Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Hops Challenge – Dec 18. Matches start at 4pm.

The show that these two professionals put on for us last year was talked about just as much as the actual PST tournament we ran in May. If you missed it, you should regret it. But you get a second chance as we bring the celebrities back for another round of sensationalism. Guaranteed hot-dogging, trick-shots, humor, and flat out brilliance, you will be nothing short of awestruck with this exhibition.

Building up to that match, you will also get a chance to play one yourself. If you wish, register with me and I will organize a game for you. You may as well get a sweat up before watching how squash really can be performed. Member matches will start at around 4pm and we’ll try to be all done by 7pm (or thereabouts) so everybody can squeeze in behind court 7 to get ready to be blown away…

“Let’s get ready to rummmmmmbllllle….!”

In the right corner, weighing in at approximately 200 lbs and recently released from captivity from Zeus when he yelled “Release the Kraken!”, originally from the land Downunder where women glow and men plunder, coming in with a career record that solidifies him as an all-time legend, the slayer of squash players, a magician tactician…. DAVID – “I-can’t-believe-you’re-not-using-Black-Knight” – PALMER!!


In the left corner, weighing in at a concrete 160 lbs, with an alluring exotic accent that makes it irrelevant that we can’t understand him, originally from an island 6000 miles from France but somehow still connected to it, coming in with a career record that mere mortals such as ourselves couldn’t even dream of, the Mr. Nice of slice and dice, the power packet with the squash racquet, …. THIERRY – “I-can’t find long-enough-socks” – LINCOU!!

Last year’s event was – believe it or not – a tie! Will one of them be willing to hand out a defeat this year? It seems that every time they match-up, it goes to 5 games so there is a great likelihood we’ll see much of the same. Be prepared to “Oooooh!” and “Ahhhhhh!” and “No-way!” all the way through the encounter. I am sure you will witness shots that you won’t even comprehend. Both David and Thierry have been ranked number one in the world. Make use of this rare opportunity.

And the best part? This is FREE to all DAC members. We’ll even have the Hops faucet at your disposal! Pack the bleachers, pack the mezzanine. Invite your DAC (non-squash) friends as well. Maybe we’ll convert them! Be raucous. This is for you. Don’t end up regretting it.

If you want a pre-exhibition match, please let me know by no later than Monday, December 16. Start to get excited.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Boasters League round 8~~

Although not mathematically impossible, it is somewhat unlikely that a team other than “Butter Nutz” or “Winky-Dinks” will be vying for top spot for the first half. With one round to play, everyone has 2 weeks to get any and all matches completed before the December 6 deadline, but with over 40 points separating the above mentioned teams from the remaining, making up that difference would be pretty challenging to say the least.

Butter Nutz” also have the nervous ‘sit-on-the-sidelines’ for round 9. They lead “Winky-Dinks” by 13 points, but that could be made up easily enough with bonus points. “Butter Nutz” will need to make up plenty of matches over the next 14 days to give themselves a decent chance.

Making a late “charge” are “The Kampai Warriors”. They have been the cellar-dwellers since round 3, but have been steadily forcing their way up. Now in 8th place, (and in turn giving “Vivio’s” the dubious honor of being the current holders of the wooden spoon), they are only 11 points off 5th placed “Mongoose” – a goal easily attainable. In fact, “The Kampai Warriors” have to play against “Mongoose” in the final round – the perfect opportunity to gain ground.

Individual mentionables for round 8: Brien Baker (“Busting Rails”) handed Jeff Gembis (“Vivio’s”) his first loss of the season with a 2-1 win. Brien’s praying-mantis reach frustrated Jeff as he couldn’t figure a way to get the ball past him. As usual, Brien said it was all luck and the result could have easily been reversed. Dave Morrison (“The Kampai Warriors”) beat Tom Healy (“Winky-Dinks”) 2-1 in a close contest – as disappointed as Tom was, it was a better result against Dave as he lost 3-0 last time!

Tom MacEachern (“Paddy’s Dropshots”) improved his record to 5 and 1 with a 2-1 victory over Dave Devine (“Butter Nutz”); Jordan Ellis (“Winky-Dinks”) was helped with a strong start to the match as he held off Marc Lakin (“The Kampai Warriors”) for a 2-1 triumph; and Al Iafrate (“Busting Rails”) appeared to have too much juice for the tiring Rich Stimson (“Vivio’s”) as he took a 2-1 win.

Don’t forget that at the end of the first half of the season, I will be looking at everyone’s win / loss record. Based on those results, I will be shuffling the teams around in an attempt to make the second half even more competitive. Most of you will stay on your current team, some of you will have to be traded. It’s all in the name of fairness! 

Monday, November 18, 2013


Windsor Tournament Nov 15-17

Counting myself we had a baker’s dozen of representatives from the DAC battering it out at the Windsor Fall Classic. And, for a pleasant surprise, we also took home a couple of titles! I was told the event had a total of 117 players – a great number to be sure, which also included a bucket full of juniors. Many of the juniors mix in with the adults categories (including the doubles events) which can be a mentally difficult thing to handle if you happen to be playing against one. They are (for the most part) smaller, more fragile, but they run like the dickens, and pull off shots that we normally wouldn’t be expecting. Don’t kids ever get tired? (I know my daughter only gets tired when she has to do her homework…!)

One advantage the adults have is strength. I wouldn’t usually tell anyone to use a tactic of “belt the Hell out of the ball”, but in this case flat-out power can be affective against the smaller juniors. Easier said than done of course. Point in case was Sante Fratarcangeli. This isn’t to rub salt into Sante’s wounds – on the contrary, it’s to show how easy it is that this can happen to anyone. (Remember the young Berto Mill at the DAC Classic this year? He won the 4.5 draw beating a number of our members on the way!) Never judge a book by its cover, right?  Sante won his first two matches 3-2, both times he took a 2-0 lead, only to give up the next two games but then right the ship to take the fifth. In his third match he did exactly the same thing. He was playing Amin Khan – a 12 year old with a two handed swing on both his forehand and backhand. Very difficult to see where he is hitting it, and remarkably accurate, plus he has a surprisingly good drop shot. Sante couldn’t keep up the solid work he churned out in games one and two, and found himself in another fifth game dog-fight. Maybe the effort of the first couple of matches hurt him, as this time, he couldn’t convert. Amin edged him out by a couple of points. I know Sante was very disappointed, but rest assured that he won’t be Amin’s only DAC victim in the years to come!

In the D category, Brian Bartes stole the show. He rolled through his opponents knocking out adults and juniors alike – including Chuck Doyle in the semi finals. I am not surprised that Brian won the event; he has been improving steadily over the past year or so and has recorded some nice results in both league and ladders. In fact, his prowess has been so impressive, it caught the eye of the US Squash Magazine and they felt the need to splatter his achievements in this month’s edition:

You'll find this article on page 12 of this month's US Squash Magazine!
Our other finalist for the weekend was Julie VandeVusse in the Women’s B draw. Julie won all of her matches leading up to the final relatively comfortably, but regrettably could not keep up the strong form in the one that mattered most. Even though she won the first game, lack of consistency got the better of her and she went down in the next three.
Julie Vande Vusse

The unlucky award of the weekend goes to Kevin Prather. Kevin was looking ominous and was ready to take charge but early in the first game of his first match he rolled an ankle and had to withdraw. Hopefully it isn’t too bad and plenty of icing and a few days rest should fix him up quickly. The weekend beers should have helped as well.

DAC’s second title came at the hands of yours truly I the Open division. I also played one of Windsor’s best juniors in my first match – David Mill. David is 16, is taller than me and has improved a great deal recently. Overpowering him was not an option, so I had to rely on something else: experience. Simply keeping the ball tight, eliminate errors, and force him to ‘win’ the points rather than me giving them away proved too much for the youngster. I won 3-0, and his lack of patience cost him, but he’ll learn and I’m sure the next time it will be a lot tougher. For the final I played Graeme Williams - their pro – and I went on with a similar tactic. Keeping the ball tight, being very careful to take him short because he has a great reach, I was steady enough to get through 3-0 as well.

Listing our other flag flyers, it was fantastic to see the support they gave one another. Everyone gained priceless experience and hopefully we can show up in force for future events outside the DAC walls: Esther Thomas, Dino DeMare, Tom MacEachern, Josh Slominski, Bob Garvey, Shail Arora, John Dunwoody, and Chuck Doyle.

A big thank you to Windsor Squash for hosting, to Graeme Williams for organizing, with help for Dave Guthrie and the Porter family. You always make us feel so welcome in your club. We look forward to returning the favor during the DAC Classic February 6-9, 2014.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Holiday Tournament – Dec 6

Can you believe it? This will be the 10th annual Holiday Tournament. Wow. 10 years. Do you remember what life was like 10 years ago? I, for example, still needed mapquest to get from the DAC back home. My bald spot had not yet materialized. I owned a portable compact disc player with a Guns ‘n’ Roses CD (I actually still have the CD, but not the player!). Miley Cyrus was the sweet and innocent Hannah Montana and not an eye-gauging wrecking-ball jockey (puke). Florida Marlins won the World Series. The Pistons won the NBA championship… Time changes many things, but not everything, For example, it hasn’t stopped the traditional Holiday Tournament from running.

While you drink your eggnog (actually, beer-nog in this case), why not deck the squash court halls with sounds of volleys (Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!) and participate! The unique Swiss System event can only handle a maximum of 24 players, so be quick to register.

What is the ‘Swiss System’ I hear you cry? Don’t cry, it’s simple. All players will be in one draw and receive 4 matches. Each match will be 2 games to 15. There will not be any handicapping. You score points for each game you win. So, since the match-ups are relatively random, anyone can end up playing anyone else. It’s a great way to step on court with members you normally wouldn’t.

Now, it’s no secret that in this format the stronger players rise to the top. However, the good news is that ALL players will receive a prize for entering no matter if you come first or last. These prizes are provided by you – your entry gift – or fee.

That’s right! As your entry fee, you must provide a wrapped gift worth at least $20. Players will choose their gift at the end of the tournament in order of the final rankings. Here are some guidelines to help you with the dos and don’ts of the art of gift exchange:

DO purchase a gift that you wouldn’t mind receiving yourself.
DO NOT re-gift the potpourri that your grandmother gave you last year.

DO make the effort to purchase the gift yourself well before the day of the tournament.
DO NOT ask the squash-pro to quickly put together a package of stuff one hour before the event starts and ask me to wrap it up for you.

DO adhere to the “banned substances” list: Viagra / Canary Yellow DAC T-shirt / Cash / Muffins / aforementioned potpourri.
DO NOT ignore the “banned substances” list.

No doubt we will get some members dressing up in appropriate Holiday themed gear. Let’s see who can be the most decorative, creative. Keep in mind you need to play in said gear. So if you choose to place deer horns on your head, or a great white beard on your face, that’s great so long as it doesn’t interfere with your swing. Maybe I will have a prize for best costume…

Registration deadline is Tuesday, December 3.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Boasters League round 7~~

Winky-Dinks” are in the prime position to take the first round honors. With 2 rounds to play, they are one point of league leaders “Butter Nutz” and 16 points ahead of third placed “Foss-Nation”. The advantage, however, lies squarely with the “Winky-Dinks” as they are the only team of the three that has already had the bye week.

There are plenty of make-up matches that al teams can play, but it is unlikely that either of the teams will make up the difference. Especially the way “Winky-Dinks” continue to pour on the bonus points. Another 13 last night, 3 more than the next best, giving them 62 so far on the season, and averaging over 12 per week – remarkable.

Better news at the other end of the standings with the last placed “The Kampai Warriors” closing the gap on the rest of the field. Last week, they were 35 points from 4th place. This week – 22. With a strong finish, they may avoid a first half wooden spoon. Their immediate target is “Vivio’s”, who are only 7 points ahead… that equates to 3 wins…

Activity was high last night. A full crowd fighting for court space is a good “problem” to have, and a difficult one to solve. Remember, the scheduled matches have priority. Please be courteous to your fellow members. Nor is it a very nice thing to kick off a match half-way through if your court time comes up. Let them finish their match first. Waiting an extra 10-15 minutes won’t kill you.

One of the most hyped up matches of the season so far was John Mann (“Foss-Nation”) versus Jason Trombley (“Butter Nutz”). This epic battle reached the social media. It was all over facebook, cyber space was abuzz with anticipation. And they weren’t disappointed. A close 2-1 contest - as expected since these two play each other regularly – had Jason putting John in his humble place.

Other worthy results: Paul Ward (“Wardogs”) taking down Blake Ellis (“Winky-Dinks”) 2-1 after Paul rolled off the final 4 points of the 3rd game when it was 11-all; Alan Howard (“Busting Rails”) provided a little too much power for Anil Kathuria (“Mongoose”) to handle with a 2-1 win; and special mention to Julia Dillon (“The Kampai Warriors”) for getting her first win of the season with a solid 3-0 performance. Another special mention must go to Julia’s husband – Shaun. Shaun unfortunately snapped his Achilles tendon a couple of weeks ago playing his league match. We all know how long it takes to recover from that – Shaun is well on the way – but it’s great to see him here on Wednesdays anyway having a couple of beers supporting the program. Cheers, mate!

Two rounds to play. Three weeks to play them. There is no league the week of Thanksgiving, so that’s a perfect chance to get some make-up games in. Deadline to have everything completed: December 6.

Monday, November 11, 2013


A PSA (Professional Squash Association) player recently tweeted that women should not be receiving the same prize money as the men. This came about after the recent US Open was played in October at the Drexel University and both the men’s and women’s purses were $115K.

The PSA player was Brit Ben Coleman – world number 79. The comment of course had many people up in arms. Sexist. Misogynistic. Narrow minded. But Ben’s reasoning was pretty simple: The men bring a greater value to the sport – they are the ones that attract more sponsors and viewers. Why should women get the same pay if the men do the lion’s share of the revenue raising? Overall, he’s right and it’s difficult to argue against that logic.

If you think that’s incorrect, then all you have to do is look at their respective tour calendars. Also, the PSA recently held the World Championship worth $315K. (Nick Matthew won in 5 games over Greg Gaultier in the final). The WSA (Women’s Squash Association) World Championship is not being held this year at all because they cannot find a sponsor. That in itself is ridiculous. Equal prize money aside, how can the women’s squash tour not have a world championship? (I am not criticizing the WSA for that; it is terrible for squash that it isn’t happening and I feel for the players.)

No matter what side of the argument you are on, Ben Coleman’s comment didn’t just cause a twitter-sphere argument, it also caused a PSA policy change. CEO Alex Gough shortly thereafter released a statement announcing a gag-order on all PSA players. Basically, any PSA player is no longer allowed to comment on social media anything that may bring the association into disrepute. Say what?

That’s not unusual is sports. We hear often enough, for example, that a coach or player is fined for criticizing an official in the NFL or NBA. Squash players are in that same boat, a boat that includes disparaging comments about any event, venue, staff, directors, other individuals, the sport of squash in general, and – prize money. In other words, you can say whatever you want so long as the PSA look good and agree with it. Didn’t some countries try this once…?

Freedom of speech is clearly being suppressed here. I agree that players should not be sharing with the social media world any personal attacks or insults about anyone else – that’s just childish – but why should they not be able to express opinions about the very tour they pay to be a part of? Isn’t constructive criticism a necessary tool to improve any product and service? Maybe the PSA think they already have the perfect product? PSA have threatened disciplinary action against any player who steps out of line.

Which leads into the next scenario. One, where the very same CEO - Alex Gough - should now be applying these disciplinary actions on himself.

In a league match in England recently, Alex Gough’s on court behavior was apparently so over the top it warranted him being reported to England Squash. Reports mention Gough had a few ‘disagreements’ with the referee during his match, and on top of calling the ref names (swearing), he also made rude hand gestures and suggested that “it was people like you (the ref) that squash didn’t get into the Olympics”.

Now, squash didn’t get into the Olympics for many reasons. I am sure that the wrestling community had a lot to do with the decision, but if we forget about that and look just at the product of squash itself, blame can be widespread. Yes, the quality of the refereeing is definitely a factor, but the players themselves need to take responsibility too. Stop asking for so many lets. You know how to clear, you know how to play through minimal interference, so do it. But – and this is where Mr. Gough has ironically failed to see the light and lead by example – player behavior also turns people off. 

There were (apparently) a few juniors present during the match. Not exactly a great example set by the leader of the world squash tour. To be fair, Gough has denied all allegations. He claims innocence across the board. Fair enough. His word against many. I wasn’t there, so we can just go on what’s reported on the websites. But, where there’s smoke, there’s fire, right? Something happened, and if Gough is innocent of all accusations, then there must be a conspiracy going on.

But, for arguments sake, let’s say it is true; did Gough’s actions bring the sport of squash into disrepute? Should he – as CEO – be disciplined by his own rules? At least issue an apology? Admit the mistake and move on? His outburst wasn’t conducted on social media – it was performed in front of live crowd including influential juniors. That’s worse. A lot worse than tweeting an opinion about equal prize money.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Boasters League round 6~~

It was a slow start to the evening for round 6 and I was wondering for a while if I had missed a memo that another activity or function had taken priority – especially with the miserable weather we had. But those misgivings were wiped away when I ventured downstairs to the court area soon after only to bump into a full crowd that apparently appeared out of nowhere.

A big percentage of those people were once again from the “Winky-Dinks”. Captain Justin Winkelman must be offering some type of special service to his players as they just keep on turning up week after week. With another 12 bonus points last night, they lead the league with a total of 49 for the season so far. That’s only 2 more than “Butter Nutz” but you have remember the “Winky-Dinks” have had one less week to collect them. To put it in another perspective, they have picked up 82% of all possible bonus points. “Butter Nutz” is second best with 63%.

 Which of course places them in a pretty good position. Having already endured the bye week, they are second on the standings behind “Butter Nutz” who have not. It looks like the hunt for first half honors will be between these two rivals unless the remaining chasing teams start to pick it up dramatically.

I know everybody’s match is worth mentioning, but I can’t, so here are a few highlights: Steve Murphy (“Wardogs”) lost 1-2 to Ward Detwiler (“Foss-Nation”) and had a big smile on his face. Despite the loss, he was pleased with his performance in part due to the fact that what we had practiced recently in a lesson paid off for him in the match. Same goes for Anthony Kalorgeridis (“Foss-Nation”) who also lost 1-2 to Doug Troszak (“Wardogs”). He was happy to get a game off Doug – something he hadn’t been able to do before.

Jerry Rock (“Butter Nutz”) had a couple lobs too many for Dave Morrison (“The Kampai Warriors”) as he took a 2-1 victory – the first of the season for Jerry; Kevin Prather (“Winky-Dinks”) picked up his 3rd win of the season with a 2-1 score line over Jim Kelly (“Vivio’s”); and Andy Combs (Paddy’s Dropshots”) recorded his first triumph beating Chris Tipton (“Busting Rails”) 2-1.

Crunch time people. Less than one month left to get your matches played. All I can say is – there are no excuses. You have plenty of time… if you use it wisely!

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