Holiday Tournament December 4
Hardly a silent night of squash playing, the atmosphere of the 22 participants was boisterous, animated, and enthusiastic. It was a good showing for the 12th annual Holiday Tournament, and especially pleasing was the number of new faces to the event. Meeting and competing against new people is what keeps the squash program active, appealing and growing.
The nature of the format creates match-ups that would normally never occur during league or box ladders. Random drawings can pit beginners against the more experienced but it gives the underdog a great opportunity to see what is needed to reach the higher levels.
|Dave Devine and Dewey "Boo-Yah" Steffen|
Dewey “Boo-Yah” Steffen recently picked up squash and seems to be relishing the competitive qualities of the sport. His tall, long frame which worked well for him on the basketball court can be an advantage on the squash court as well, but he is painfully discovering that much of the game is played well below knee level. His never ending desperation has him sprawling all over the floor on a regular basis, and while it is entertaining for us observers, his red-raw knees would be screaming at him to learn how to lunge rather than dive! He did get one win on the day though - and lost two others 2-1. Commendable, band-aid filled, effort!
Quote of the evening came from Ian Edwards after his 4th and final match against Greg Allare. I can’t sit here and tell you that their game was a rhythmic, enchanting dance of squash in its purest and prettiest form, because, well... it wasn’t. It was, however, and back and forth of scrambling, delightful misdirectional squash, at times comical in its unorthodox manner. Greg took it 2 games to 1 and all Ian had to mumble afterwards: “We should play sober some time..!” That didn’t stop him or Greg from grabbing another beer immediately thereafter.
I also cannot pass up the opportunity to mention Colin Bayer. It was encouraged to dress in Christmas themed gear for the evening and many of the crew did don their red and green. I am not quite sure, then, how Colin decided that wearing a t-shirt 5 sizes too small kept to that topic. He could have tucked the shirt in - if his shorts were up to his chest. A 4th place finish on the day, his only loss came at the hands of the eventual winner.
|Zac and Ryan MacVoy|
Having matches best of 3 games to 7 points does make every rally all the more important. There were plenty of 2-1 results - 19 of them. Brothers Ryan and Zac MacVoy have a typical sibling rivalry going and unfortunately the two were not drawn to play each other, but each match they did play ended up with a 2-1 score line. In this case, Zac won 1 more game than Ryan and can brag with the higher finish until at least their next encounter.
|Paul Ward and Sante|
By the time of the fourth and final round was upon us, it was down to two players for the title: Paul Ward and Sante Fratarcangeli. Neither of them had dropped a game up to this stage, but they had dropped (or downed) plenty of pints. We couldn’t have asked for a more exciting last match either. After splitting the first 2 games with the crowd cheering them on but not really following all that closely, the intensity suddenly picked up in the third. Now the audience was involved with raucous beer-inspired encouragement! Paul and Sante were going hard at it, albeit not the tightest squash ever seen, a few unforced errors, and the spectators got what they were pleading for: a sudden death rally, 6-6 in the 3rd game, for the title! And what would such an occasion be without a smidgen of controversy? A debate erupted after the first sudden-death rally over whether the ball had hit Sante or not - which would of course be a stroke to Paul. It was difficult to see exactly what had happened, and Sante professed his innocence. A let was eventually played and Sante’s ensuing serve bounced awkwardly in the back corner and ended up being a winner! It was all in good spirits, though, and in the end both Paul and Sante took away a deserved prize from the gift table... as did all the other competitors. The final standings: 1st was Sante - 11 points; 2nd place was Paul - 10 points; and 3rd was Dane Fossee with 9.
Finally, I would like to extend my gratitude to the group for the fine gift I received from them - you should really know that it does mean a awful lot to me. Merry Christmas!