Thursday, May 30, 2013


Squash has been in this position before. Two new sports were introduced to the Olympic program for the 2016 Games (in Rio). Squash was competing for one of those rare spots and eventually lost out to Rugby 7’s and Golf, something that I still can’t quite wrap my head around that both were considered more worthy. How they lost out was also a little controversial in regards to the way the IOC committee voted. Squash was selected after the first round of voting, but was discarded after a second. It was clear that the IOC wanted sports that can generate advertising dollars. And squash didn’t fit the bill. 
Roger Federer backing the bid with
world number one squash player Nicol David

That golden carrot that was cruelly snatched away from us now dangles once again precariously close to our outstretched fingers. On May 29, the IOC narrowed down the field of how many new sports will be considered to join the 2020 Olympic Games from eight to three. The five sports that were eliminated: wushu, karate, roller-sports, sports-climbing, and wakeboarding. And the three that made the cut: wrestling, baseball and softball, and - thank goodness – squash.

I am a little puzzled, however, at why baseball and softball (who are making a combined bid) made the cut in the first place. Pundits predicted that it had virtually zero chance of getting voted back in after it was cut from the 2012 Games. The main reason being is that the MLB flat out refuse to suspend the baseball season while the Games are taking place. That means that the world’s best players would not be available to compete for their country. I mean, would the Detroit Tigers allow Miguel Cabrera 2 weeks off in August to represent Venezuela? I don’t think so. And, as a Tigers fan, I wouldn’t want them to. The only reason I can see why they made the short list would be money. Baseball is America’s past time. It would still generate more dollars than squash even without major league players. And for softball, America is the best country in the world at it and it would effectively guarantee another medal. That means more advertising dollars too. NBC’s billions of dollars for the Olympic broadcasting rights no doubt carries a little weight. Despite all that, I still don’t think this is much of a threat to squash and I doubt baseball / softball will get in. What does worry me is wrestling.  
Andre Agassi is behind squash too!

Wrestling was shockingly dropped from the Olympic program back in February. An IOC decision that many people weren’t expecting and couldn’t comprehend. Other sports could have made the chop – like the modern pentathlon (I bet you couldn’t name the 5 disciplines). If any sport is supposed to embody the Olympic spirit, be a poster child of a sport that is completely mano-a-mano, then wrestling is it. It is the only sport that (outside of the standard clothing) has absolutely no tools of the trade to assist the athlete. No gloves, no equipment, no special outfits to assist in speed, no racquets… it pits two people against each other and may the strongest, most skilled one win. It has been around since the original modern Olympiad back in 1896.

On top of that, it is also a sport where some lesser ‘athletic’ countries have a decent chance of winning medals. Like Iran. (This, by the way, is the only topic that it sees eye to eye with the USA. USA is also strong in wrestling, and has a lot higher medal chance in that sport compared to squash. An Iran-USA gold medal bout would peak the interest, would it not? Can world politics be an important factor?) Other countries include Cuba. And Turkey. Bulgaria. Uzbekistan. Even Moldova. The IOC likes to look good when the spoils can be spread out. Squash also has that advantage, but in a lesser capacity. Egypt will no doubt still be a major threat in 2020 for the men’s and women’s, there aren’t too many other sports where they would be considered a favorite. Malaysia has Nicol David but she will be 36 by 2020 and will most likely not be competing by then.

So why was wrestling dropped? According to reports, it came down to… you guessed it, dollars. The IOC documents rated wrestling “low” in several criteria for the London 2012 Games. Including popularity, viewership, ticket sales, internet hits and press coverage. It wasn’t generating enough interest, so the advertising dollars would have been lacking. Not good enough that the sport is practically exactly what is required for it to be considered Olympic, what trumps all of that is the fact it doesn’t fill the IOC Olympic sized coffers enough.
Support from the English Rubgy team

And that is bad news for squash. What makes you think that squash will close that financial gap? No one is arguing that squash doesn’t meet all the criteria required to become a part of the Games. All the “official” criteria that is. The “unofficial” prerequisite appears to be how much money can be raised from it. Will it be the decisive issue? If so, then baseball should get in. No one can claim that squash will be more popular than that. But, as I said before, I don’t think baseball / softball will.

Squash’s presentation to the IOC is vastly improved from previous bids. There has been a world-wide on-line push to generate excitement for the sport and there have been many celebrities publicly endorsing it as well. One major advantage squash has over wrestling is that the IOC may be rather reluctant to vote a sport in that it dropped just a few months earlier. They would appear quite ridiculous doing so and it would defeat the purpose of the IOC’s goal of introducing a new sport for 2020. But let’s not underestimate the IOC. Look at what they voted in last time. And, they just elected wrestling onto the short list. What’s more, wrestling was nominated on the first round of voting whereas squash and baseball / softball took several rounds of voting to be chosen. An omen?

If squash were to be elected, the tournament format would be simple enough: 1 men’s singles draw of 32 players and 1 women’s single draw also of 32 players. Thankfully, the softball doubles version doesn’t appear on the menu. I don’t know how the players of each draw would be chosen – whether straight from the world rankings, or 2 players each from the top ranked countries. Either way, a 64 player contingent is very small for an Olympic sport, and only 2 courts would be required to stage the event. Courts, which could be propped up virtually anywhere, and on short notice. So, the cost to run the event, in comparison to other sports is somewhat low. 
Even Diego Maradona has blessed squash
with his "Hand of God"!

The final vote is scheduled for September 8 in Buenos Aires. As will the venue for the 2020 Olympics, which is between Madrid, Tokyo and Istanbul. Istanbul would probably be the worst choice for squash as Turkey is a powerful wrestling country. For the next 3 months, the three sports will be promoting, fine tuning, bragging, pleading, and presenting themselves to death to the world, but more importantly to the IOC. Between now and then, there are no major squash events scheduled anywhere around the world, so there will not be a chance to promote the game the best way we know how – by actually playing it. Olympic inclusion would be an enormous infusion of revenue for squash. Government funding, endorsements, publicity, the potential is rather exciting. But we need to grab that carrot.

My feeling? Without question, squash deserves its place. It’s criminal that it isn’t already Olympic. We have an excellent chance, but the skepticism in me thinks the IOC will re-elect wrestling anyway, regardless of how idiotic that would be. It was idiotic to drop it in the first place, and now they have a chance to correct that mistake. If it was any other sport squash was competing against, we’d be munching away on carrot sticks.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Summer League round 2~~
That’s a little more like it. For the opening week of the summer league, “Scuttlebutts” were nowhere to be seen, heard, or found. That stealth tactic paid absolutely no dividends as for the first time ever, a team failed to score even one point in a round 1 of a season. But they picked themselves up, came out of the darkness they were hiding in and jumped up all the way to 5th place, just 1 point of 4th with a 25 point surge. No team picked up more points over the week, although “Naval Fluff” came close with 22.

Loose Cannons” remain in top spot, still by 5 points over “Get Some and Flop Some”. They are also the only team where every player has scored at least one point. “Off The Radar” will be exactly that unless they pick up the pace as they fall behind into last place. With just 9 matches played, they have only won one of them – five of those losses have been 1-2, so they have been competitive but aren’t getting over the third game hump.

After round 2, the glaring obvious statistic once again is repeating itself. The top four teams are the ones with the most bonus points… If you want your team to get to the finals, I suggest a trip to the club on Mondays is in order.

There were 11 matches last night that went 2-1. One of the closest of the evening was Mike Rock’s (“Scuttlebutts”) 2-1 victory of Terry Lang (“Loose Cannons”) with two of their games coming down to sudden-death. Josh Slominski (“Lunge-Lob Split-Pants”) also scraped in a 2-1 win over the not-to-be-underestimated Tom Fabbri (“Get Some and Flop Some”) and Brien Baker (“Naval Fluff”) pulled a rabbit out of his hat beating Paul Van Tol (“Off The Radar”) 2-1, 15-14 in the third.

I am not overly keen on the two week break the league will have. While participation hasn’t been awesome, it hasn’t been too bad either and I’d hate to sever any momentum. But next week is Memorial Day, and the week after is the 3B’s golf outing. Going on previous years where the league has been scheduled the same day as the golf outing, participation has been very weak. So this year, we’ll skip it. The good news is that everybody has 2 weeks to get some much needed make-up matches completed – or, if you are really savvy, get some matches completed ahead of time!

Interestingly, we have the top 2 teams scheduled to play each other in round 3, and we have the two bottom teams to have at each other as well. Will the bonus point statistic remain intact?

Monday, May 20, 2013


Excuses? There are none. If you walk on the court, you are fair game. The simple truth is that when you lose, your opponent was a better player than you on the day. However, each and every one of us searches for some explanation to appease ourselves of those losses. It is actually common to hear excuses before the match starts, just to insert that little nugget of doubt into your opponents head that any victory he may be getting will have an asterisk next to it. Any loss should motivate you to work harder next time. The Squash Poet, however, does not quite see it that way!

With all things being equal it’s clear to all
That I am the one who hits a better ball
But with every victory I am denied
The fate of the Gods is on your side
I’m stronger and faster, fitter and braver
But the cookie always crumbles in your favor
I’m full of excuses with each infraction
To take away your winning satisfaction!

The Squash Poet

“Not my Fault”

(Sung to the tune of “Beat It” by Michael Jackson)

I’m sick and tired of losing every damn game,
The whole world is against me so I’m not to blame,
No matter how I try it always ends the same,
Not my fault, not my fault.

I would have won the match but my ankle hurts me,
And I strained my back last week along with my knee,
Plus the three broken ribs and the lobotomy,
Not my fault, I’m doing my best….

Not my fault, my fault, my fault
The vendetta against me won’t halt,
It’s a conspiracy I can’t comprehend,
Before the match starts I’m already condemned,
Not my fault, my fault
Not my fault, my fault
Not my fault, my fault
Not my fault, my fault

The court was too cold and the lights were too bright,
The ball was too fast and my shorts too tight,
I was too tired to run, I didn’t sleep at all last night,
Not my fault, not my fault.

The referee wouldn’t give me that stroke,
My racquet wasn’t right, I think my strings had broke,
My opponents under-graded and the rankings are a joke,
Not my fault, I’m doing my best…


(Bonus verses...)
I’m working too much, crashed on the highway,
I ate some bad food at the work buffet,
Santa Clause hit me with his reindeer sleigh,
Not my fault, not my fault.

Tornado came down; there was a major earthquake,
Tsunami wiped me out, an Ebola outbreak,
I was caught in a gang war and got shot by mistake,
Not my fault, I’m doing my best…


(More bonus verses...)
I give you these excuses before we get on court,
Maybe you’ll go easy if I am distraught,
It’s got nothing to do that I’m a real bad sport,
Not my fault, not my fault.

It’s my safety net if you happen to win,
Since I’m not man enough to take it on the chin,
I’ve never lost when I’m fit and that’s the real sin,
Not my fault, I’m doing my best…

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Summer League round 1~~

A few numbers first: 80: That’s how many players we have registered for the Summer League. 25%: Percentage increase of the size of the league compared to last year. 8: That’s how many subs we have. If all 8 registered on time, the league could have been 88 strong! I just thought I would share that with you because it proves how much more play the courts are experiencing. It’s the start of the summer and yes, it’s not the same as the colder months, but even the number of box ladders participants increased this month to its highest ever level: 120.

Here’s another number: 0. That’s how many points team “Scuttlebutt” scored yesterday in round one of the summer league. Not one single match played, not one single bonus point earned. I believe they forgot it started. Talk about digging yourself into an early hole. I expect – together with their opponents “Off the Radar”, that they will be making up those matches asap… right?

Loose Cannons” started off the season with a strong performance winning 5 of 6 matches and picking up 6 bonus points as well. Their only loss was Jim Stroh who went down to the long reach of Brien Baker 2-1. “Get Some and Flop Some” find themselves in second place due to the fact of collecting 7 bonus points last night, even though they won only 2 of 5 matches.  

Arnaud (an archive
photo from 2009)

In individual results, we had one of most intense DAC rivalries building right now in Elliot Shafer v Sante Fratarcangeli. In their most recent result, Sante beat Elliot in a 5th game tie break in the semi final of the club championships. Both fervent competitors, this match was no less spirited. Sante (“Beer Ahoy!”) pulled out the 2-1 win, with Elliot (“Lunge-Lob Split-Pants”) left to ponder the ‘what-ifs’ for another day. Not to worry, he’ll get another chance before too long.

Chris Moyer (“Loose Cannons”) held off the ball-smashing John Mann (“Naval Fluff”) who must have a serve equivalent to the power of an Andy Roddick. It’s amazing the court still has a front wall, and his racquet still has strings. And special mention to my French ‘ami’ Arnaud Mangin (“Get Some and Flop Some”) who is making his welcome return to the squash court after almost a year off with a nasty shoulder injury. He shook the rust off quickly as he dealt Chuck Doyle (“Bermuda Try Angles”) a 3-0 (close) loss.

Well, you all know the drill. Get your matches in, turn up on Mondays. The four teams that stick to that formula better will find themselves in the play-offs.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


2013 Club Championships Doubles

With the A division already decided, the C and B categories have felt a little disconnected. I feel it is important to showcase the top players in any tournament, but not at the expense of the rest. They aren’t trying any less, and in fact make up most of the entries! Thankfully, the numbers didn’t suffer this year for the C’s and B’s – they were exactly the same as last year.

Doubles C~~
I am going to make a special mention here because outside of Renee McDuffee (who sadly is no longer a member), we don’t (or didn’t) have any women doubles players at all. But we do now – Brittany Paquette. She took the plunge – straight into the frigid waters of the deep end – and decided to enter having never played doubles before. Partnering up with Steve Murphy, they took on another couple of greenhorns to the game, Elliot Shafer and Joey Gaylord. Brittany and Steve lost 3-0, but it was encouraging to see a female out there. And she must have enjoyed herself because not only has she joined in the summer doubles league, she has convinced Margi Scholtes to try it out too!
Elliot and Joey then had a tough task ahead of them in their second match taking on the experienced duo of Ken Katz and Joe Moran. Ken and Joe are the 2012 C champions and had a very good chance at repeating. And maybe they took it a little easy knowing their young opponents weren’t very familiar with the doubles court, because before they knew what hit them, they were 2 games to 0 down. The veterans fought their way back into the match but it could have slipped away from them very easily. They knew they had “gotten away with one” after winning in 5: 12-15; 14-16; 15-9; 18-16; 15-11. Advancing to the semi final, they then played Andrew Spohn and Paul Flanagan. Paul has also won the C title before – back in 2011 with then partner Mike Petix. A ‘scrappy’ player (and I mean that in the nicest possible way!), Paul hustles around the court with deceptive swiftness, keeps the ball in play, and makes life awkward for his opponents. And Andrew is a leftie, so the team has two forehands! They took good care of Ken and Joe beating them in 4 games to make the final.

On the other side of the draw, the number one seed also had a leftie – Craig Hupp. His team mate was Bob Garvey, and the two had little issues reaching the semi final, where another rightie-leftie combination waited for them in Tom MacFarlane and Tom McCarthy. This tournament must have had the least amount of backhand shots ever played. The two Tom’s put up decent resistance, but not quite enough. Craig and Bob claimed the 3-1 victory and moved on to play the Spohn / Flanagan team.

The final battle of forehands was an entertaining affair. Both teams had a similar style of extending the rallies, chasing down anything and everything. It was a little like watching a pinball machine where the ball just bounces off everywhere at every angle, except you had four bodies running after it. If you think you can’t get a work-out playing doubles, these teams would have proved you wrong. The court is big, and there is plenty of room to get a full head of steam! The result could have gone either way, but in the end it was Paul Flanagan picking up a second title and Andrew Spohn his first as they collected a court-sprint filled 3-1 triumph!

Doubles B~~
Last year I mentioned that ‘familiarity breeds success’. Only one team in last year’s B draw stayed the same this year: Patrick Petz and Rich Stimson. Even the long standing couple of John Dunwoody and Chris Terry split up for new partners which was strange considering they won last year together and they had been joined at the hip for many years. John paired up with Mark Hayduk this year – another vet – and after a 3-0 round 1 win, went down in four games to Patrick and Rich. The Petz / Stimson duo then had to tackle Chris Terry and his new partner – Greg Rivard. An effective combination with the left-handed Chris playing the role of “steady-Eddie” and Greg being the enforcer- he can certainly belt the rubber off the ball. Patrick and Rich needed to be sharp. And for the most part, they were. A back-and-forth contest as the two teams traded games. In the 5th, Chris and Greg seized the early momentum and wouldn’t let up as the powered through for the victory and a place in the final.
On the other side of the draw, I had my eye on Shail Arora and Eric Green to reach the final too. Winning their first match 3-0, their semi final had them up against the experienced Peter Shumaker and his new-to-doubles partner Sean Fossee. Peter and Sean were up against it, Sean would need to be a quick learner and Peter would need to be consistently accurate and use his ‘tennis’ volleys to maximum effect. Regrettably, this match never eventuated as an injury forced the Shumaker / Fossee team to withdraw.

The final was played at 7.30 in the morning so I wasn’t witness to the match. I am going to presume it was a blockbuster battle, gut-wrenching rallies with dazzling winners, played with the most gentlemanly sportsmanship. I’m probably not far off, and once the dust had settled, it was Greg Rivard and Chris Terry walking off 3-1 winners.

Even though we still mostly had the more experienced doubles players take the titles this year, we are seeing more and more intermediates takes to the court. They learn fast. How long will it be before they catch up to their practiced counterparts?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


PST World Championship May 3-5

This year’s line-up for the PST World Championship had a very different look than 2012’s. Only David Palmer was a repeat performer, and he came in to the event as the hot favorite. Seven new challengers were desperate to prevent the big Australian from claiming his first PST title and we witnessed some unbelievable squash that left the membership picking up their jaws trying to figure out just how the players do what they do. Shots that appear irretrievable are not, angles that seem physically impossible are found, reactions give the impression of something out of the movie ‘Matrix’, and fitness levels that must be inhuman.
David Palmer and a humbled Doug
"I-have-no-mirrors-in-the-house" Troszak
after their hit around
Just like in 2012, the PST crew becomes integrated into the DAC squash family for the time they are here. From Joe McManus and David Palmer coming in a day early to referee the Club Championship final and then joining us the presentation dinner, the Saturday morning hit around with the sponsors and the Racquet Up Detroit kids, to the Saturday night chaperoning that Doug Troszak, Britt-Marie Olofsson and a couple of other members did, taking the players out for dinner and late night activities! Friendships are forged, memories are lasered into the brain, and most importantly the endless smiles from everybody make the whole thing worth the effort.

Not to be overlooked are the promotional efforts of Georgetta Morque, PST’s one-women marketing department. Georgetta works extremely diligently making sure the tournament and the DAC receive as much exposure as possible through the local television, radio, newspapers and on-line sites. It is a wonderful ‘extra’ that the PST put into their events.
Brad Thompson and Josh Cardwell with the
kids from Racquet Up Detroit

The first round of matches on the Friday was not as close as I anticipated. I expected David Palmer to win 3-0 and he did over Greece’s Fabian Kalaitzis, although initially it looked like at least a 4-setter. Fabian sprinted out of the blocks and caught Palmer flat-footed and a little dazed. It was 10-3 before any of us knew what was happening. Instead of rolling over and concentrating on the second game, Palmer knuckled down and refused to let Fabian simply take the game. He picked up his length, stepped forward another step to the ‘t’ and proceeded to run his opponent from corner to corner. He saved 7 game balls to initiate the tie-break before eventually taking it 14-12. Fabian was cooked. For the next two games he was in survival squash mode as his legs couldn’t keep up. A few decent winners made the 11-7 score lines look rather respectable. The other 3 matches also resulted in 3-0 white-washes. While it was high-quality squash, there was always the one player in control and they weren’t really threatened.  
Some of the players and members
in the DAC bowling alley

Then came the semi-finals. And the spectators were in for real treat. First up we saw David Palmer and Stefano Galifi. Stefano is a very interesting player. Incredibly smooth around the court, he has a remarkable lunge and stretch and add on the fact he holds his racquet very low on the handle, his retrievable abilities are astounding. He is also Italian, and like many of his countrymen, is a passionate and emotional person. Sometimes, it gets in his way. The two played very close to each other. A drawn out first game had Palmer taking it 12-10 and then Galifi came back to win the second 11-8. Up to this point there had been a number of ‘let’ calls and if you remember, the PST rarely replays a rally (or awards a ‘let’), the point is awarded to one of the two players instead. In other words, it’s either a ‘stroke’ or a ‘no-let’. Palmer and Galifi had numerous interference situations that called on the referee. And many of the referee’s calls were consequently challenged. Galifi thought he was getting hard done by with most of the decisions and he was finding increasin
gly difficult to concentrate. Palmer on the other hand could sense the emotions getting the better of his Italian opponent and stepped up even further to place even more pressure on him. A tense filled third game, more challenges, a little banter starting to creep into it, Palmer eked it out 11-9. That was enough to pop the Italian balloon. A deflated Galifi couldn’t muster up a decent challenge in the fourth and Palmer stormed home 11-2 to take the 3-1 win and a place in the final.

The second semi saw Aussie Wade Johnstone and the young 20-year old Egyptian Mohamed El Sherbini, It was a fast paced encounter and Mohamed showed on occasion a typical Egyptian style with the ability to crack the ball with a surprising angle for a winner. Wade did very well to keep up and he had to rely on his retrieval skills and steadiness. It’s a wonder with the pace of hitting and the speed of the player’s movement that any opportunity to attack the ball would ever present itself, but the excellent ball control and quick reactions – and plenty of patience – the two players seemed to be able to attack regularly. Lots of volley drops, nick attempts, they used all four corners rather effectively. Wade was too steady for Mohamed in the first taking it 11-5, with the second game being a lot closer. Unfortunately for El Sherbini, he lost that 12-10 and was now looking at an exceedingly difficult hill to climb. But he knew he could still beat Wade as he had done so just two weeks before. And he fought back. The long third was taxing and the Egyptian sneaked it 11-9 which must have been a huge confidence booster. Wade also looked like he was starting to get tired. It was the Australian’s turn to change the tide in the fourth and with extra effort the Aussie just managed to hold off El Sherbini to take the game 11-8 and the match 3-1.

Finals day. The 3rd and 4th play-off is great for the spectators. An extra match to watch, they very much appreciate  that. It is, however, mentally difficult for the semi-final losers to front up the next day for this duel, motivated and desperate to win. Stefano and Mohamed maybe did not play with quite the same intensity as the day before, but it was a entertaining affair, comical at times with the quick wit of Galifi. There were still the occasional interference issues, but this match went down to the wire. El Sherbini claimed the victory here 11-8 in the 5th.

Wade Johnstone and David Palmer
The first-class final was a clean a match as I have seen. There were minimal ‘let’ calls, and not one single challenge. Wade jumped out to a quick start – much like Fabian did in round 1 – with exceptional length, and catching Palmer off guard with the pace. Unlike Fabian, Wade was able to take advantage of the lead and closed out the game 11-9. Were we in for a major upset? Not quite. There is a reason that Palmer is one of the legends of the game owning PSA World titles and number one ranking. The ability to change his game to gain the upper hand.  It’s the ability to win. With improved, softer length, Palmer was able to take better control of the middle and that is where he is at hid deadliest best. He cuts the ball off so well and moves you into the front corners mercilessly with pinpoint accurate drops and volleys. Wade was like a little doggy after a ball at times, but I have to give him credit – he hung in there extraordinarily well and proved on many occasions that scrambling enough can pay dividends. The question was, could Wade scramble enough? Palmer knew this and was relentless. He won the second and third games 11-5, 11-6 and could keep his Australian compatriot at a short arm-length away for the fourth as well. Exhausted, Wade would not give up. He found some energy reserve to save a couple of match-balls. A full-length body-dive into the back left corner (which tore off skin and left a nasty size bump on his elbow) was his last ditch effort to save the match… but it failed. A spectacular ending to a spectacular match. Palmer in four games. And his first PST World Championship title!

Before I go, I cannot forget about the generosity of our sponsors. Without them, the event can’t run. We need them. I cannot thank all of them enough – please thank them as well when you see them: Tiffany Douglas / Mike Ottaway with Bank of America; Sean Moran with Morgan Stanley; Bob Garvey – Racquet Up Detroit; Patrick Petz – Skidmore Studios; DJ Boyd – Edward Jones; James Van Dyke – Roxbury Group; Paul Silva – Franklin Templeton; Kevin Prather – Baker Tilly; Glen Milligan – Ameriprise;  Doug Troszak – Troszak North America; Tom MacFarlane – Clark Hill; Tom Fabbri – Aaro Companies; Alan Howard – Burroughs; Tom Shafer – Talmer Bank;  John Dunwoody, Mark Hayduk, Chris Terry and Paul Aubrey – 4 Men in a Box Syndicate. 

Left to right: Bob Garvey, Brad Thompson, Tom MacFarlane, Mohamed El Sherbini
Doug Troszak, Fabian Kalaitzis, Stefano Galifi, Wade Johnstone,
Elliot Shafer, David Palmer, Shahid Khan, Josh Cardwell

We are scheduled to host the PST World Championship in 2014 and 2015. If you are interested in being a part of the prestigious above mentioned group, please come and see me! We need to make this bigger and better. Help us achieve that goal!

Monday, May 6, 2013


Club Championships 2013~~

The Club Championship finals pretty much indicate the conclusion of the 2012-2013 season. And it’s been a ripsnorter. More players, higher usage, better competition, unparalleled camaraderie… every year just gets better and better. Momentum is building, and we should all do our dandiest not to slow it down. We even had an increase in numbers for the May box ladders which is awesome! We crowned seven club champions on May 2, some repeat, some first timers, but all now with the right to brag.

2.5 – Right Said Ted
I don’t expect Ted Morris to be prancing around the corridors singing “I’m too sexy for my forehand”, but he can strut about with his head held high as this year’s 2.5 champion. It was not an easy path to victory either and we could very easily be talking about someone else. But he escaped by the skin of his teeth in his second match against the quickly improving Jay Bonahoom 13-11 in the 5th. These types of wins can commonly be attributed to luck when they are that close and it was all Ted needed to make sure the next couple of results were more clear-cut. A semi final 3-0 victory over Jeff Huebner (who also won his second round 3-2 over Bruce Shaw) had him in the final against Jason Trombley.

Jason’s run was even a little tougher than Ted’s. He had to endure another 5-gamer in his second round against Josh Gershonowicz before tackling the top seeded Chris Moyer. Chris has been another quick learner this season but couldn’t get past Jason and he went down 3-1.

Even though the final was just 3 games, it was a lot closer than that. Tight scores, only a couple of points separated the two through each game, Ted made sure that luck played no part in it, though. He took all 3 games.

3.0 –Wreckin’ MacEachern
To make myself sound like a broken record, Tom MacEachern is one more squashie on the fast progression track. Not even 3 months ago, he bulldozed his way to victory in the 2.5 category of the DAC Classic and he’s not just ‘stepping up’ to the 3.0, he’s literally bludgeoning passed it. Apart from his first round match that went to 4 games against Anil Kathuria, he has not been spending too much time on court dispatching opponent after opponent. Two 3-0 victories in his next matches had him in the final where he met up with the speedy Shail Arora.

Shail also had been wasting little time dispatching his challengers. All of his victories on the way to the final were 3-0 – and that included a win against Tom’s father Len. I’m not sure if spanking one’s Dad is motivation for revenge or just tasty fuel for in-family fun-poking but either way, Tom would have to win to make use of it. Shail could not nullify the Tom MacEachern freight train as he ploughed through with another 3-0 scalp. Not only can Tom boast about his win at the club, but also at home.
3.5 – Sante Fun-day 
On any given day. That’s another line I’ll probably repeat later on in the article. Many results in the 3.5 category could have gone the other way, with tight 4 and 5-set matches littered throughout. Because of that, it’s difficult to label any of the results as ‘upsets’. Tom Healy produced the first (non)-upset of the division with a 3-2 victory over David Devine only to be bumped out the next round against Josh Slominski also in 5 games after coming back from a 2-0 deficit. Josh then went on to lose in the semi final against Paul van Tol 11-9 in the 4th after he was 1 game up and leading the second. Ahh, the “what-ifs” and “could-have-beens”…

The other side of the draw only had one 3-0 result. The closest match of the half was between two rivals that have no shortage of trash talking and are not shy about it either: Sante Fratarcangeli and Elliot Shafer. It was a battle they’ll be telling their grandkids about. Elliot certainly had his chances, he was leading 2 games to 1 and had match ball in the fourth, but Sante is nothing if not stubborn. Coming back to win that game 12-10, he also fought back from 9-6 down in the fifth to extend it into a long tie break. Desperation squash, Sante pulled it out 15-13. Now he had to step up to tackle Paul. And he did so using his speed well towards the front of the court where Paul likes to use sharp angles. Sante took the final 3-1. On a side note, 12 months ago, Sante won the 3.0 division, and 12 months before that was a finalist in the 2.5. His development has been steady. Will we see him in the 4.0 final next year? Sante is thinking bigger. He’s aiming for the 4.5.

4.0 – Adlhoch Rocks
It was a much anticipated match-up. Phil Pitters and Scott Adlhoch must have played each other hundreds of times over the past number of years. They know each other’s game like the inside of their own shorts, can read each other’s mind like an old married couple, and trash talk each other like… well like an old married couple. Believe it not, not one single match of theirs has meant anything (other than pride), meaning they have never played each other in league, box, or a tournament before. Until now. Here they meet in the final of the 4.0. Expectations were ripe for a typical, epic encounter. Scrambling rallies, absolutely, positively no ‘let’ calls, and there was no doubt it would end up as a tie-break in the 5th to decide the winner… Alas, no. It simply was not Phil’s day. Scott took immediate control of the match and kept it. It was a 3-0 victory. Phil was understandably disappointed, but he can take solace that it won’t be the last time they’ll be on court together.

4.5 – Ex-Stroh-dinary
There was one 3-0 result in the 4.5 draw. The rest were either 3-1 or 3-2. On any given day. This was probably one of the harder brackets to predict (not that any of them were easy). I didn’t foresee either of the two finalists getting so far and both of them did so by getting through challenging 4 and 5 set matches. Andy Adamo can be a dangerous opponent. A lot of his success comes down to his mood. And when his mood is right, he moves well, has great touch and is an even nicer fellow about it. He beat Bill Oddo (great to see him back into the event!) 3-1 in round one, and then snuck past Paul Ward 3-2 in the semi. His finals opponent was Jim Stroh. Jim is just starting to come back from a ‘semi’ hiatus and is getting back to his pre-break form quickly. He bumped John Roarty in round one 3-2 and took care of Brien Baker 3-1 in the semi. From looking at past results, Jim certainly had (has) a mental edge over Andy since of all the times they have played, Jim has won them all. That trend continued for the final as Andy could not jump the Jim hurdle. Jim won the match 3-1 and takes away his second Club Championship title – he won the 3.0 back in 2007.

5.0 – RUD – Racquet Up, Derek!
On any given day. (Yes, I said it again!). Here we had another draw that only had one 3-0 result. Robin Basil won the 4.5 last year and was rather skeptical about moving up this year, but I wouldn’t let him repeat. He proved he can hold his own in this level. He didn’t take the title, but he did win round one in 5, then took out the big fella Mike Counsman 11-9 in the 5th in round 2. He then lost 3-1 to Derek Aguirre in the semi final. Derek has been working on his game lately and his consistency is improving. As is Anthony Fracchia. Anthony reached the final with a 3-1 victory over veteran Peter Shumaker, and then knocked out Ryan Bendzinski in 5 in his semi. For the final, Derek had the upper hand. He moved Anthony around the court well and Anthony obliged. And not without effectiveness. Derek won the first 2 games, but Anthony’s hustle got him the third. It may have cost him too much energy because he faded in the 4th. Derek claimed his first club championship title.

Open – OlĂ© Pablo!
For the first time in what I believe must be at least 30 years, we did not have someone in the Open final named “Logan” or “Haggarty” Last year’s champion Pablo Buitron once again eased his way into the final with comfortable 3-0 victories and was to meet a new challenger to vie for DAC history. Peter Logan is still going strong at the ripe ol’ age of 72 (ha ha! just kidding…). It’s remarkable and demands respect that Peter can still fight seriously to win this event. But the competitors are getting closer. George Kordas snagged a game off him in round one and in the semi final he came up against the dogged South African Jed Elley. I knew it would be a close contest, Jed was very keen for a good showing, and Peter was prepared for solid resistance. A very tight, long match ensued and in the end Jed walked off the winner 16-14 in the 4th after almost an hour.

For the final, we had the honor (again!) of having squash legend David Palmer fly in before the PST World Championship to referee the lads. We had a great international flavor – An Ecuadorian v a South African reefed by an Aussie! In one the best Open squash finals we’ve had, Pablo got off to his normal steady start. Few errors, tight rails, and he simply kept Jed on the back foot and in constant catch-up mode. Jed pushed hard but fell short in the first 2 games 11-7. For the third a last-ditch effort paid off for the South African as he started to shoot with more authority. He was tired, but also had nothing to lose which can be a dangerous situation. Jed took the third game 11-9 and his momentum continued into the fourth as he led 9-5. Just as we thought a fifth game was on the cards, Pablo mounted his irreversible comeback. He rolled off the next 6 points, Jed simply could not stop the rally. We congratulate Pablo as he is crowned once again DAC Club Champion!

Another year in the books. What a season it was and what a season we have to look forward too. Make sure you are a part of ever-growing squash movement of the DAC! Cheers!

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