Thursday, October 30, 2014

SEPARATION ANXIETY



Boasters League round 5~~

We are a tight-knit bunch, aren’t we? Even though “Mongoose” are still holding onto top spot, their lead shrunk from 15 points to just 11, and the teams chasing them decided to huddle together as close as possible. “Winky-Dinks” made the biggest leap from last week moving from 6th place into equal second, helped by a week’s best 12 bonus points. The “Space Geckos” and “Butter Nutz” kept pace nicely, but one must not forget that from the 4 top ranked teams, the “Butter Nutz” are the only one that have already had the bye week. In reality, they are well and truly going to be the team to beat for the first half.

Vivio’s” sat out this week and clearly suffered as they drop from second to sixth. Still, they are only 13 points off the second place – something that can be made up quickly and easily enough. “Foss Nation” and “Wardogs” and starting to fade a little, and once again, these two teams - who are last and second last – have so far accumulated the least amount of bonus points. But, if you average the bonus points picked up per week (taking into consideration the ‘bye’ week), “Butter Nutz” are collecting 11 points per week as a league’s best, with “Mongoose” second and Wardogs third, and the lowest average goes to “Nick at Night” with just 8.2. It might not sound like much, but over 8 playing weeks, it adds up. “Nick at Night” also have the bye this coming week and may see themselves fall down close to the cellar.

Competitive matches last night worth mentioning include: Mark Monaghan (“The Nicker Ballers”) took down not only himself as he turned heads with his loud diving attempts, but also Todd Baker (“Space Geckos”) 2-1. We can’t tell anymore which of Mark’s body scars are new, and which are old. Joe Paglino (“Butter Nutz”) managed to hustle past the crafty Drew Creamer (“Nick at Night”) with a tough 2-1 victory; George Kordas (“Nick at Night”) picked up his first win of the season with a 2-1 triumph over Ryan Bendzinski (“Butter Nutz”); and James Stuntz (“Winky-Dinks”) scored his second win with a 2-1 nail biter over Steve Murphy (“Wardogs”) – Steve’s first loss.

We are now just over 1 month away from the end of the first half. The deadline for completed matches is December 5. The standings are very tight; hopefully it will stay this way until the end! Bonus points may be the tie breaker… time to kick it into high gear!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

MONGOOSE TAKE CHARGE



Boasters League round 4~~

With “Butter Nutz” sitting this week out, somebody had to step up and take over. That somebody was team “Mongoose”. They not only completed the most matches this week (along with their opponents “The Nicker Ballers”), but they also picked up the most bonus points with 12. In fact, “Mongoose” have accumulated the most bonus points over all so far, which leaves one wondering what happened to the “Winky-Dinks” who usually lead that category every season.

Despite the bye week, “Butter Nutz” has remained in the top three of the standings, which in effect puts them in the driver’s seat. The other 3 teams in the top four all still have the ’rest’ week to come – “Vivio’s” have it for round 5 and will certainly lose their second position.

Interestingly, if the teams were ranked by average amount of points per round – taking into account who has had the bye week – “Butter Nutz” would be top with “Mongoose” second. “The Nicker Ballers” would then be third, “Foss Nation” fourth. In last place we would find “Nick at Night” and the “Winky-Dinks”. Should be a fascinating run to the half way mark of the season… which by the way is on December 3.

Although it didn’t feel like it, the courts were busy last night. A reasonable amount of matches were completed with a number of close results: Tom Fabbri (“Wardogs”) squeaked past Josh Slominski (“Space Geckos”) by the hair of his chinny-chin-chin 15-14, 15-13, 14-15. Josh said he played pretty well, but Tom’s length was very accurate and had him handcuffed in the back corners. While Tom and Josh were trading rails, next door Jay Poplawski (“Space Geckos”) couldn’t quite overcome the tenacious running efforts of Kevin Kennedy (“Wardogs”). Both players looked as if they just hopped out of the Jacuzzi, Kevin taking the 2-1 win.

John Roarty (“Vivio’s”) continued his good form from the box ladders and picked up his first win of the season after downing Jim Stroh (“Nick at Night”) 2-1; Jim Miller (“Winky-Dinks”) also scored his first victory handing Sam Fogleman (“Foss Nation”) his first loss 2-1; and Kelly Smythe (“The Nicker Ballers”) picked up the third game in her 1-2 loss to Brandon Linton (“Mongoose”).

After next week, we will be over the half-way mark of the first half of the season… still plenty of squash to be played, no team is by any means out of this and it may end up being the closest standings we have ever had. (I am forever hopeful!)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

BATTLING. BOISTEROUS. BOASTERS.



Boasters League round 3~

Wednesday league nights have almost turned into a carnival atmosphere lately. It has been wonderful to see the activity, the courts never empty, the keg never left alone, the social gatherings loud and enthusiastic. It is what the Boasters is all about.

So far for round three, 31 matches have been played. That’s actually not that many – less than half. All teams have the potential to make massive strides if they would simply get on court. That being said, teams are getting many make-up matches completed, which is keeping the standings reasonably tight.

Only 10 points separate 2nd from 6th, with “Butter Nutz” still occupying top spot. However, that will no doubt change by this time next week as “Butter Nutz” has the bye for round 4 and their 10 point buffer won’t be enough to hold the rest back unless they play plenty of missed matches. The three teams that have had the bye already have done a fairly decent job of keeping pace. Even though they take up the last three places on the standings, it’s a little misleading.

Some results worth a special mention… John Hanley (“Mongoose”) would be no doubt happy with his first win of the season and he’ll take the confidence booster after beating the previously undefeated Larry Lipa (“Vivio’s”) 2-1; Matt DiDio (“Butter Nutz”) picked up his second victory taking out Mike Petix (“Winky-Dinks”) 2-1; Jeff Gembis (“Space Geckos”) is slowly hitting his stride as he earns a tough win over Jim Stroh (“Nick at Night”) 2-1; James Van Dyke (“The Nicker Ballers”) overcame a slow start against Tom Fabbri (“Wardogs”) and righted the ship in games two and three for a tough and close 2-1 victory.

Extra special mention goes to JC Tibbitts (“Nick at Night”) who had to suffer through heavy trash talking from Colin Bayer (“Space Geckos”) only to serve up a 3-0 piece of humble pie back…! You gotta love the camaraderie!

It will be interesting to see where “Butter Nutz” lands on the ladder after their bye week. Will they hold on to a top 3 position? Top spot will be up for grabs… who will step up and take ownership?

Monday, October 13, 2014

A WARD WINNING PERFORMANCE



Blitz Tournament October 10 2014

For the first time in recorded history of the DAC, everybody turned up on time for the start of an event. At 2 minutes to 5pm, we had all competitors ready to go. Racquet in hand, laces tied, beer in the other hand… oh, hang on… dang! We were one player short. The current 2-time reigning Blitz Tournament champion, Sante Fratarcangeli, was running late. And we were so close to making history!

But, as they say in show business, “the show must go on”, so we started without him. The 20 players were split up into 4 groups of 5. A couple of new players in the mix made the handicapping a little tricky. Actually, it made it pure guess work. As it turned out, I was only off by a smidge in the end, which I’ll take as a success even though the affected party(s) wouldn’t. The ultimate goal is to have every match end up with a 15-14 score, proving my handicap correct. We had a handful.

Julie, Ian, Justin and Jon
Group 1 had three 15-14 results. The first match of the evening started beautifully with Mike Counsman and JC Tibbitts going at it. JC started off with 10 points and at the business end of the contest had 2 game balls at 14-13. However, he literally handed the win to Mike as he tinned 2 drop shots that had a very good chance of being winners if they were up. Mike’s second match was against new member Becket Marum. Becket’s handicap was also 10, and admittedly it was a complete stab in the dark - I was hoping he would stand up to the task. And he did. Even though he is new, Becket is picking up the game quickly. Scrappy, but a hustler, he pick-pocketed enough points to take the game to a sudden death rally. Mike still pulled it out 15-14, another nervous win.

Jon Dengel scored the other 15-14 victory in the group, this one over Chip McDaniel. Chip had to give up 9 to start the game, and the two players had some very nice exchanges. A couple of nasty unforced errors from Chip ended up being the difference. When the final match of the group went on, Jon had to play Mike. If Mike won, he would sweep the group. Jon needed to win to force a 3-way tie. The 13 point handicap was more than enough for Jon. Three rallies later, he walked off the 15-1 winner.

With 3 players tied with 3 wins each, and only 2 players able to move on to the knock-out phase, straws were drawn to see who advanced. Jon, who dominated Mike on the court, is terrible at pulling straws. He lost out.

Group 2 would also have three 15-14 results. All of them to the same player. And, he won the all as well! Paul Ward did this the hard way, taking Mike Rock (9 point handicap), Bret Williams (8) and Paul Fershee (12) to the brink of the upset only to yank it viciously away. Apparently, Paul (Ward) likes to live on the edge. The other three players would end up with 2 wins apiece, helped out by the withdrawal of Alan Howard who tweaked his hamstring in his first match. It was a merry-go-round of results with Paul (Fershee) beating Bret who beat Mike who beat Paul (F). Again, straws would have to be drawn to see who from the three could advance to the finals round. It must be something in the name, because joining Paul Ward would be Paul Fershee!

Fashionista Sante Fratarcangeli.
Group 3. Only one 15-14 score to mention here and that would be between Julie Vande Vusse and Ian Edwards. Julie had 4 points to start, Ian had 4 beers to start, and the pair couldn’t have been better matched. The game could have begun 0-0, there wasn’t any clear dominating player. Julie ended up with the win today, but Ian quickly found solace at the keg. He was also a winner. Sweeping this group was the late comer Sante Fratarcangeli (current 2-time reigning Blitz Tournament champion). Splendid in his all white spandex suit with red shorts, and the splash of bright yellow on his shoes to complete the ensemble, Sante (current 2-time reigning Blitz Tournament champion) had to make up for lost time and powered his way through the group winning all of the games. They were close though, three of them were 15-13, the other 15-12. Sante (current 2-time reigning Blitz Tournament champion) was looking for the 3-peat. The second player from the group to advance would again be decided by Lady Luck. Three players were tied for second with 2 wins each. Mark Monaghan (who in Sante’s (current 2-time reigning Blitz Tournament champion) match had three full body dives and one between the legs miracle shot out of the back right corner), Julie Vande Vusse and Ian Edwards. The better straw-drawer on this occasion would be Mark.

Group 4. Another two 15-14 results came from this group. Bob Rogers gave up 8 points to Steve Murphy which was just enough for Bob to win the sudden death 14-all point, and the second one actually went to Steve who squeaked out the do-or-die rally against Esther Thomas who had a 7 point handicap going in.  Bob would end up winning all 4 of his matches, two of them 15-12. And for the 4th time in a row, we would have to draw from the now worn-out straws to find the second finalist. Steve, Justin Winkelman and Mike McCuish all had 2 wins each. Another carousel of victories between the players: Steve beats Justin who beats Mike who beats Steve… Fortune favored the McCuish for this one!

Fortune did not favor the McCuish for the first finals match. His 5 point head start was not enough to overcome the power volley of JC Tibbitts who took him 15-10 and was building his momentum more and more with every game. Would it be up to Sante (current 2-time reigning Blitz Tournament champion) to stop him? Ummm…. No. Sante (current 2-time reigning Blitz Tournament champion) would be not have a chance to make it 3 in a row as the 12 points he gave up to Paul Fershee was just a little too much. Sante (current 2-time reigning Blitz Tournament champion) got close though, but Paul took it 15-13. Jumping on court with JC, Paul’s 8 points was no match. JC was on a roll and wasn’t going to give Paul any gifts, he wasn’t interested in playing more rallies than he had to. It was 15-10 and JC moved on to the final.
Paul Ward and JC Tibbitts

On the other half of the finals draw, a battle of acrobats, Bob Rogers bounced off a couple more walls than Mark Monaghan did to take that game 15-12. Bob’s next round was against Paul Ward (who, in his match, ran down too many balls for Mike Counsman, helped also with the 4 point head start). Bob took on Paul with a 6 point lead, both players pleading their case to change the handicap in their favor. I wasn’t budging, and the two went hard. Both renowned for running, it wasn’t smooth sailing for either, but the consistency of Paul would be the telling factor. 15-12.

Two tired players for the final. I handed JC 8 points to start the game, wanting to put a little extra pressure on Paul. But the effort by JC leading up to this point proved to be fatal. He hit the wall. Hard. In fact, I think it knocked him over. In hindsight, I should have given JC 13 points, which would have been ludicrous. All Paul had to do was keep the rally going and he did 15 of 16 times. He took the final 15-9. Paul Ward takes his second Blitz Tournament title – his first way back in March 2009. In the 3rd / 4th play-off, Bob Rogers edged out Paul Fershee 15-13.

It was a great evening. Not sure if the keg ended up dead or not, but a huge effort was made to do so. Thank you to all for such a smooth running event!





Thursday, October 9, 2014

BUSY. BUSTLING. BOASTERS.



Boasters League round 2~~

Nothing like the endless sound of squash balls thwacking against the wall for hours on end to ease the mind. It was great to see the activity level last night, players lining up to get on court, lining up watching the matches and lining up to grab a beer!

Just about every team is doing well in the bonus point department so far, people are turning up in numbers. Still, even with the amount of play, there are still many matches to be completed for the first two rounds. “Butter Nutz” have extended their lead atop the standing to 10 points over “Space Geckos” and “Vivio’s”, but it is still too early to get overly excited about that.  The other teams are not that far back… hopefully everyone can keep up with Sante’s crew.

There were many matches to choose from that could be highlighted. The ones that raised my bushy eye-brows the most were… Ryan Bendzinski (“Butter Nutz”) taking 2 out of 3 games from Fred Fordon (“Space Geckos”). Ryan politely left me a message on my voice mail about the win expressing how tough a match it was! Chris Tipton (“Mongoose”) having to come back twice in 2 of the games against Nick Petcoff (“Nick at Night”) for his 2-1 victory, leaving Nick pondering all of the missed opportunities. Alan Howard (“The Nicker Ballers”) running himself and Shail Arora (“Foss Nation”) to exhaustion (which is tough to do with Shail!) as he was relieved with his 2-1 win; and Josh Slominski (“Space Geckos”) avenging a recent loss to Jordan Ellis (“Butter Nutz”) with a no doubt satisfying 2-1 triumph.

Liz McClure. Perfect form.
I will take this opportunity to mention that up to date the highest point getter in the entire league goes to none other than Liz McClure of the “Butter Nutz”. She is the only player to turn up both weeks, win 3-0, and attend the referee clinic that was held at the end of September. I am sure Sante is very proud.

Looking ahead to week 3, “Foss Nation” need to get their act together a little as they endure the ‘bye’ week. Currently 7th on the standings they are in real danger of slipping way off the radar as I’m sure the 8th and 9th teams will overtake easily unless make up matches are done. So play, play, play!

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