Wednesday, December 17, 2014

THE CLASSIC IS READY FOR YOU



DAC Squash Classic - Feb 5-8

Are you ready for it? It certainly appears so. I say that due to the countless e-mails I have received over the past couple of months asking:  “is registration open?”... “can I reserve my hotel room yet?”... “can you make sure I don’t play him in the first round?”... “should I enter the 3.5 or 4.0?”... “can I play in 4 categories?”... “are you open for a lesson at 6.30am next Sunday?”... “are kangaroos a real animal?”…

Excitement for the upcoming event is growing. Before the registrations did open, I believe all the hotel rooms at the DAC were already booked up. That’s a first. Now people are reserving their hotel before they enter. This year is particularly significant for the DAC as we celebrate the 100 year anniversary of our club house. Those of you who are coming from outside Detroit and are familiar with our building, you will notice significant changes to the entrance and hotel lobby area. It has been a long construction period but a worthy one and we hope everyone will be delighted with the improvements.

The beauty of running this event is that we receive a significant amount of ‘repeat customers’. Seeing the same faces every year is a wonderful sign of the support and those faces are the best word-of-mouth advertisement the tournament could possibly ask for. Since so many are well versed with the DAC and the way the Classic is run, my job becomes less stressful! However, just as a reminder and for the DAC Classic ‘rookies’, please take careful note of the following to ensure your DAC experience is outstanding:

Firstly, although not recommended, you are allowed to play in 2 categories. If you choose to do so, it is expected that you play ALL of your matches - even if you receive matches that are back-to-back, or at 8am in the morning, or at 11pm at night. I cannot promise ‘good match times’ or ‘reasonable’ rest between matches if you enter 2 categories. People enter the tournament to play squash, and no one wants to receive a forfeit simply because their opponent couldn’t be bothered to play a consolation match, or was too tired or hung-over to play. It’s simply bad form.

               Maximum 32 players in any one singles category
               2.5 - 3.0 - 3.5 - 4.0 - 4.5 - 5.0 - 5.5
•              Minimum 2 matches per singles draw
               Maximum 16 teams in any one doubles category
               A - B - C
•              Minimum 1 match per doubles draw
•              Walkovers / forfeits count as a match
•              All singles matches are PAR to 11 scoring
•              All doubles matches are best of 5 games to 15 - there is NO tie-break
•              Maximum 145 entries for the entire tournament.
•              Minimum age to enter the tournament is 13
•              Registrations will ONLY be accepted with payment
               Once registration capacity is reached, all subsequent entries will go on a wait list

In order for the DAC Classic to run as hitch free as possible, a lot of responsibility lies with the player. Court space is a premium and we max it out. Here is what you have to consider - and adhere to - when entering:

•           Any player entering the ‘A’ doubles is NOT permitted to play the ‘C’ doubles regardless of partner. In layman’s terms – no sandbagging.
•           We do not use referees for the tournament. It is required that all players conduct themselves on court with their best behavior and avoid all ‘let’ conflicts with their opponents. Be fair, be reasonable, have common sense. We are there to have fun. Arguments will not be tolerated.
•           On the flip side of the point above, for some matches, referees may be required anyway. If you are asked to referee, please accept the duty.
            Be on time for your match. Better yet, be early. Court usage is on a tight schedule and is maximized through the event and there is nothing worse than having a court sit open while we look for you. Take careful note of your match times.

When you enter the DAC Classic, you are agreeing to make yourself available to play during the below listed times. Once the match times are set, they will NOT be changed. It is your own responsibility to arrange your schedule around your playing times. I suggest you clear your calendar of any possible conflicts now. This is a four day event, involving over 140 players and arranging around a specific person’s time table is not viable.

•           For players in the Detroit area – including Ann Arbor, Lansing, Toledo, Windsor:
                        Thursday, February 5 between 4pm and 11pm
                        Friday, February 6 between 3pm and midnight
                        Saturday, February 7 between 8am and 8pm
                        Sunday, February 8 between 8am and 4pm 

•           For all other players:
                        Friday, February 6 between 3pm and midnight
                        Saturday, February 7 between 8am and 8pm
                        Sunday, February 8 between 8am and 4pm

If any player from out of town can play Thursday, then please let me know. Because we receive oodles of entries from our beloved friends in London, it may be impossible to avoid some first round matches against your own club members.

Support for the DAC Classic doesn’t only come from the players every year, but also from our sponsors. Once again, we are extremely proud of all our main sponsors who continue to contribute annually. They are the backbone to the prolonged success of the tournament. If you meet them over the weekend, be sure to thank them!:

•              Skidmore Inc – Patrick Petz
•              Smith Barney – Sean Moran
•              Advanced Voice and Data Solutions – Anil Kathuria
•              Corbet, Shaw, Essad, Tucciarone, Bonasso – Bruce Shaw
•              SVS Vision – Ken Stann
•              Metropolitan Baking – George Kordas
•              AARO Companies – Tom Fabbri
•              Adlhoch and Associates – Scott Adlhoch
               Outrigger Imaging – Joe Schaden 

Registration deadline is Friday January 23. However, it is expected that capacity will be reached well before that date. If you plan on playing, enter immediately. Hesitation will prove disappointing. If you do find yourself on the outside looking in, I recommend you place yourself on the wait list. Obviously I cannot guarantee you’ll get in, but at least there is a small chance.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

FARRIS CUP HOPES



Farris Cup, Sat January 10, 2015 at the DAC

We have all heard that the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. Well, the DAC can’t be feeling all that ‘smart’ based on the results of the past 4 years. No matter who we place on court, the Birmingham Athletic Club (BAC) has annihilated us… in fact we have lost a total of 50 matches to 14 in that time span.

On the other side of the coin, we have also all heard of the saying, “at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” I am more inclined to take this advice as we front up this January and try to take down the BAC for the first time since 2010. And try we will, I have no doubt about that. Our representatives come from the winners and finalists from the 2014 Club Championships and they will be playing against their BAC counterparts in 14 singles and 3 doubles matches.

Helping us is our home court advantage this year. Anything to give us a little edge. Plus, it would be terrific if we could be just like the Seattle Seahawks when they play at home and use the crowd as the ‘extra man’ on the field… in other words, come on down and cheer on (loudly) our players to encourage and push them through the no doubt difficult task of winning!

After the matches, at approximately 12.30 pm, there will be a coat and tie luncheon for the players and guests where the winning club will be presented with the Farris Cup trophy. If you wish to attend the luncheon, please let me know. ($15 ++)

The event is scheduled for Saturday, January 10 at the DAC. Matches kick off at 9.15am. The Farris Cup is in its 11th year and was created in honor of John C. Farris who was a member of both clubs. He passed away in 2004, a diligent promoter of the sport.

Our proud representatives are:
Singles: Derek Aguirre – Peter Logan – Ryan Covell – Anthony Fracchia – Brien Baker – Scott Adlhoch – Sante Fratarcangeli – Chris Van Tol – Scott Langenburg – Tom MacEachern – Jason Currie – Sean Moran – John Mann – Josh Gershonowicz
Doubles: Kirk Haggarty – Mike Eugenio – John Dunwoody – Bob Burton – Bill Oddo – Rich Stimson

Monday, December 15, 2014

IT’S JED’S KEG



Hops Challenge Dec 10~~

It’s a rarity to see our club one and two play a ‘real’ match. The last time Jed Elley and Peter Logan had an all-out best-of-5 encounter was in May for the Club Championships. It was an epic battle back then with Jed wining it 12-10 in the 5th. We tried to recapture the excitement for the Hops Challenge and we were not far off!

Chip McDaniel and Brian Schrage
Before we delve into the details, 28 others graced the courts for their own ‘blockbuster’ skirmish. I placed them onto either Jed’s team or Peter’s team. The overall team results were meaningless – only the feature match had any purpose: The loser would have to pay for the night’s keg. But that doesn’t stop everyone from busting a lung to win. Of course not all of them end up going the distance, but a small handful did:

Dane Fossee and Bob Rogers kicked the evening off exactly where they left off from the previous Friday’s Holiday Tournament – doing 4-corner court sprints with a the occasional hip-check into a wall. It wouldn’t be kosher if these two played any less than the full contingent of games, so they understandably went to 5. Dane pulled it out again, and from the four recorded scores I have between the pair, they have now won 2 matches each. I guess they’ll have to play a 5th

John Mann and JC Tibbitts
Another never-say-die encounter came between Chip McDaniel and Brian Schrage. After seeing them play a boasters league match a couple of weeks ago where they crawled off as if they’d spent the past week and a half inching their way through the Sahara desert without water, I thought they needed to re-live the experience. Chip won that boasters league match 2-1 that day, and once again – after bringing themselves to almost total exhaustion – Chip forced himself to a 3-2 victory. Strangely, they both displayed the best and swiftest footwork of the evening between the court door and the keg…

John Mann and JC Tibbitts have also created a friendly rivalry. JC claims to beat John in their practice games but can’t seem to translate that when the match actually counts. In their past 4 ‘real’ matches, the 3 of them that went to five games all were in favor of John. In this case, they went to 5 games again. Not a good sign for JC, I’m sure the 5th set hurdle is mentally grinding away at him. Nothing improved for him here. John took another 5-game win over JC and no doubt deepened the mental scar a fraction more.

One more 5-game confrontation to mention. Jim Stroh and Sante Fratarcangeli. This too is building up into a rivalry. We take this match’s rundown from our guest on-site reporter from DAC-1 News Room, John Mann. John…? “Thanks, Mick… I’m here in front of court 7 having witnessed one the best 5th game comebacks in recent memory. After Sante raced off to a 2 games to 0 lead, it looked all but over. However, it seemed that Sante slightly let  his foot off the gas in the 3rd game and Jim saw that opening and pounced on it. He then continued that streak into the 4th and forced the decider. Sante then knuckled down and got back to playing a solid game and controlled the 5th up until 9-5. Jim appeared to have accepted his fate. He relaxed and somehow picked up a couple of points closing the gap to just 2 points. He had a sniff and Sante knew it, which had Sante tense up slightly, forcing some ill-timed unforced errors. Suddenly, Jim had 10-9 match ball. The last rally would live in controversial infamy. Was it a doubles bounce? Sante stretched out for a Jim Stroh drop shot, but the ball was called down. The call  was wildly contested but none of the video replays could irrefutably reverse the call on the court so it had to stand. Jim escaped with an 11-9 in the 5th victory and Sante now owes me $40. Back to you, Mick…” Thanks, John – sounds like it was quite the ride!

The highlight of the evening relived mostly what we were anticipating: Jed and Peter going at it like Ndamukong Suh going after a fallen Green Bay Packer. (But without the nastiness!) Pride is one huge motivator. Keg aside, the two would have played just as hard without it, their battle was a roller coaster adventure. The first game is generally one where the players ‘feel’ each other out. Neither risks too much, looking simply to establish length and rhythm. Who would end up being the more patient customer? It was fairly evenly contested, not too much flashy squash going on, and with a couple of smart short attacks at the end of the game, Jed had scored first blood with an 11-9 win.
Peter Logan and Jed Elley

In the second, it was just about all Logan. Steady Eddie. Jed does have the tendency now and then to shoot a little too early and maybe the end of the first game sucked him into thinking he should take the ball in short more often. But the tin got in the way on many of those attempts. Peter simply kept it up and let his opponent shoot himself out of it. Peter won it 11-6.

The third saw the pace pick up a little more. One could see that Peter – who had his knee wrapped – was starting to feel slightly uncomfortable with his movement. With increased pace, it would be even more difficult to cover the court, but Peter can read the ball very well. He managed to chase down most of what Jed threw at him, but in the end it did prove a couple of points too many. Jed took the third 11-8.

Back to length in the fourth. With a hampered movement, Peter pounded the back court. Keeping Jed pinned, it would be a matter of not if Jed would shoot, but when. A dangerous tactic just waiting for your opponent to do something – it can backfire very easily – you need to be very precise for a long period of time. Jed would shoot – and often well. It was a long game, Peter’s movement was becoming more beleaguered, and he was hanging on but the paint of his racquet. Eventually, and quite surprisingly – Peter edged the game out 13-11.

The 5th. Sadly, Peter’s fourth game effort put him out of contention to fight for the last one. His movement was no more. Jed recognized it quickly, and made short work of it. It was a pity we didn’t have the 5th game showdown like we did in May, but it is a taste of we can expect come next Club Championships in 2015. Hopefully Peter is healthy and ready for a re-match.

For the record, Jed’s team won the evening 10 matches to 6. Quote of the evening goes to Patrick Petz after he was beaten 3-0 by DJ Boyd: “I just suck”. Nothing further needs to be added there. Special mention goes to Suzanne McGoey and John Parnell who not only had to down a couple of beers before their match, but straight up scotch as well. Not a bad effort! I don’t know how you can do that. And for the ‘scorers’ award, we’ll hand it to Andrew Spohn and Justin Winkelman who ended up with a 4 games to 2 result. Remedial math, anyone?


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

100 YEARS TO COMPETE



Doubles 100 Tournament – starts January 6

100 years. That’s a long time. I’m not even half way there although at the end of the work day I often feel like I’ve well surpassed it. Looking at old photos of myself, I wonder how on earth I morphed into what I am today. (Or how I could possibly have carried that appalling hairdo! How were mullets ever in style?!) I find history very interesting and it’s fascinating to look back to see what was happening in our sporting world 100 years ago…

Babe Ruth made his MLB debut in June 1914. He actually was recruited for his pitching abilities rather than his hitting. Maybe there is hope for Phil Coke…? Tug-o-war was an Olympic event in 1912 in Stockholm, which still leaves hope for all squash enthusiasts that ‘obscure’ sports can actually get accepted! The Indianapolis 500 was won in over 6 hours at an average speed of 83 mph. We drive faster than that on Michigan highways! Compare that to this year where the winner won in 2 hours and 40 minutes at an average of 186 mph…!

The great squash champion Hashim Khan was born in 1914 (reportedly) and squash never looked the same again. A man ahead of his time, I wonder who will be remembered in the squash world 100 years from now the same way? World champion Nick Matthew had a baby girl this year (or his wife did) and James Willstrop’s wife had a boy last year. The genes are no doubt helpful here, so will the squash world be looking upon one or both of these kids in a century time with the same wonderment as we do Hashim?

Which brings us to the 2015 Doubles 100 event! No, you don’t have to be 100 years old to compete, but the combined age of your team does. So you better start acting quickly to find the right partner at the right age. We will have an A and B draw (for which I will decide where to place you).

Things to do when entering:
  1. Do it BEFORE the registration deadline. This, by the way, will be Friday, January 2. It’s impossible to add you into the draw once it has been sent out.
  2. Enter WITH a partner. It is your task to find a partner. So be quick. Sending me an e-mail that says “I’m in” isn’t particularly helpful.
  3. Make sure your MATH is sound. 100 does not mean “99 with a making an exception”.
  4. Be prepared to be FLEXIBLE with your schedule when organizing the matches. Deadlines will be issued, and it is expected that matches are completed within the set time limit.
  5. If you will away for a period of time during the tournament (more than a week at one time) then probably better NOT to enter. We can’t have the event held up.
  6. Winning the category will get you a prize. It will NOT get you remembered 100 years from now.
Over the years we have had some very close finals results, so you can expect to get tough matches in this tournament. And with more people playing doubles, it only stands to reason the matches should be even tougher! Up for the challenge?

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