Toledo Tournament – Mar 1-3
I’ll toot the same ol’ horn again, with the same scratchy tune: Why don’t more members experience this tournament? I’m frankly shocked since it really couldn’t be easier. The social life is great, it’s easy to get to, and the beer is from the same never-ending well as ours from the DAC Classic. What more could you ask for?
This squash tournament truly is about the camaraderie. Not the squash. Oh, we play that too, but the emphasis is shifted to the off-court activities. So much so, that often the on-court activities take a severe beating. Players suffer in their performances. You can blame the pygmy courts all you like where even hitting on your own you feel like you want to call an interference let on yourself, but truth be told, we are all in the same boat (or mini-raft) and going to bed at 4am the night before isn’t exactly conducive to the perfect match preparation.
Peter Logan represented us in the hardball A (singles) – a trip he has been making annually for at least 25 years now. A 3-1 winner in his first round where he played Andy Effler of the Effler plague, (I’m sure there’s a separate phone book in Toledo with the heading “The Efflers”), Andy must have felt like he was playing on gigantic courts. Why? Because he lives in Columbus where his club down there has courts 15 ½ feet wide. That’s 3 feet narrower than Toledo’s. How do you play… what on earth… who thought… errrr, what? Do they play with table-tennis paddles? Peter then moved on to face John Seidel – the Toledo squash pro. He lost 3-0, but it was a tight 3-0, and he can take consolation in the fact that John went on to win the division. At least he lost to the winner.
I played the Open and had a relatively easy time of it this year. 3-0 matches all the way through, a couple of my opponents fell victim to preparing themselves for matches with excessive amber liquid intake. I’m not talking about Gatorade or 5-hour energy either.
As usual, the beer girls on Friday night did a superb job. It was a delightful evening as the players just hung out at the club after the matches drinking and chatting away. We eventually moved into the hospitality suite – a room set up for the Open players and their guests to extend the night as far as their bodies allow. Some of the bodies couldn’t keep up, as one of the (women) players decided to pull up a piece of carpet in the middle of the group, fall asleep, let another player clean their feet and then insert olives between her toes. Guess it goes well with cheese. I’m not sure if the olives were devoured – or if they used in the next round of martinis.
Saturday evening is the big formal dinner. Once the speeches were over, it has become customary for one of the pro players - Ray Lindsay from Cleveland – to perform the Haka in front of the crowd. The Haka is a tribal war dance from the Maoris in New Zealand. I’m sure Ray hates it and loves it at the same time, but it didn’t take much convincing for him to take his shirt off, jump on a dinner table and stomp and chant his way to a standing ovation. He almost put holes in the table. After dinner is the annual ‘Spring Fling’ party with live band. We generally hang out for a while before moving onto other venues. It my case, the other venue was bed (I was playing the next day), for others it was to the local watering holes. One of the establishments, I’m told, was a seedy bar that hosted another live band that made thrash metal sound like lullabies. The ‘mosh pit’ was borderline suicidal. Good times. Good times.
And you should all join in on those good times. Do it next year. Join me (and Peter Logan!) and start making this a trip not to pass up.