Toledo Open Mar 7-9
The DAC had a little better representation at this year’s Toledo Open. Compared to our sole player in 2013, we had 4 members (plus myself) make the trip this time. Unfortunately, none of us could really get our racquets working the way we would have liked.
As you know, the Toledo courts are narrower and that throws off your timing quite considerably. This is the 10th time I have made the trip and after his weekend I am convinced that I am getting worse rather than better with being able to understand the tactic and find my rhythm quicker. Even though I won my first 2 matches 3-0, I was never totally comfortable. And that came shining through in the final against Windsor’s pro Graeme Williams. In the end, all Graeme had to do was keep the ball within the boundaries of the red lines. He was guaranteed I was able to take care of the rest. If you can’t keep the ball out of the middle, or the tin, you can’t win. I accommodated Graeme perfectly. I lost 3-1 in the final, did not deserve to win. He was clearly the better player here.
Peter Logan copied me pretty much in every way. In the 50+ division, he also won his first 2 matches 3-0 and then lost 3-1 in the final. Speaking to him afterwards, it appeared that his “hit-the-ball-to-the-T” ploy worked for him about as much as it worked for me - not at all. Alan Howard was bounced out of the 60+ division early on too, and he very much struggled with his local opponent who served lobs that missed hitting the ceiling by an inch every time, then would die on the back wall. Even I was jealous of those serves. Alan’s length for the match was worse than Pete’s and mine!
Justin Winkelman lost his second round in the C draw, and probably played the best from all of us. His opponent was tough, but Justin made him earn the victory. Josh Slominski was also in the C draw and won his first 2 matches before going down 3-0 in the quarter final to Dan Petoran of Windsor. Dan is big fellow, which makes it tougher to get in front of him on the narrow courts. He also hits it rather hard which made controlling a tight length more difficult. Josh also battled like the rest of us to be consistent enough in order to put Dan under more pressure. It proved to be very easy this weekend to spray the ball, miss-hit the ball, hit the 2 inch lower tin, and relentlessly crowd oneself.
It’s hardly an excuse. Our opponents were on the same court as us, and they adapted better. Despite all that, we’ll be doing it again next year in the never ending pursuit of figuring out how to play squash on courts designed for smurfs.
|Ray Lindsay demonstrating the "Haka".|
Socially, this is one of the best tournaments around. While there weren’t any stand-out moments during the weekend that could be called legendary, the most entertaining segment came during the Saturday night dinner. It is a tradition that New Zealand native and Cleveland pro Ray Lindsay perform the “Haka” dance in front of the crowd, standing on a table with his shirt off. Before his ritual, Ray insisted that fellow pros Scott Denne and Drew Williams tell a joke each for the audience. Scott wasted no time an immediately rolled off a couple of rip-snorters leaving the non-conservatives in hysterics and the more conservative amongst us wishing they could un-hear what they just heard. Drew then strolled up to the microphone and in 3 lines managed to make Scott’s jokes sound like a Sunday morning sermon. Once everyone regained their senses, Ray did his thing, belted out his war dance and then we all left for the party until the wee hours of the morning.