Thursday, October 31, 2013


Boasters League round 5 ~~

We all expect the usual suspects to be the ones floating around the top of the standings. Over the past couple of seasons, it has been the “Winky-Dinks”, “Butter Nutz”, Patrick Petz’ team that changes name every year… But when another team suddenly starts to make waves, we all wonder what’s going on.

Foss-Nation” haven’t been ‘lighting the lamp’ so to speak, but are definitely the quiet achievers with their second place standing. In fact, their bonus point totals are tied for 5th best (with “The Kampai Warriors” who sit last) which – if that trend continues – would break the bonus point theory of relativity. They still have 4 more rounds to endure, one of which is a ‘bye’, so we’ll see if they can stay relevant in spite of not turning up on Wednesday! (Bonus point theory of relativity: Measurements of point quantities are directly relative to the presence of its team players… Einstein proved this, as do the “Winky-Dinks”!)

One of the main reason “Foss-Nation” are defying the odds, is not because they are playing a lot more matches than other teams (they aren’t), but because they have only lost 6 matches this season 3-0. Continually picking up at least one game in 87% of contests goes a long way.

Here is a small cross section of interesting results of round 5: Al Iafrate (“Busting Rails”) remains undefeated after taking care of business against Chris Van Tol (“Foss-Nation”) with his 4th in a row 2-1 win. Sticking with “Busting Rails”, Joe Paglino picked up his first victory with a 2-1 win over Tom Delaney (“Foss-Nation”); as did Andrew Tignanelli when he beat Anthony Kalogeridis 2-1.

Women’s power continued with Cathy Lysack (“Butter Nutz”) when she handed the hard hitting Jay Poplawski (“Wardogs”) his first loss, and Julie VandeVusse (“Butter Nutz”) taking the 2-1 win over Jim Miller (“Wardogs”).

There are 4 rounds to play. December 6 is the deadline to get all your matches in. No excuses. Or extensions. Better start arranging. And captains: get out your cattle prods and start zapping!

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Boasters League round 4~~

Thankfully, the baseball season is behind us. Don’t get me wrong, I was just as devastated when I watched Shane Victorino’s Grand Slam put an end to the Tiger’s World Series aspirations, but it also put an end to the havoc the play-offs have been inflicting on the DAC squash program. I mean, how utterly rude of Bud Selig not to consult me before organizing play-off games in the middle of the week. The nerve! Why couldn’t the Tigers play on the weekends??

After we cancelled the league for round 3 – or made everyone self-schedule their matches – overall people have been doing a pretty good job getting those matches in. However, there are still many to be completed which means there are oodles of points up for grabs and believe it not we are already almost half-way through the season. Time is slipping away quickly.

Butter Nutz” now find themselves looking down on everyone else with a six point lead over “Paddy’s Dropshots”. “Foss Nation” are the surprise team as they jumped from 6th to 3rd and knock the idle “Winky-Dinks” to 4th. Speaking of which, “Winky-Dinks” captain Justin Winkelman has stepped up the merchandising of his ‘franchise’ with team shirts for all his players. We have already seen the “Vivio’s” headbands, so who will be next? Will we see “Mongoose” coffee mugs? “Wardogs” bobble heads? “Busting Rails” big foam fingers?

Last night’s action produced a couple of nail-biters. Firstly Scott Langenburg’s (“Wardogs”) 15-14 in the 3rd win over Tom MacEachern (“Paddy’s Dropshots”) had Tom kicking himself for being too nice. Rather than take a ‘stroke’ at 14-all, he kindly offered to replay the rally and then ended up losing. Winning on a stroke isn’t overly satisfying, but it sure beats losing overall. Tom will learn next time not to be so friendly!

The other sudden-death decider was between Sante Fratarcangeli (“Butter Nutz”) and Al Iafrate (“Busting Rails”). Tension built up at the end of the third as the scores stayed tight. Thankfully the deciding rally did not end with a ‘let’ call, and it was Al pinching the 15-14 win.

Other notable results was James Stuntz (“Wardogs”) over Margi Scholtes (“Paddy’s Dropshots”) 2-1 where every game was either 15-13 or 15-14; Terry Lang (“The Kampai Warriors”) showing his experience with a 2-1 victory over John Mann (“Foss Nation”); and Blake Kenny (“Busting Rails”) taking a 2-1 win over Jason Trombley (“Butter Nutz”) with both appearing pleased that a 4th game wasn’t required.

Once again, I will whip out my bongos and beat the same tune: Get your matches done. Deadline for completion will be December 6. That’s not very far away.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Windsor Tournament Nov 22-24

We aren’t afraid anymore. Twice now we have ventured into that enemy territory and won the Cross Border Challenge. We know we can win there. Now the time has come that the DAC also stamps its authority onto the individual tournament titles they have on offer. We have had some taste of success before… not much, but some.

And to have a better chance of success, numbers are important. The more members we have spread throughout their draws, the higher likelihood one (or two) of them will reach the final. It’s kind of like playing the lottery. The more tickets you buy, the better your odds. Of course, I hope your odds of winning in Windsor are better than 1 in 175 million, but you get my point… I think. Unfortunately, you can’t enter the same category multiple times, but you can enter two different categories. It doubles your squash, so keep that in mind. Plus, they have beer included in the entry fee – however multiple trips to the keg no doubt would decrease your odds.

So you’ll get at least 2 matches per singles category. Score to 11, win by 2. Best of 5 games, meaning the 1st player to win 3. To win the category, you most likely will have to play anywhere from 3 to 5 matches. There are 14 categories to choose from. Pick 1 or 2. (Not sure about 3.) You’ll get at least 1 match per doubles category, matches are also best of 5 games, scored to 15, with no tiebreak meaning you play a sudden-death rally at 14-14. It’s all about the numbers.

Notwithstanding, it isn’t just about the squash. It’s about the social life too. Enjoy your matches, but enjoy the atmosphere and the people too. Support fellow members, drink a few pops and make friends. A tighter squash family will only make the foundation larger upon which we build a greater program for everyone.

Are you ready to “bring it on”? Join me. I’ll be playing and I’d love to see you all out there showcasing your stuff with me.

Click on the above poster for all the details, categories, entry fee. Registrations go to . Deadline to enter is November 4. Feel free to ask me which category you should be in if you are unsure.

Monday, October 14, 2013


Blitz Tournament – October 11

Not a bad showing for the first Blitz Tournament of the season. We had 20 participants which made it easy to split them into four equally sized groups, but what wasn’t so simple was - in some cases - to assign the correct handicaps. We welcome all new players with open arms and a couple of beers (or wines!) into every squash event we run. However, without knowing their standard, handicapping turns into hopeful (doubtful!) guesswork.

It’s all fun and games. I make a point to apologize before the tournament starts for any handicap that I get wrong. My aim is to have every single game end up 15-14. In my mind, the sudden-death rally proves the handicap as being correct. Unfortunately, a couple of the round-robin results deserved that apology...

Julie VandeVusse, John and Kelly Maher
There were a few games that did get to the 15-14 score line. New member and new player Kelly Maher had three of them. Alas, she lost all of them too! I’ll take a pat on the back for her handicaps though, since I had never even met her before, let alone know what standard she was. Her husband - John - also joined in of the fray. John is part of the DAC basketball league (and consequently was the tallest amongst us!) but he too failed to get past the round robin stage. I am sure they enjoyed the evening and camaraderie and we’ll be seeing them again very soon.

Of the four round robin groups, only one of them needed to draw straws to see who would advance to the knock out stage. With Sante Fratarcangeli winning that group with 3 victories, we had three other players tied for second with 2 wins apiece. Chip McDaniel had to win his final match of the group against one of the new squash players / members Nick Cinqeranelli to secure his finals berth, but Nick decided to play spoiler. Chip’s loss forced him to take part in the ‘lottery’ with Julie VandeVusse and Anil Kathuria, and he didn’t fare any better with his straw pulling. “Lady Luck” shined on Julie instead.

Julie’s quarter final match was against 2-time Blitz Tournament winner Josh Slominski. Taking a 10 point head-start, Julie quickly extended it to 12 before Josh got his act going. He had very little room for error, but he managed to steadily close the gap. That didn’t stop Julie from reaching 14 first and earning a hand-full of match balls. Josh had to stay error-free and he did to even it up for the sudden-death showdown in which Julie actually had the upper hand in that rally. Regrettably, her game-ending “winner” shaved the top of the tin. Josh advanced.

Brett Torgler and Dino DeMare
The fourth new face we had playing was Dino DeMare. Dino has practiced hard in the short time he has taken up squash and has improved quickly. In the round robin, Jason Trombley got the rough end of the pineapple when I gave Dino 6 points head-start in their match, a handicap that in hindsight should have been reversed. Dino won 15-2. Sorry Jason!

Dino finished second in his group and met up against Sante in the knock-out round. Going by his form in the first 4 games, I only handed him an 8 point head start. Even though the rallies were relatively competitive, it wasn’t quite enough, and Sante ended Dino’s run with a 15-12 victory.
Sante’s semi final was against Josh. Josh was handed 4 points for the handicap, must to the chagrin of Sante who insisted 3 was fairer. After handing out a tissue, I told Sante to play harder. He did. The entertaining game ended with Sante taking the 15-10 win, and me then wondering why I didn’t give Josh 8 points head start instead! I of course kid, Sante has made a great effort lately to develop his game and it is showing.

On the top side of the knock-out draw, the quiet spoken Phil Pitters quietly took care of Margi Scholtes before tackling Paul Ward in the semi final. It was a straight up game - that is, no handicap, start 0-0. Both of these guys run. Their retrieval abilities are not just engaging, they are often humorous too as they run themselves so far out of position but still somehow manage to reach the next ball. Phil squeezed out the game 15-13, huffing and puffing hard as he exited the court for his 2 minute rest before the final.
Phil Pitters and
Sante Fratarcangeli

Pitters v Fratarcangeli. Once again, I decided the handicap should be zero. Once again Sante protested, and while I once again reached for the tissue box, Sante then accepted the decision, put his head down and went to work. As tired as Phil was, he still did his darndest to cover the court as inefficiently as possible, no matter how effective he turns out to be. How he picks-up some shots when he looks dead and buried is a sight to behold! Sante though, was ready, and remained prepared for the balls to keep bouncing back. As it turned out, Sante was (half) right. I should have given a handicap - but to Phil. We didn’t get to see the dream sudden-death rally for the final, Sante denied Phil the opportunity to get to 14 as he took the game 15-12. Congratulations to my pink-shorted friend, winner of this season’s first Blitz!

The 3rd / 4th playoff had Josh take a 6 point handicap over Paul. Josh played well to win that battle 15-13 and claim 3rd prize.

Great event. Thank you to all who participated, especially the new members who braved the arena for the first time. There will be more in-house tournaments coming up through the season, hopefully you can join in and have as much fun as what we did here!
Say "Cheeeeze"!

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Boasters League round 2~~

It feels like I’ve seen this before. The standings are taking on an eerie similarity of the previous season with “Winky-Dinks”, “Butter Nutz”, “Mongoose”, and “Paddy’s Dropshots” (different team name from last year, but same captain) occupying the top four spots. In this day and age of salary caps, where the total expenditure of all the teams in the Boasters League is identical – that is, zero – why are the same teams dominating once again? (Let’s not discount “Vivio’s” on that list, who seem to enjoy coming from behind and sit 5th.)

I guess I will let the team captains figure it out, but here is a hint to the ones who find themselves outside the top 4-5 positions: Communicate. Keep in contact with your players. Encourage them. Remind them to turn up on Wednesdays. It’s no secret that the teams that collect bonus points and play their matches are the ones leading the way.

It was a another great social evening in the club despite the fact that we did everything we could to stop you entering the court area with the lobby being blocked off and the elevator not working! But people still found their way to the courts and the beer. Most teams did pretty well picking up at least 18 points for round 2 – except “The Kampai Warriors” who only scrounged together 9. Already they have their backs against the wall as they have the ‘bye’ next week as well to contend with.

Tough, close matches were order of the day. None closer than Stu Neufeld’s (“Mongoose”) 15-14 in the 3rd, 2-1 win over Patrick Petz (“Paddy’s Dropshots”). Nothing like a sudden-death rally to determine the outcome. Bob Rogers (“Butter Nutz”) struggled to stand upright after his 2-1 win over the speedy Jordan Ellis (“Winky-Dinks”) as he cursed under his breath at Jordan’s retrieval ability. On the other side of his mouth, he was thanking him for the work-out and helping with his fitness regimen.

New member Matthew Yee (“Wardogs”) won his first ever match 2-1 against another new member Julia Dillon (“The Kampai Warriors”). Both are just starting the game (have been playing less than 3 months) and it’s great to see them getting into it competitively straight away. Another couple of rookies beat up on each other well – Mike Nihem (“Paddy’s Dropshots”) took Nick Ioannou (“Mongoose”) 2-1.

As I mentioned, it’s wonderful to see many people here on league night enjoying each other’s company. Make sure you also enjoy each other’s squash game and get your matches done. Do not let them pile up. You’ll regret it. Captains make sure you speak to your team. Players – listen to your captain. If your captain isn’t talking, then step up and be the voice. Either way, team cohesion works. The standings prove that.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Boasters League round 1~~

Not a bad start to the new season. Not sensational, but we did have a decent number of people show up. I would have preferred more matches to be played, but the social aspect was promising and the server in the bar was kept busy most of the evening!

As you all know, the league once again expanded. We have added 2 more levels to each team making 135 players. Almost 30% of that number are new – which made sorting it out rather a difficult task. The captains did a fine job with the draft last week and we are starting to see more of a trend towards keeping the same team name from season to season. I like that idea – familiarity help builds camaraderie. Will we soon be seeing team logos and jerseys?

Getting off to a good start is vital for success. No one wants to be looking uphill all season long. “Winky-Dinks” won’t have that problem (for now at least) since they went 6-for-7 in match wins last night, plus picking up 13 bonus points (from a maximum 15). In fact, they scored more through bonus points than 3 other teams scored in total. The power of presence. “Butter Nutz” also had a good showing with 11 bonus points, but were not quite as successful on court. They only won 2 of 6 matches.

There were many tough matches played, and I am sure a few of you were quietly suffering physically even though 3 games doesn’t sound like much. But after the summer, fitness levels can take a huge hit and the first round wake-up call can be an eye-opening shock to the system. Mike LoVasco (“Paddy’s Dropshots”) has rejoined the DAC squash family after a couple year absence, and he went toe-to-toe with “Winky-DinksTom Healy. Both players ran. And ran. And ran. And just when you think they wouldn’t run anymore, they ran. Tom crawled off a 2-1 winner, Mike crawled off after him, and both somehow managed to climb into a chair like they were scaling Everest.

Justin Jacobs (“Vivio’s”) got away with one and escaped with a 2-1 victory over new member Cathy Lysack (“Butter Nutz”) 15-13 in the 3rd. Cathy and her husband Stu Neufeld (playing on team “Mongoose”) joined the DAC over the summer. It’s great to have a woman in the league playing so high!

Jerry Rock (“Butter Nutz”) fell 2-1 to the gentle giant Greg Baker (“Vivio’s”). Jerry mentioned that his super-high snow-creating gravity-defying lobs were rendered quite useless against the 6’6” (give or take) Greg who simply saw them as a waist high volley. If only you could hit a drop-shot serve, hey Jerry?!

We are off and running. You are all running after the “Winky-Dinks” for now and I suggest you get cracking immediately on the chase. Remember, if you fail in that quest, you will be dealing with their captain Justin Winkelman strutting around bragging from his pedestal! That should be incentive enough!!

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