Wednesday, March 27, 2013

CHICAGO BECKONS

McQueenie Cup April 12-14~~

Ahhh, the lure of the Windy City. As I’ve mentioned before, the reason for the increase of squash participation at the DAC has a lot to do with the social side. You play, you socialize. A simple, killer formula. Add to that formula the excitement of Chicago nightlife and all of a sudden you have a combination that should be illegal! And if we’re not careful, it may end up being.

The McQueenie Cup is now in its 4th year. For the third year in a row, the stunning University Club of Chicago will be hosting the event. I think it’s the perfect venue – central, great court area overlooking Lake Michigan from 11 stories up, and it’s Chicago. Our members think it’s perfect too. A weekend away to play squash and socialize. In the words of the great Homer Simpson… “Mmmmmmm…. Chi—ca--go…

Tour Guide Patrick Petz.
We're in good hands...
The DAC team is made up of 8 players. Two at each level: A, B. C, and D. More members signed up to play than spots available, so we did have to have a couple of play-offs to see who would represent us. Earning their rightful position on the DAC roster are: A – John Rakolta and Eric Green; B – Anthony Fracchia and Derek Aguirre; C – Brien Baker and Paul Ward; D – Sante Fratarcangeli and Elliot Shafer. But we cannot forget our two coaches. Not just squash coaches, but life coaches as well: Patrick Petz and Rich Stimson! Patrick and Rich will be joining us for full support, cheering and beering squad, and passing on any and all important tips for a successful weekend… careful what we wish for, right?

Our luck in the McQueenie Cup has not been all that terrific. We came second in the first year, although we beat every other club, but somehow that didn’t count so we lost… it was complicated. We came third in year two with an excellent chance of winning as first place came down to the final 2 matches of the weekend (very close and exciting!) and we got completely steamrolled last year as the University Club of Chicago butchered everyone with an overly strong contingent. Not that it mattered, we ended up 4th anyway.

It will be a tough assignment for our team to take home the McQueenie Cup Trophy this year. But I am sure we are up to the task. We are a deeper team, and the name of the game is consistency. We will no doubt perform admirably on court, but even if we aren’t able to display the trophy in Detroit for the year to come, the DAC – like every year – will certainly win the socializing award.

Friday, March 22, 2013

SEMIS GO DOWN TO THE WIRE

Boasters League semi finals~~

Nothing like the excitement of having all the marbles dependant on the final couple of games. Pressure - fairly or unfairly placed on the poor couple of members that happen to be the last match on, everything riding on their performance. But this is a full team effort. Teams lose together, they win together. Blame and glory should be equally shared…

Butter Nutz” v “Wardogs”: This match-up was truly decided on the courts. Both team picked up the same amount of bonus points – 9 – and all 13 matches were played. “Butter Nutz” had beaten the “Wardogs” by 2 points during the season where 11 of 13 matches were completed so it promised to be another close encounter. Only 2 of those results repeated themselves: Paul Ward’s (“Wardogs”) 2-1 win over Andy Adamo (“Butter Nutz”) and Mike Petix’ (“Butter Nutz”) 2-1 win over Paul Van Tol (“Wardogs”).

There were 5 results that actually reversed themselves. Meaning, those that had lost during the season turned their fortunes around for the semi finals. Josh Slominski (“Butter Nutz”) came up big for his team reversing a 3-0 loss at the hands of Dave Morrison (“Wardogs”) for a 2-1 victory this time, as did Andy Combs for his team “Wardogs” taking a 2-1 win from Kevin Prather (“Butter Nutz”) after being handed the bagel the first time they met. Bruce Shaw (“Wardogs”) took care of business with a 3-0 victory over Andrew Tignanelli (“Butter Nutz”) who beat Bruce 2-1 during the season, and Brittany Paquette (“Butter Nutz”) put in a solid performance for her 3-0 win against Ted Mabley (“Wardogs”) whom she lost to 2-1 in round 4.
 
Rich Stimson

For most of the match-up, “Butter Nutz” kept their noses just inches in front. “Wardogs” were a continuous threat and if a couple of the games fell their way could have knocked off the second seed. But it was not to be. Once the 13th match had finished, “Butter Nutz” had taken a hard earned victory 30 to 27. They did, after all, win 7 of the 13 matches.

“Winky-Dinks” v “Vivio’s”: On the court, “Vivio’s” proved to be the stronger opponent of the two. They won 7 of the 12 matches. And four of those matches were 3-0. However, they picked up 3 less bonus points – which are a big difference for one night since it basically negates one of those 3-0 wins. “Winky-Dinks” beat “Vivio’s” by 4 points back in round 8 where 10 of 13 matches were played but they won only 4 of those - once again bonus points making up the difference. We had 11 matches completed this time – could those 3 bonus points be the deciding factor here too? With “Vivio’s” winning 3-0 thanks to Bill Rivard, Brian Schrage and Brian Bartes, and the third Brian on the team - Brien Baker – taking Manny Tancer 2-1, the team looked to be home and hosed. But strong victories on the “Winky-Dinks” led by captain Justin Winkelman, who beat Joe Schaden 2-1, evened up the scores. Niko Ahee, Kevin Kennedy, Greg Baker and Tom Healy all hailed solid wins by the time the final match was underway. The winner of the last match – Rich Stimson (“Vivio’s”) v Al Iafrate (“Winky-Dinks”) would determine which team moves onto next week. Did I mention pressure? The weight of the team on your shoulders? I won’t drag this out – Rich won 3-0. But to be fair – and Rich admitted as much - Al was carrying an injury and was off his game. Excuses? No. We have all been in Al’s position, though. It’s a painful loss, but it’s a team loss. There is no shame. Al will bounce back. As will the “Winky-Dinks”. Justin will make sure of that.

So the final is set: “Butter Nutz” versus reigning champs “Vivio’s”. Predictions anyone? These two teams played in round 9, where not many matches were done so the “Butter Nutz” win that week doesn’t carry much influence. My forecast is for another done to the wire result… at least that’s what I’m hoping for.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

ANOTHER TITLE FOR KIRK AND MIKE

2013 Doubles A Club Championship

I am not against tradition and I admire the efforts to attempt to restore some of that tradition to the doubles club championships by having the title matches (squash and handball) played on the night of the 3rd Blackballer dividend. However, by doing so it hurt numbers. We had 8 teams vying history last year and with the increase in play we have experienced over the last 12 months – including doubles – one would come to the conclusion that we should have received just as many if not more this year. We didn’t. We only had 5. Forcing an earlier start and fixing the final date in stone caused some players not be able to compete.

Conversely, on the other side of that coin, attendance for the 3rd dividend was healthy as many members came down to watch the finals, enjoy the food and drinks and appreciate the atmosphere created when the court area is full. Which is a huge part of what is all about. The combination of the competitive nature of the sport(s) and the camaraderie surrounding will ensure its infinite survival. It’s a symbiotic relationship. I doubt one can endure without the other. The trick is to blend both in equal parts.

The lighter draw didn’t stop the final from being very competitive. Peter Logan paired up with Jed Elley this year (his regular partner John Birgbauer was a victim of scheduling). Jed is new to the doubles court but has picked it up rapidly, helped by his smooth technique and swift court movement. Peter and Jed won their first match 3-0 over Mike Counsman and John Dunwoody to reach the final.

2012 champions Kirk Haggarty and Mike Eugenio played their pre-final match against the newly formed, young up-and-coming team of George Kordas and John Rakolta. George and John had a pretty successful DAC Classic in the B doubles - although they lost the semi 17-16 in the 5th in that event - but they impressed and surprised a lot of people at their stubbornness and unanticipated effectiveness. Not that I expected they would, but it wouldn’t have shocked terribly much me if the Kordas / Rakolta dynamic duo pulled an upset win out of the bag against Kirk and Mike. They didn’t, but they did snag a game and made the reigning title holders sweat a little. My guess is that if George and John keep practicing, they’ll be more than just a minor threat next year.  

Jed Elley, Peter Logan, Mike Eugenio, Kirk Haggarty

It was an interesting final. I can’t sit here and tell you it was a quality of squash that will have people talking for years to come. An enthralling game more because of the closeness of it rather than the caliber, it was 75 minutes of ball-cracking doubles (they did break one ball!) with both teams just as determined to win almost to the point that they were terrified to play attacking angles that could have ended many rallies earlier. It’s certainly easier to be the Monday morning quarterback and watching the game from outside the court, we can all say “why didn’t they play that shot” or “couldn’t they see that opening” but we don’t have the ball flying at us at breakneck speed. The players played their backsides off. We cannot ask for more than that.

And back and forth they went. To me, Kirk and Mike always looked like they were in the driver’s seat with Peter and Jed having to play catch-up and just trying to hang on. The Logan / Elley team rely a lot more on speed than on power. Haggarty / Eugenio were content to use brutal force. As we all have experienced, it is easy to get sucked into our opponents pace. If a player smashes the ball at you as hard as they can, it is almost natural to try to belt the thing back at them. Like a macho I-can-hit-it-harder-than-you battle. No one was going to win that war with Mike. Nevertheless, all too often, Peter and Jed tried to. When the long hard-hitting furious rallies were happening, Haggerty / Eugenio were mostly coming out on top. As soon as the Logan / Elley team started softening it up with drops and moving the ball around the four corners more effectively, the match would turn in their favor. Of course, you try and hit a controlled drop short when the ball is coming onto to your strings at light speed. Not an easy task. The teams swapped results for the first 3 games: 15-11; 11-15; 15-11. Kirk and Mike took games one and three. The tail end of the forth was the most exciting portion of the match. Tie-break situation and desperation squash brings all the spectators to the edge of their seats and the player’s nerves into question. Every shot grows with importance, every error all the more critical. Logan / Elley took the game 17-15 - not won on a blasting winner, but on a good paced, tight rail that stuck to the forehand wall that Mike wasn't able to scrape off. Good placement…

Cue the 5th and final game. And cue Kirk’s legs. Up until this point, Kirk had been wearing track pants. But it was the business end of the match, and some serious shorts were in order. The weight loss was a refreshing boost. Kirk picked up his movement in the 5th game, and slotted a few excellent winners to give Mike and himself a nice buffer as they crept ever closer to the end. It was too much of a gap for Peter and Jed to close and Kirk and Mike took the 5th 15-9.

It was one of the most competitive, spirited finals we have had in recent times. Great crowd to boot. Hopefully we can receive more teams in the A draw next year and include some key players that were missing this year: John Birgbauer; Pablo BuitrĂ³n; Eric Green; newcomer Jamie Shea… Thrilling times to look forward to!

Friday, March 15, 2013

VIVIO’S, WARDOGS SQUEAK THROUGH

Boasters League Quarter Finals ~~

It’s funny that as soon as the finals are upon us, players suddenly have a clear agenda and the ability to turn up at their scheduled time to play their match and earn their bonus point. The “Wardogs” are a perfect example. They barely hung on to sixth place on the standings to reach the play-offs in the first instance, and the most bonus points they picked up during the season on any one round was 7. But for the quarter finals, 10 of their players managed the trip downtown. I mean, that’s good, but I wish the same level of commitment was demonstrated in the previous 9 weeks. “Mongoose” and “Vivio’s” also earned more bonus points on Wednesday than any other round.

Turning up certainly helped the “Wardogs” but was it enough to get them to the semi finals? Their opponents, “Mercedes”, also picked up 10 bonus points which made the squash results the all important difference. And it was close. These two teams happened to play each other just 1 week prior in week 9, with “Mercedes” dictating the proceedings easily winning 19-9. But only 5 matches were played that day. And only two of those matches ended up with the same result this week: Tom MacEachern’s (“Mercedes”) 3-0 win over Nick Petcoff (“Wardogs”) and Ted Morris’ (“Mercedes”) 2-1 victory over Blake Kenny (“Wardogs”). One match was reversed – Glen Milligan (“Wardogs”) beat Julie Henry-Kelly (“Mercedes”) 2-1 – and the other 2 went from 2-1 wins last week to 3-0 whitewashes this week. Five additional results were completed for the finals. The first four results canceled each other out. Each team won 2 matches with a 2-1 score line which left the 5th match with all the pressure piled onto it. Captain Patrick Petz (“Mercedes”) versus Paul Van Tol (“Wardogs”). “Mercedes” at this point held onto a 2 point overall lead. All Patrick needed was one point to seal the team victory. A 3-0 loss would eliminate them. Patrick knew the equation which may have been a disadvantage because that certainly can add to the burden and anxiety. Regrettably for Patrick, Paul Van Tol was a step too quick and probably whipped in a short little boast too many to take the 3-0 win and in doing so edging out “Mercedes” from contention 24-23.

The second quarter final had “Vivio’s” versus “Mongoose”. Twelve of thirteen matches were completed here and the result was closer than most players would have thought. That’s because once the matches on Wednesday were completed, “Vivio’s” had a 9 point lead with 3 results yet to be done. Everyone thought it was all but over. However, 2 more matches were played on Thursday and “Mongoose” won them both 3-0 to close the gap to 3 points. Now, the final match wasn’t played but (hypothetically) if “Mongoose” had won that 3-0 as well to tie the scores, they would have advanced to the semis on bonus points. Makes you think… However, the no result secured the victory for “Vivio’s” 29-26. Notable victories for the winning team: Joe Schaden 2-1 over Joe Moran reversing the round 6 result when these 2 played each other; Jay Poplawski 2-1 winner over Bruce VandeVusse; Brian Schrage taking 2 out of 3 from Joey Gaylord; and Brien Baker holding off Jim Stroh for his 2-1 victory.

So the 5th and 6th seeded teams get through to play the top two teams from the standings next week. Patrick Petz has been sent packing, so the war of words will no doubt start between Captain Justin Winkelman of “Winky-Dinks” and Sante Fratarcangeli of “Butter Nutz”. For the record, “Winky-Dinks” beat “Vivio’s” 25-21 in round 8 and “Butter Nutz” beat “Wardogs” 25-23 back in round 4.

Monday, March 11, 2013

NO SURPRISES IN THE FINAL WEEK

Boasters League final round~~

As anticipated, nothing changed over the final week in regards to which teams were going to make the play-offs. The only change in the standings came from “Mongoose” who was tied for first place last week but because of the round 9 bye, dropped to 4th. “Destiny” did make it interesting however, since last week they were 20 points off 6th placed “Wardogs” and with many make-up matches over the final 7 days, came within 4 points of pulling off the unlikely upset.

Winky-Dinks” and “Butter Nutz” earn the first round bye for the finals, something you could hardly argue about when looking over the stats for the second half. Even though court usage this year has been off the charts, league participation was clearly less than the first half. I have no idea why that would be the case – it’s not as if people aren’t playing. Like every year, I like to share with you the data of the league:

·         Overall, 63% of matches were played. That’s down 13% from the first half.
·         Winky-Dinks” played the most matches – 73%. They won 50% of those matches.
·         Foss-ters” played the least amount of matches – 49%. They won 69% of those matches. That’s the league’s best winning percentage.
·         WallEED” had the worst winning percentage with 27%
·         WallEED” picked up 25% of their second half total in round 1. Only 4 of their players scored more than 10 points overall – including bonus points. Every single player in “Winky-Dinks” scored more than 10 points.
·         Winky-Dinks” also picked up the most bonus points – 74. The same amount they picked up in the first half. The next best team with bonus points was “Butter Nutz” with 59. Again, the same amount as in the first half.
·         Foss-ters” picked up the least amount of bonus points – 29. The most bonus points they picked up in any week was 5. The least amount of bonus points “Winky-Dinks” picked up in any week was 6.
·         Six players picked up all 8 bonus points. They were 8 in the first half.
·         Six players played all of their matches. There were 26 in the first half.
·         Only Tom MacEachern (“Mercedes”) played all 8 matches and was undefeated.
·         12 players didn’t pick up any bonus points. 8 of those players come from the bottom 2 teams.
·         No team played all 13 matches in any one round.
·         Three players on “Mercedes” are responsible for 44% of the team’s total.
·         The most points any team scored in one round was “Mongoose” with 32 in round 1.
·         The least amount of points in one round was scored by “WallEED” in round 9 with 3.

In individual honors, the All Star team represents 6 of the 9 teams. Each of the All Stars picked up at least 5 bonus points in the second half of the season, and played most of their matches – which is the only way you’re going to win this honor. The points are a full season accumulation – which means the first half has been added to their total. Introducing the All Stars:

Tom MacEachern
 
1.      Manny Tancer (“Winky-Dinks”) – 48 points
2.      Paul Huth (“Mongoose) – 34 points
3.      Sante Fratarcangeli (“Butter Nutz”) – 43 points
4.      Elliot Shafer (“Mercedes”) -  48 points
5.      Tom Healy (“Winky-Dinks”) – 46 points
6.      Chuck Doyle (“Butter Nutz”) – 46 points
7.      Brian Bartes (“Vivio’s”) – 39 points
8.      Ted Morris (“Mercedes”) – 44 points
9.      Matt Hayduk (“Mercedes”) – 30 points
10.  Tom MacEachern (“Mercedes”) – 54 points
11.  Chris Moyer (Butter Nutz”) – 45 points
12.  Hans Flick (“Destiny”) – 44 points
13.  Bill Rivard (“Vivio’s”) – 34 points

Congratulations to the players for putting the effort in all season long.

Now it’s the business end. Head-to-head match ups. Winners moves on, losers have to wait until next year. It’s more important than ever to collect those bonus points, and obviously play the matches. Predictions? I’m going to plead the 5th on this one, in case I upset anyone. Maybe one of you would like to put your neck on the line instead?

Friday, March 8, 2013

LET YOUR RACQUET DO THE TALKING

2013 Singles Club Championships – Apr 1 – May 2

Last year, we begged for an answer to the question of who could stop the Haggarty – Logan dominance. Pablo Buitron answered the call and we crowned a new champion. Now the question asked is who can stop Pablo? Or at least seriously challenge him. Certainly, Peter Logan is still a genuine contender, and could Kirk Haggarty be if he hopefully plays. But what about Jed Elley? Can John Rakolta step it up? It will be an interesting Open draw that will unfold.

There is of course much interest in the other 6 categories too. Elliot Shafer is on the prowl for a 3.5 title and should be battling it out hard with the likes of Sante, Josh Slominski, Tom Fabbri and a handful of others. Tom MacEachern is no doubt looking at a 3.0 win after taking the 2.5 DAC Classic division, but there are many contenders across the board, too numerous to list them all.

Categories are: 2.5 – 3.0 – 3.5 – 4.0 – 4.5 – 5.0 – 5.5

Here is what you need to take note of if you plan on challenging for a sacred title!
  • You can only enter ONE division. Choose carefully.
  • Tell which division you would like to enter. If I feel you are too low, I will move you up anyway.
  • All matches are best of 5 games to 11 scoring. There is no consolation draw.
  • Each match will have a deadline for completion. It is your responsibility to have the match completed by that deadline. Failure to do so may result in defaults being awarded.
  • If you are away for a significant amount of time during the month of April, then please do not enter. The event cannot fall behind as we wait for your return!
  • ALL finals must be played on Thursday, May 2. If you plan on making the final, please block off this date in your calendar.
Registration deadline is March 26. There is no cost to play the event, but you MUST be a Blackballer. May 2 is also the night of the awards dividend – one of the biggest nights of the year for the court sports. You should make it a priority to attend!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

TOLEDO RISES TO THE OCCASION

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.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

DOUBLES 100 SHOWDOWN

Record numbers. Yep, once again participation is on the rise. The Doubles 100 was no exception to this trend as we received 44 players this year in the A and B categories, surpassing last year’s total by 8.

That’s the good news. The bad news was that overall, 3 forfeits were awarded through the event. Two of those came from health issues which were very unfortunate circumstances but I can happily say that the parties involved are all okay and getting back to into their peak physical condition. The third forfeit came from a regrettable scheduling snafu where the players involved for the life of them could not find a time to get together on court. That time eventually was their undoing. It should be mentioned that when entering an event such as this, it is imperative that you make yourself available – being away for a week at a time makes it extremely difficult to coordinate calendars. But enough of that. Let’s cover the matches that were played:

B Draw: Going in as the top seeds were 2011 B draw winners and 2012 finalists Mike Petix and John Chouinard. An effective duo of Mike’s speed and John’s ball placement, they got passed a pair of Toms (in McCarthy and MacFarlane) in their first match 3-1 to reach the quarter finals against Drew Creamer and Rich Stimson. This team would have a similar tactical modus operandi as Petix / Chouinard, so my prediction was for a close result and if I was hung from my toenails over a roasting fire to make me a pick a winner, I would have begged for mercy and then leant slightly in favor of Mike and John. How wrong I would have been. I’m not sure what happened, but not much time expired between me watching them serve the first ball of the first game and then seeing Rich climb the stairs to my office to report their 3-0 victory. I guess they either played extremely well, their opponents had an off day, or a combination of the two.

Meeting them in the final was my third seeded team of Joe Moran and Ken Katz. A 3-1 win in their first round over Ryan Bendzinski and Dan Follis (2 of those games went to tie-break) took them into semi final to tackle the second seeded Shail Arora and Bob Garvey. Shail and Bob are no strangers to success as they have won the Doubles Select tournament together in 2011 and have proven to complement each other well. Lamentably, during the third game of this match where the score was tied at 1-1 and it was building into something epic, Shail injured his knee moving into the front corner and the match had to be called. There was no way he could continue, and nor could they pick up the match at a later date – the healing would take too long. It’s not the tastiest way to win, and maybe they would have anyway, but Joe and Ken moved on to the final.  

Ken Katz, Joe Moran, Rich Stimson, Drew Creamer

Joe and Ken’s tactic was clearly to pummel Drew as much as possible. But keeping it away from Rich was harder done than said. Rich covered the large court to excess – now, that’s not to say Drew didn’t do his part. Drew was certainly the steady rock he needed to be. Creamer / Stimson took the first 2 games 15-13, 15-12. For the third, the onslaught towards Drew increased and even the “speedy” Stimson couldn’t stop the avalanche of balls directed to his partner. Joe and Ken wrestled the momentum away, won the third 15-8 and looked like they were going to take it to a 5th game with a 13-8 lead in the 4th. But cue the comeback. Creamer / Stimson steadied the ship and one rally at a time tied it up to 13-all for a 5 point tie-break. Drew’s serve late in the game pushed his team to the finish line taking the 4th 18-15 and the 3-1 victory.

A Draw: Peter Logan and Patrick Petz hooked up together for the 5th straight year, looking to win a second doubles 100 title (something they achieved in 2011), and to avenge last year’s 5-set finals loss to Mike Counsman and Stu Boynton. Their path to the final proved they deserved the top seeding I handed then, winning both matches 3-0 to get there. Awaiting them were 2 new members that had never reached the final of this event before: Eric Green and John Dunwoody. Their path was a little rockier than Patrick and Pete’s. A 3-1 win in match one over John Berg and Bill Oddo put them in the semi final where they faced Mike Counsman and Bowden Brown. Just like Mike, Bowden has also experienced success in the doubles 100 when he won in 2008 and in 2010 with then partner Bob Thibodeau. (Bob, I believe, was spending some time in Florida for some reason during this event. Couldn’t possibly be because of the weather…). For 3 games, the semi was a tight affair. John and Eric had a 2-1 lead after losing the first 12-15, then taking the second with the same score line and pinching the third 17-14. The 4th game went completely against the grain of the match as the steamroller came out and flattened Mike (it was a big steamroller) and Bowden 15-3. The final was almost a carbon copy.

Once again, if I was strung up and forced to make a prediction, I would have been wrong. Obviously, I placed Petz / Logan as the number one seeds for a reason. I thought they would win. They almost did. John and Eric won the first two games in very close contests. 15-12 and 18-16. It could have been a 3-0 whitewash for the pair, but at 13-all in the third game, with a 5-point tie-break, they only managed to take on more point and lost it 18-14. Had the momentum changed? Could Pete and Patrick take the ball and run with it? Short answer – no. Eric and John dominated the 4th game and shut down any chance of a comeback. The 15-8 win gave them both their first doubles 100 title. Everybody involved agreed it was a great, enjoyable match – just what we all love to hear.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A FEW GOOD MEN NEEDED FOR WINDSOR

Members, we live in a world that has four walls and those four walls need to be played on by men and women with squash racquets. Who's gonna do it? You? You, DAC member? You all have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You crave for squash matches and pray for the tournaments; you have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that when losing a squash match, while tragic, probably improves your overall game and that my existence, while overwhelming and incomprehensible to you, improves your game. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at squash clubs, you want me on that ‘T’, you need me on that ‘T’. We use words like ‘racquet up’, ‘watch the ball’, ‘hit good length’. We use them as the backbone of a squash tactic trying to defend something. You should be using them as a game plan. I always have the time and the inclination to explain the sport to any person who rises and sleeps under the guidance of squash that I provide and then practices the manner in which I provide it. I am honored when you just say "thank you," and continue practicing on your way. So, I suggest that you pick up a racquet and stand on court. Either way, I absolutely care that you support the Windsor Squash Club’s tournament.

Can we count on you? Ready to enlist? Here’s the package: $65 entry fee (plus tax). You can enter up to 2 divisions and choose between: Open, A, B, C, D, Ladies A + B, 40+, 50+, Junior, and Doubles A, B and Mixed. They will also provide food and beer, and I will presume a t-shirt although the entry form doesn’t actually specify you’ll get one so don’t take my word on that. For the Doubles, they are implementing a rule that there will be no tie-breaks. When the score reaches 14-all, a sudden death rally must be played. Makes it more exciting and I am also going to presume they are doing it for time reasons, but I’m not sure I like the idea too much.

Windsor had 32 players enter in the DAC Classic. I don’t expect us to match that number, but we should be making our presence felt. Now, for some reason I cannot attach their poster to the blog, so to enter please contact Graeme Williams on 519-966-2141 or squash@windsorsquash.ca . Payment must accompany registration. Don’t make me order a “code red”!

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