Thursday, February 27, 2014


Boasters League round 8~~

Barring a miracle, the top six teams are poised to advance to the finals. “Butter Nutz” have all but secured top billing despite the fact that they sit out the final round next week. It is highly unlikely that either “Foss Nation” or “Winky-Dinks” will make up the almost 40 point difference by the deadline of March 6. What those two teams should be doing instead is concentrating on ending up second on the ladder which would give them a first round bye for the play-offs. The next 7 days will be rather important for them.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, once again the last three teams have fallen even further behind. Now the gap between the last play-off spot (6th) and 7th is 22 points. Two weeks ago it was just 1. “The Kampai Warriors” have picked up only 25 points during that time. Compare that to “Butter Nutz’s” 65 and it’s easy to see where the problem lies. Another telling statistic is that for round 8 (so far), “Butter Nutz” scored more overall points than the last three teams combined and the “Winky-Dinks” picked up more bonus points than those teams together as well. Not good.

There weren’t too many matches completed last night – so I don’t have many to choose from for major highlights. That being said, standouts for the evening: Julia Dillon (“The Kampai Warriors”) scored her second win of the season taking out “Winky-DinksPaul Gormley 2-1; Mike LoVasco (“Paddy’s Dropshots”) somehow managed to reach up high enough to nullify Jerry Rock’s (“Butter Nutz”) lobs to take a 2-1 victory; Cathy Lysack (“Butter Nutz”) was just a little too steady in the end for Patrick Petz (“Paddy’s Dropshots”) for her 2-1 win; and John Parnell (“Mongoose”) picked up his 3rd win of the half with a tough 2-1 win over Jim Miller (“Wardogs”).

With one week to go, the main story line it appears is who will end up second on the standings. I’m hopeful that maybe one of the lower teams can make a last gasp push but I am skeptical to say the least that that will happen. The scores have to be in by March 6. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Doubles Club Championships - Starts March 17

Often, it’s better that things came in pairs. Shoes for example. There is no much point buying just one. Knife and Fork. How would you carve up that steak without both of those utensils? Laurel and Hardy. Would one be just as hilarious without the other? How popular would Wimbledon really be without their strawberries and cream? Batman and Robin. Can you imagine how would Batman be able to fight crime in Gotham City without his totally useless, “holy-Toledo-I-have-no-special-powers” sidekick...? (Okay, the movies actually proved that one to be true!).

Additionally, it will be awfully difficult to play the 2014 DAC Doubles Club Championships without some type of back-up. And think, when (if) you win you have someone to celebrate with, someone to raise that glass of bubbly to toast the victory, someone to reminisce with years later about the sacrifices you had to make to win... and of course someone to dump all the blame on if you lose!

There are 3 categories to choose from: A, B, and C. Take note, however, that we are all about fair competition at the DAC, and we want everybody in the right category. So, here are some guidelines of what to watch for when choosing your partner:

   An ‘A’ player will under no circumstances be allowed in the C draw regardless of their partner.
   A ‘B’ player partnered up with a ‘C’ player will be entered in the B draw.
   An ‘A’ player partnered up with a ‘B’ player will be placed in the A draw.
   I reserve the right to determine which category your team belongs in.

We are getting more and more players involved in the doubles, but it will be important to secure your partner quickly. Here are some more points to consider if you are looking at playing:

   Enter with a partner. In other words do not ‘reserve’ a spot in the draw. There isn’t much point doing that anyway, there is no limit to the amount of teams allowed.
   All matches will be best of 5 games to 15. There is no tie break to be played, At 14-all, all games play a sudden death rally to 15. There will be no consolation draw.
   Each match will have a deadline for completion. Failure to play the match by the deadline may result in a forfeit for those involved. The tournament must be kept moving along and we cannot wait for those who procrastinate.
   If you are going away for a significant amount of time during the month of the event, do not enter. The schedule for the tournament will not be made around your travel plans.
   Be flexible, be accommodating with your schedule. Everybody is busy, Organizing doubles matches can be frustrating at the best of times when dealing with four calendars at once. Limiting your availability to “I can only play on Monday’s at 5.30am” is not overly helpful.
   Be fair with the let calls. Safety first. Benefit of the doubt should be given. On the other hand, do not ask for lets if you would not have reached the ball anyway. Common sense prevails.

Registration deadline is March 11. All the finals will be scheduled to be played on April 16. We hope all finalists can adjust their schedules accordingly. Simply e-mail me your entry!

Monday, February 24, 2014


Blitz Tournament - Friday, March 14

One Blitz, two Blitz, red Blitz, blue Blitz
Black Blitz, brown Blitz, old Blitz, new Blitz
This Blitz will be full of stars
What a lot of Blitz’ there are!

Some are fast, some are slow
Some are tall, some didn’t grow
Some hit long, some hit short
But all of you will sweat on court!

There are some who like to run
They run for fun until they’re done
And there are some who like to drink
They drink in a blink no need to think

Play some games in groups of four
But with more players it could be more
Play one game, slap, slap, slap
Some of you will be handicapped!

Group winners will then have the chance
To the finals you will advance
Knock-out draw and you’ll agree
Prizes to go to the top three.

Flick! Flick! Flick!
Did you ever hit a nick?
You can hit a nick with a really neat trick
With your squash stick and if you are slick
Make your wrist quick flick,
And hit a real slick trick nick!

And while you’re hear you all can cheer
The magic brew will appear so near
Have no fear let me be clear
We’ll provide a keg of beer.

Some games are long, I will admit
But that’s okay you all are fit
Some games are short, a couple of hits
And that is why we call it “Blitz”! 

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Boasters League round 7~~

The last three teams on the standings have really put themselves into a pickle. When you have 3 rounds to play and you are looking straight down the barrel of play-off elimination, playing a total of 6 matches combined isn’t exactly the way to fight your way up. In fact, collectively, “Mongoose”, “Busting Rails”, and “The Kampai Warriors”, scored 25 points for round 7. (The “Butter Nutz” alone picked up 24.) Now, with 2 rounds to play, the gap to the finals play-off spot has ballooned to 18 points. (The difference between 6th and 7th) Last week it was 1.

I have to admit it is a little disheartening to see how few matches have been played this second half. Typically it isn’t as strong as the first half anyway, but it has been a huge struggle to get people to complete – in some cases any – matches at all. Court usage hasn’t decreased, so what’s the issue??

Butter Nutz” look poised to end up on top of the ladder at the end of round 9. They still have a bye to sit through (in round 9) but second placed “Foss Nation” have their bye next week. “Winky-Dinks” could potentially catch them but they need a very strong showing in the last 2 weeks to do that. Speaking of which, “Winky-Dinks” picked up a season low 7 bonus points yesterday – they’ll need to do better than that if they wish to claim one of the two top seeds.

Tough matches on tap for last night included: Nick Scavone (“Wardogs”) taking out Kevin Prather (“Winky-Dinks”) with a 2-1 win. Kevin was strong in the volley department and can hustle rather well – Nick simply managed to outlast him in the third game. Julie VandeVusse (“Butter Nutz”) moved the ball around the court effectively to make Jim Smietana (“Foss Nation”) cover more of the floor than he probably wanted to take the 2-1 victory. Peter Ulbrich (“Mongoose”) took advantage of a few too many unforced errors from Joe Schaden (“Busting Rails”) to earn his 2-1 win, and Sante Fratarcangeli found himself a few bucks lighter in the wallet after he bet that John Mann (“Foss Nation”) was going to lose to his “Butter Nutz” team mate Andy Petcoff. I guess when $$ are on the line, John steps it up! He won 3-0.

We are down to the final couple of weeks. March 6 is your deadline to play your matches. Can any of the bottom 3 teams make a surge? Will anyone knock “Butter Nutz” off their perch? Will Sante lose more money to John Mann? Will Britt-Marie’s cell phone cover blind anyone daring to look straight at it? Let’s see if any of these mysteries will be solved…

Friday, February 14, 2014


Toledo Tournament Mar 7-9

Once upon a time in a not-so-magical land that wasn’t that far away called “Toledo” (pronounced “Tuh-Lee-Doe”) there was this gentle man who had a very strange job. He was a “Squash Pro” (pronounced “Skwash”). He wasn’t a giant that lived on top of a beanstalk, or someone who lived in a shoe, nor was he a big green Ogre living in a swamp (although that is debatable), he was simply a lonely fellow who wanted to see if there were other “Squash” players around. His name was John.
So he decided to run a tournament of sorts. Not a jousting event, or archery, but for other racquet wielding souls looking for a weekend of joyous celebration. And thus, the Toledo Squash Tournament was born. That was over 20 years ago and it has turned into an annual ritual for many a wanderer, myself included.

It is not an arduous trek to find Toledo, unless the weather turns nasty - which the way things have been lately could be something to watch out for - nor is there a moat full of gators around the castle that is justly branded “The Toledo Club” where one can find the rare entity of gathering squash players and their courts of competition.

You won’t find a golden goose laying golden eggs here, but you will find a bewitching fountain of golden liquid (much like we have at the DAC Classic!) that does have an enchanting spell when  consumed. Amongst these folk, it is called “Beer” (pronounced “Bee-Err” or if you are from my edge of the world, “Bee-A”) and John doubles the mystical powers of this ‘beer’ by having a couple of princesses glide around the establishment serving the contestants, enhancing the rapture of its effects.

For the battle weary, if one manages to win their bouts in the squash arena - which for the uninitiated are made even more difficult to play on because the clever John made them smaller than what we are all used to, to give his home heroes and champions the advantage over the travelers - the reward is a lovely trophy (pronounced “Tro-Fee”) that one can display with pride on their return to their humble domicile.

The jubilation of such a weekend can only be truly appreciated if you go. John welcomes all visitors from all lands with open arms and some of that hoodoo brew called ‘beer’, the only requirement is that you enjoy yourself. I think we could all do that. And, as the fable of the Toledo Squash Open continues year after year, we all can live happily ever after.

The End.

Before you go, click on the above poster for all the details on how to notify John to enter yourself. And into which category. And if you need a place to rest your weary head once night falls. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Boasters League round 6~~

It’s not unusual that after the DAC Classic, players tend to experience a little “squash hangover” and the following week is a lighter one in terms of participation. (Not to be confused with the normal “hangover” brought on by a slight over indulgence of a certain beverage!) Nevertheless, players seem to have been extra motivated by the weekend and court usage has been healthy. Quite a few matches were completed yesterday which helped all the teams (except the one with the bye) and because of that there was only one change in the standings: “Wardogs” swapped positions with “Mongoose” to currently occupy the final play-off spot. (“Mongoose” was the team with the bye). In fact, the least amount of bonus points picked up yesterday was 6 – no prize for guessing which team had the most.

The good news is the bottom three teams closed the gap to that last play-off position. Cellar dwellers “The Kampai Warriors” were 28 points back of that spot last week, now they are only 12. Keep that trend up and the fight for 6th should be an interesting one. “Butter Nutz” have increased their lead at the top and are sitting pretty 12 points ahead of “Foss Nation”. It’s important to remember, however, that these two teams still have a bye week to endure.

Some match highlights of round 6:
Jerry Rock (“Butter Nutz”) once again was in pinpoint form with his snow producing lobs and feather brushing drop shots as he frustrated poor Arnaud Mangin (“The Kampai Warriors”) for a 2-1 win. Jason Massey (“Wardogs”) hustled his way to a 2-1 victory over John Mann (“Foss Nation”) with every game ending up only a couple of points difference. Kevin Kennedy (“The Kampai Warriors”) got revenge on Cathy Lysack (“Butter Nutz”) as he scraped through with a 2-1 win this half, another run fest for the two players. And Mike Rock (“Foss Nation”) dropped only his second game of the half as he beat Steve Murphy (“Wardogs”) 2-1.

There are 3 rounds to play. As a reminder, the deadline to complete any and all matches is Thursday March 6. No extensions will be given. So if you want your season to extend a little longer, I suggest you start contacting your opponents and start making up your missed matches. And captains: start cattle prodding your team to do so!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


DAC Squash Classic Feb 6-9

The DAC prides itself on bending over backwards to make your experience at the club the most memorable possible. When you leave, we want you longing to come back. We try to accommodate and include everyone. This is the tenth time I have run the DAC Squash Classic and every year the response to enter this event gets stronger. Unfortunately, we cannot include everyone who wants to play - it is simply a matter of court time. We don’t have enough of it! Capacity was reached 15 days before the deadline this year. At one point I had a wait list of 25 players.

The beauty of the tournament is the consistent repeat visitors from year to year. Our friends from London never let us down and 31 of them made the trip this year. That’s one off the record set 2 years ago. Windsor also support us is bus loads and we are extremely grateful for that too. In addition, we had 6 players from Toronto, and they have vowed to bring more in 2015. All in all, half the representation of the 155 registered bodies were from outside the DAC walls. Canada had 54 of them.

The furthest travelers were two of our dearest and missed members Ken MacDonald and Chris Moyer who both now reside in Denver. It was wonderful to see them again. The tendrils of this event are also grabbing people from Pittsburgh, Toledo, Dayton, Lansing, Flint, Grand Rapids and Traverse City. And certainly not forgotten, the support from the local clubs in the Detroit area is vitally important: BAC, Life Time Fitness, Franklin.

The DAC players did not have the same level of success as they did in 2013 where 10 of our players picked up some hardware. The competition this year was noticeably tougher.

Dane Fossee (3.5 finalist) and Dino DeMare (2.5 finalist)
2.5~~ The DAC did dominate this, the largest category. It was difficult not too since 24 of the 30 players were members. About 3 months ago, Jeff Huebner came to me and pronounced he was going to win the 2.5 category. A brave prognosis and one I thought was a little ambitious although not totally out of reach. He almost had to eat humble pie after round 1 as he squeaked by Eric Scheible 12-10 in the 5th. It also happened to be the final match of the Thursday schedule - a 10pm start. (That also happened last year where the last Thursday 10pm match finished 14-12 in the 5th!) Jeff went on to win the next 2 rounds 3-0 and it was looking more like he going to fulfill that prophecy. It almost all unraveled in the semi final against Joey Gaylord as another nail-biter  came down to the final couple of rallies in the 5th game. Once again, however, Jeff’s mission remained in tact as he won it 11-9. His opponent in the final was the category dark horse Dino DeMare. Dino started off the tournament with two 3-0 victories, then a very tough 3-2 win over JC Tibbitts in the quarter final, and followed that up with a steady 3-1 win over Josh Gershonowicz in the semi. A very good final and Dino did all he could to ruin the sooth-saying abilities of Jeff, but he fell just a little short. Jeff took the final 3-1, and has now started his next project of winning the lottery.

3.0~~ It’s rather strange these days to see so many results in one category end up 3-0. Only 4 of the 19 matches went 3-1 or 3-2. Mitchell Werner from Franklin was unquestionably the one to beat (and as you will see was the one to beat in the 3.5 too) and he rolled through this bracket dropping only one game (to Shail Arora). He beat Brian Rizzi (Lansing) in the final 3-0. Brian also had an relatively easy run to the final, but Mitchell was clearly the better player on the weekend. Special mention for this level goes to Anne Smith from London, who at the spry young age of 60+ won the consolation bracket beating 3 of our (much younger) members on the way. Amazing. I hope our boys took notes.

3.5~~ This was the second biggest category with 27 players. It was also a lot more competitive than the 3.0 - except for Mitchell Werner. He actually went one better in this level and won all his matches 3-0. Mitchell will be entering the 4.0 and 4.5 next year... Mitchell’s final’s opponent did surprise me a little. Dane Fossee. A couple of excellent 3-1 wins over the in-form Bob Rogers and Ken MacDonald, Dane was the quiet achiever until he was stonewalled by Mitchell in the final. This category produced the closest result of the tournament in the first round with Dave Hornby (Windsor) beating Sean Fossee 15-13 in the 5th.

4.0~~ Anne Smith was not the only successful 60+ player of the weekend. Maurice Strul from Pittsburgh maybe sore for a month after his effort in the 4.0. A highly competitive draw, 13 of the 17 matches were decided in 4 or 5 games. None of Maurice’s matches were 3-0. He won on Friday and Saturday 3-1, before taking on Sante Fratarcangeli in the semi final on Sunday morning. Maurice had to use every single ounce of experience to overcome Sante’s dogged resistance, especially at 10-8 down in the 5th. Sante couldn’t close out the match and a couple of unforced errors at that stage cost him dearly. Maurice took advantage of them and with it the 13-11 victory as well. His opponent was Rob Roy from Windsor who also had to battle fiercely to reach the final. Rob took down London’s Marcus Plowright 3-2 in the semi on Sunday as well, setting up a terrific last match. Maurice was wondering how he was going to be able to keep up with the much younger legs of Rob, hoping for a 3-0 win. He almost managed it after winning the first 2 games, but Rob started to edge his way back. He took the third and fourth and Maurice looked like he had lost the wind in his drooping sails. But once again, experience came to the fore. Slow and steady wins the race. Keep it simple. Let the other guy make the mistakes. It all fell apart for Rob in the 5th as Maurice just kept the ball in play as long as possible, played it safe and let Rob run himself out of position. A great (and smart) 3-2 win for Maurice!

4.5~~ When I posted the draws for this event, the first comment was, “is that the John Acquaviva?” I had no idea that in fact it was the John Acquaviva, the rather well known DJ. Wow. The DAC Classic attracts famous people too! John won his first match and lost the second, performed a gig in Ferndale in Friday night as well, and is so humble. Like all Londonites it was a pleasure having him here. John also lost to the winner of the event. David Garel is the first representative we have had from Dayton and looked very sound on court. Balanced and smooth, he definitely deserved the title. But it wasn’t plain sailing. Andrew Pitters pushed him all the way in the semi final eventually succumbing in 5 games. Andrew has tremendous power, never seems to get tired, loves to hit (smash) winners. It can throw even the most technically correct for a loop with his unorthodox playing style. However, it also hurts him. Wild power causes inconsistency, loose shots will only make you run more and harder and David knew how to punish such errors. In the final, David took care of business with a 3-0 victory over Chris Robitaille from Toronto.

5.0~~ This was the largest 5.0 draw we have had with 22 players. It was always going to be a very difficult draw for any of our members to repeat what Jed Elley did for us last year and win it. John Rakolta was the closest - he was the only one to reach the quarter finals where he lost 3-2 to Aly Somani from Toronto. Aly was then comprehensively beaten 3-0 by the charismatic Seth Rogers (BAC) in the semi. Seth has improved awfully quickly over the past 2 years despite his technique being 100% tennis. A two handed backhand, one that he uses even deep in the back corner, his remarkable speed and tenacity makes up for a lot of footwork issues, Seth has proved to be a burdensome opponent. On the other side of the draw, Kevin Furmanek was carving his way through using a lot more conventional methods. Strong stokes, accurate length, decisive winners. A clash of styles for the final, Kevin appeared not to have much trouble countering the awkward play of Seth. He took the final 3-0. This category produced the second closest match of the tournament when Brad Steel (BAC) beat Derek Aguirre 14-12 in the 5th in a great fun contest... at least fun for the ones watching!

5.5~~ Time for some young blood. Since 2009, the 5.5 has been won by either Mark Eugeni (Windsor) or Brad Hanebury (London). Even though they were in the draw, I had them seeded 4 and 3 respectively. Two youngsters - 17 year old Stefan Houbtchev from Windsor and 16 year old Carter Robitaille from Toronto were poised to take control. Stefan had no issues getting through to the final winning 3-0 all the way. Carter, however, almost became a victim of the Eugeni magic racquet as Mark made life somewhat troublesome with his flicks, deception, nicks, and experience. Mark actually had a 2-1 lead before Carter eventually wore him down and he could be happy with escaping with the 3-2 win. The final was what we expected it would be. Stefan jumped out quickly for a 2-0 lead taking advantage of a sluggish Carter who was struggling with his movements. But in the third, Carter started to gain confidence with lunging out and showed us all just how quick and efficient he can move. Extending rallies, he frustrated Stefan a little. Patience paid off as Stefan couldn’t keep up the consistency needed and he was becoming more hesitant with his short attacking game, popping up the drops and boasts rather than nailing them. The 5th game had Carter come back from a 5-7 deficit and rolled off the next 6 points to win it 11-7. Great stuff!
The "Blue Chips" in full uniform.
They lost to Franklin / Snower
in the second round.

Doubles~~ We have usually haven’t had any issues with the doubles schedule running late over the years. But on Saturday, helped by back-to-back-to-back-to-back 5 setters (okay, one of them was a 4-setter) by the time the final match went on it was 2 hours behind schedule. They went 3-0, but I must give them a special thank you for waiting so long and playing into the dinner time. Traditionally, DAC members do not perform well in these categories and this year was no different. Canadians dominate the draws, although the B winners were a surprise result with BAC’s Michael Snower and Max Franklin taking the honors. Paul Ward and Steve Murphy reached the semi finals of the C draw which was also a surprise (especially to Steve!) only to lose 3-0 to the veterans Lindsay and Anne Smith who continue year after year to reach the final. They repeated last year’s result losing to London’s Heather Betts and Ron Henry 3-2. We had some fantastic doubles matches this year. Splendid 5 set matches kept the crowd on the edge of their seats, which is preferable to everyone even though it ran late. No one wants continuous 3-0 blow outs! All the results can be seen on this link: DAC Classic Tournament Results 

Once again the DAC Classic was a booming success. Such an event cannot be run without the selfless support of our sponsors and members and the staff at the DAC. I really owe them a debt of gratitude. I sincerely hope everyone had a wonderful time and we see all the faces again next year - or as many of you as possible. It is scheduled for the week after the Superbowl in 2015 so place it on your calendars now. Don’t forget to enter early. You know what happens if you procrastinate.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Boasters League round 5~~

I swear Detroit has been picked up and flung squarely on top of Montreal. My days living in that city are filled with wonderful memories, but nothing left a scar more than the freezing temperatures and the amount of snow we had to put up with. It was amazing my tiny 4-door manual Hyundai back then started every morning without fail, and never got stuck. I left a little earlier last night as I knew I had to clear our driveway of the daily dumping we seem to be getting these days. I tried to navigate up the driveway in my lovely mid-sized Kia sedan to our garage – and got stuck. I was shocked at just how deep the snow actually was. My thoughts turned desperate until I eventually freed myself, but then I thanked the person whoever is responsible for the almighty mess, that the storm didn’t hit today – the day of the Classic. Consequently, I was not surprised by the low turnout yesterday for the league.

That being said, I don’t know what Justin Winkelman was smoking yesterday, but I saw an e-mail he sent to his team asking them not to make the effort to get to the DAC for their bonus points. Could he be getting soft??!! No point risking yourselves driving through Siberia for that. However, I also don’t know if there was some hidden message in their either. Kind of like when your significant other says, “Sure, go out with the boys all night drinking to the strip club. I’ll be fine on my own.” Because 10 “Winky-Dinks” turned up anyway. For the record – Justin stayed home.

There weren’t many shakers or movers over the week. In fact, the only change happened at the bottom of the ladder where “Busting Rails” went from last to 8th, pushing “The Kampai Warriors” into the cellar. The top four teams are now pulling away and the last three teams are falling behind. Could the final six already be decided?

There were a couple of tough matches played last night. Patrick Petz (“Paddy’s Dropshots”) has timed it almost perfectly to hit form just before the tournament as he picked up his first win for the half taking Kevin Kennedy (“The Kampai Warriors”) 2-1. To celebrate his win, Patrick jumped on the Handball court for the Commissioners tournament and won that match too. Multi-talented. Scott Langenburg (“Wink-Dinks”) kept his perfect record alive with a 2-1 victory over Tom MacEachern (“Mongoose”) and Glen Milligan (“The Kampai Warriors”) succumbed 3-0 to Margi Scholtes (“Paddy’s Dropshots”) as she scores her first win of the half. Glen said he was simply out played. You were out dressed too.

Believe it or not, we are over the half way mark. Only 4 rounds to play. So, time is running short, and you all have until Thursday March 6 to complete any and all matches. Remember, the last 3 teams are eliminated, the top 6 teams move on to the finals. 

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