling match. Great long rallies, Pablo at one stage executing a full length body dive, desperate to stay alive. In the end, though, Mark had a couple of shots too many in the bag and took the 5th 13-11. That moved him into the final where for the third year running he was to play Brad Hanebury (London). And for the third year running, Brad won. This time it was 11-8 in the 5th. Last year it was 11-9 in the 5th.

Doubles~ If you are still awake, I’ll quickly run through the doubles results. Very tight matches plagued the tournament, exactly what the doctor ordered. The DAC did have one winner - Mike Counsman in the Doubles B won the final 3-2 with partner Paul Gebrael (Windsor). Mark Eugeni with his partner in crime Jon Uffelman (BAC) got revenge on Brad as he beat him in the Doubles A final 3-1, and in the Doubles C, Ron Henry and Heather Betts (London) stopped the winning run of team Smith (Lindsay and Anne from London) who had won it the previous 2 years with a well played 3-1 victory.

So the curtain closes on another successful Classic. Our sponsors are to be heartily thanked, the event wouldn’t run if it wasn’t for your generous support. I look forward to seeing you all again in 2014 - the weekend after the Superbowl. Mark it on your calendar, and make sure you enter early if you plan on playing.

To see all the results of the tournament, go to: DAC Classic Tournament Results

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Boasters League round 6~~

It’s a hole that at least to me, looks way too deep to dig out of. Like dooms day preppers, “WallEED” have entrenched themselves solidly in the cellar, barricaded the entrance, set up camp, and appear to have no intention of ever finding daylight. Being only 15 points off the 6th (and last) finals berth doesn’t sound all that disastrous, but considering there are only 3 rounds left and they have the bye next week, we could be saying ‘bye-bye’ to them relatively soon. They have “WallEED” themselves into a corner. (You know I’ve been waiting all season long to release that gem…)

The other team on the precipice is “Foss-ters” Currently 7th, they have the bye week in round 8 to look forward to which very possibly could be the nail in their coffin for the season as well. These two teams have an awful lot of work to do if they want to salvage anything. And we may as well throw “Destiny” into that mix, although they have already had their bye week, but playing catch-up from 8th is not a position you want to be in.

It was a quiet night on the courts for round 6 and I’m guessing it was because of the DAC Classic starting today. People are resting up before the big weekend. However, it did not stop the “Winky-Dinks” from collecting 10 bonus points – one more point than they collected on the court. A couple tough results to mention: Rich Stimson (“Vivio’s”) hustled his way to a 2-1 win over Paul Huth (“Mongoose”), as did Bruce Vande Vusse (“Mongoose”) over Jay Poplawski (“Vivio’s”). Anthony KalogeridisWinky-Dinks” picked up his first victory of the season beating Blake Kenny (“Wardogs”) 2-1; and Paul Flanagan (“Destiny”) held off the awkward style of Andy Housey (“WallEED”) for a 2-1 triumph.

With 3 weeks to play before the finals start, questions are raised: Can “WallEED”, “Destiny” and “Foss-ters” make a concerted effort to avoid elimination? Who will end up on top of the standings? Will Sante’s “Butter Nutz” ask him to stop wearing inside-out tracksuit pants? What was the best thing before sliced bread? Much to contemplate.

Most importantly, take note of your deadline to have all the scores in to me: Thursday, March 7 (inclusive). That’s 3 weeks away.

I leave you with another photo from BMO’s pics from last week. This one is of Brittany Paquette attacking the keg. Probably something we’ll see a lot of over the next 4 days. (And not just from Brittany!)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Two weeks after you have flushed all the beer from your veins from the DAC Classic, it is time to refill yourself with a weekend trip to Toledo! There is nothing like following up a long weekend playing squash and drinking with a long weekend playing squash and drinking. And it’s only an hour away. I’ll be hanging out all weekend working on my partying squash and be trying to out- drink play my opponents.

One of the biggest attractions of this event are the beer-servers on the Friday night. They do a magnificent job making sure you never see the bottom of your beer cup. I realize it’s a little sexist – after all, the models are for the guys – so for all the ladies who would like come, I am sure as the night wears on you could ask some of the male participants to serve you. They’ll be falling over themselves to accommodate. Word of warning though – careful what you wish for!

Since the main focus of the trip is drinking playing squash, there are numerous categories to choose from. All categories are mixed. The age groups: 40+; 50+; 60+. Levels: A (5.5 and up); B (4.5 – 5.5); C (3.5 – 4.5); D (2.5 – 3.5); Hardball singles A/B; and E/novice (self-explanatory!). I will be playing in the Open category, an invite 8-man event. The organizer – Jon Seidel – invites 8 pros out every year to complete for booze pride and more booze trophies. I must say, he is the ultimate host.

Now the catch. Their infamous courts. When you arrive at the Toledo Club, make sure you bring the following: A map. A compass. Extra food and water. A flare. Overnight provisions. A will. A GPS device. Deep in the dungeon of the Toledo Club you will find a keg 5 squash courts. People have been known to get lost and never seen again while on the search for these courts. (Rumors have it that that is really what happened to Rob Welsh, our long-lost member who played a couple of years ago and hasn’t been seen since.) I am sure there are a few skeletons in the closet throughout the bowels of the building (literally!). Best bet is to follow your senses – the smell of beer sound of the squash ball will get you there…

Once you find your way, the keg squash courts are those small white boxes lined up – you may think to yourself that you have grown a foot and half during your arduous downward trek, or you have ventured into the land of Lilliput, but that’s actually not the case. The Toledo courts are in fact smaller – 2 and a half feet narrower than what you will be used to. It’s an experience to play on – and a challenge you should relish. It will take a lot of booze practice to get comfortable, so make sure you stay drunk relaxed and enjoy the drinking squash.

Check out the poster for all the details – including special price on a tournament hotel which is less than 5 minutes from the club. So join me for a weekend of great social fun. It’s a perfect way to work on your squash drinking.

Friday, February 8, 2013


Not too many members have improved quite at the rate as this young man. Just about 12 months into his playing career and already he is knocking on the door of the 3.5 level, which he may just barge through instead. He won every match he played in the first half of the boasters league 3-0 and jumped up 3 spots for the second half and still hasn’t lost.. Few members are on court as often – in fact, outside of myself, no one has made more court reservations. Clearly, that dedication is paying off.

The Squash Joint (TSJ): You know you have improved rapidly. Did you think you would do so at such a speed, and how far do you believe you can go? Don’t be modest now…

Squash is an awesome sport that I would recommend to anyone of all athletic abilities.  Frustrating for sure but lord is it addictive. Getting better at anything in life takes practice and I have really committed myself to improving so yes, I did and still do think I can improve as much as I want to with constant effort. As for how much I could improve, honestly I would like to compete with the best of the best at club level. Hopefully someday I will take a club championship or two.  You know though, after witnessing the onslaught that BAC dished out to us in the Farris Cup, I really walked away offended.  Goals for my second year of playing are to win the club championship at whichever level I compete, so that next year I can have the opportunity to take on a sandbagger over at Bushwood.

TSJ: This clearly isn’t your first athletic endeavor. What other sport or sports did you participate in before squash? How does squash compare?

Squash really doesn’t compare to any other sport that I have played before. I have always been a good athlete and love to compete but growing up I was always playing team sports. In high school I played hockey, lacrosse and football and now have taken on distance running.  With lacrosse and hockey it takes a tremendous amount of hand eye coordination to excel and obviously endurance is the key to running so those are really the only similarities to squash that I see.  I would say squash has been most challenging to me though.  To be able to combine endurance, fines, coordination, speed, strength and stamina all at such a fast pace is really hard to say the least.  

TSJ: You have been given the ability to speak to the entire population of the planet at the same time. Every single person is listening. What do you say?

Calm down…

TSJ: The population of the world was so impressed with what you said; they made you President for a day. Name one law you would add / change / remove. Why?

Voter registration should be screened by a US history exam and Guns limited to those willing to take a mental health screening. 

TSJ: Without choosing your current occupation, what would be your dream job? 

 Professional athlete more specifically to play for the wings  

TSJ: What one event in the history of the world would you have liked to witness? (Past or present)

Wow that’s a tough question.  Probably the American Revolution or be able to witness the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. 

TSJ: If Hollywood made a movie of your life, who would you want to play you? Which actress would be the love interest?

Patrick Swayze.  “Nobody puts baby in corner.”
Too many to actresses to choose from but Jennifer Anniston sure would look good next to me.

TSJ: What was the last…
a)                  Book you read…  Arguing with idiots by Glen Beck
b)                  Movie you saw that wasn’t your choiceNot sure probably the notebook
c)                  Words you said to your ex-girlfriend… Leave me alone, please. Well please might not be exactly true but along those lines.
d)                  Item of clothing you bought A pair of jeans
e)                  New Year’s resolution you made but couldn’t even come close to keeping… Well I lost to Dane in squash before the New Year and told myself I would never lose to him again.  So far it has held up.
f)                   Time you tried something you haven’t tried before…Using my friends mac to work something out in excel, never again.  

TSJ: You can use one word answers or elaborate…
a)      Star Trek or Star Wars?  Star Wars, these two don’t compare.
b)      Beer or hard liquor? I don’t drink, hah.
c)      Football or baseball? Squash
d)      Michael Jordan or LeBron James MJ all day
e)      Adventure holiday or relaxing beach vacation? Depends on my mood but after this cold spell I’ll take the beach
f)       Sea food or steak? Steak, 125°
g)      Xbox or Wii? Xbox
h)      Ferrari or Lamborghini? Ferrari
i)        Bungy jump or sky-dive? I hate heights so ill watch from below.
j)        For 24 hours straight, be forced to listen to Justin Bieber or be forced to listen to the Wiggles? No questions asked, Bieber fever baby.

TSJ: Now to see if you are willing to embarrass yourself a little. Just one final question(s) aimed to reveal something about you a bit more personal. Ready? What is the worst Christmas gift that you have ever knowingly given somebody? Why did you do that? What was the worst gift you have ever received and what did you do with it?

Well in college my buddies and I all had a gift exchange and well never mind these things are better left unsaid.  Worst gift I have ever received came from the same exchange a year later so again, let’s move on.

I appreciate Elliot taking the time to answer these in-depth, probing questions! With the amount of time he spends on court, it will be interesting to see just how far up the ranks (and how quickly) he will rise. I am sure many players are looking over their shoulders worried they could be his next victim. He is one of the first members to take on the job of organizing an event himself (along with Anil Kathuria) when they ran a tournament the day before Thanksgiving… should I be looking over my shoulder too…?

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Boasters League round 5~~

The “Butter Nutz” have spoken. It’s a pretty loud and clear declaration that they will be the ones to beat for the 2012-2013 Boasters League title. In a match-up with one of the other top 4 teams yesterday – the “Winky-Dinks” - the “Butter Nutz” opened a large can of kick-$@&* and squarely delivered knock-out blows all evening long. With 8 matches completed, they won seven of them – four of which were 3-0. None more impressive than Andy Adamo’s 3-zip win over Manny Tancer. And it wasn’t as if Manny didn’t play well - Andy played his best squash of the season, which is perfect timing leading into next week’s DAC Classic.

On the broken record of repeating myself, the bottom four teams also kept to the script. In fact, between the four of them, they picked up as many points last night combined as the “Butter Nutz” did on their own! Clearly that won’t get the job done. Maybe they are fighting not to get into the play-offs?

The closest match of the evening went to Andrew Tignanelli’s (“Butter Nutz”) win over Niko Ahee (“Winky-Dinks”). It was 3-0, but 15-13; 15-14; 15-14. Obviously Niko was disappointed not to pick up at least one of those games if not all three! Xander Wagner (“Butter Nutz”) scored his 3rd win of the half with a 2-1 victory over Britt-Marie Olofsson (“Winky-Dinks”) and Dan Houlf (“Mercedes”) recorded his first win with a 2-1 triumph over Tom Bergh (“Mongoose”).

With four rounds to go – and yes, there is league next week, the day before the DAC Classic starts – it appears the standings may already be determined for the 6-team play-offs… or at least 4 of the teams look safe. “Butter Nutz” will be sitting out next week, but with a 17 point lead may still be league leaders anyway. The bottom two teams play each other as well and could really help themselves out with some commitment to play the matches and turn up. If not, they will most likely find the hurdle to catch up too big.

I will leave you with a photo from bubbly BMO who snapped a few shots last night of posing members. The first one is Peter Shumaker gnashing his teeth and threatening to knock out yours. But not to worry, he is after all a dentist.

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