As has been the trend with just about every single squash event that has run lately, participation has been strong. This was the 10th Annual Holiday Tournament (geez, has it been that long already!) and only the second time we reached registration capacity with 24 players. I wasn’t overly surprised we did, but as an added delightful Christmas gift, for the first time ever the club top three ranked players entered - Pablo Buitron, Jed Elley and Peter Logan.
This rare opportunity was very much welcomed by all. Here was a chance not only for everybody to watch these guys in action, but also the possibility to hop on court with them. It was a tremendous learning occasion.
The format of this event is such that Lady Luck can pay a large factor in your overall results. In the first round, literally anybody could play anybody. That means Pablo could have played Jed or Peter to start. They didn’t, but they would have to tackle each other later on. With a full contingent of players, matches were ‘shortened’ to three games of 7 points (no tie-break, and no handicapping). A shorter game evens up the battle field a little and we did have a slew of 2-1 results through the evening and I believe 3 matches that were decided 7-6 in the 3rd game.
|Jed Elley and Dane Fossee|
Everybody who got to hit with one of the ‘top three’ relished the experience. Regularly, Dane Fossee puts his money on the table for the weekly “Challenge the Pro” with me. He runs his gluteus maximus into the floorboards, and quite frankly, ‘mercy’ is not something I am very familiar with. Neither is Jed Elley. In an all too familiar setting, Jed ran Dane into the Purchasing Department (which is in the basement under court 7) and in one particular rally, for some reason Dane simply would not stop. Luckily the rally ended mere seconds from Dane falling into a coma. He then whiffed at Jed’s next serve.
Undeniably, no DAC event would be complete without the appropriate hydration station. Some partake more than others and it would be fair to say that a little over-indulgence may affect one’s squash skills slightly. Some may claim it improves them, in which case we should have been witnessing some world-class action... alas, it must have been happening upstairs out of my sight! By the time round 3 came around the ‘clash of the titans’ were beginning. Peter v Pablo belted it out. I think Peter had a couple more bicep curls behind him than Pablo, but you wouldn’t really have known by the way he was playing and moving. However, Pablo proved too smooth and steady, and aided by a couple of gut tearing boasts, he took the match 3-0.
|Woman Power! Esther Thomas, Kelly Maher, |
Cathy Lysack, Julie VandeVusse
We cannot forget about the other 21 players in the draw. There was some terrific contests going on all evening, some rival matches worth mentioning: Bob Rogers and Anil Kathuria went at each other like a couple of rabid dogs fighting over a slice of raw meat, feet moving so fast it was as if I was watching Road Runner being chased by Wile E. Coyote. Bob took the match 2-1, the huffing and puffing could be heard from the mezzanine level. Phil Pitters and Brien Baker emulated them and we all know how Phil can scamper from corner to corner. It seems to me he sometimes wants to run more. Brien was happy to accommodate, and won 3-0. We also had two husband and wife couples playing, and to their no doubt overwhelming joy, did not end up having to play each other. In fact, we had 4 women in the event - another first - and a positive trend we would very much like to continue and improve on.
|Peter Logan, Pablo Buitron|
The final match of the tournament had Pablo versus Jed. Once again, Pablo had an itsy-bitsy benefit of not having walked over to the kegerator as often. But don’t forget: Jed is a South African and immunity is inherent. Pablo took the first game comfortably as Jed struggled to find rhythm - which he then did in the second. He wrested the momentum away and rolled off the points to take the match into a deciding winner-take-all third. Getting some super-juice from his darling daughter’s sippy-cup, Jed may have been better off chugging a brewski instead. Pablo stamped his authority early in the third for a quick 5-0 lead. Jed muscled back a couple of points, but he had left himself to big a hurdle to climb. Pablo won 2-1!
With Peter Logan taking third spot, we had 4 players tied for fourth - Brien Baker, Rich Stimson, Stu Neufeld and Dane Fossee. The gift choosing went as expected - most of what was on offer was booze, and thankfully we do not have to add anything onto the banned substances list for next year!
One thing that we were missing this year were two regulars who really get into the spirit of the Holidays by dressing in the festive colors: Sante and Patrick Petz. We were saved though by Chuck Doyle in his red / green garb and partly by John Maher who subtlety of the green / red shoes and laces should be expanded to his shorts and shirt next year so he can parade around as the world’s tallest elf.