Monday, September 29, 2014

READY TO TACKLE WINDSOR



Windsor Tournament October 24-26

Fresh off our annihilation in the Cross Border Challenge, with a sinister smirk, the carrot has once again been dangled tantalizing in front of our faces as Windsor host their annual ‘Fall Down Classic’. And just like the Wile E. Coyote who cannot stop himself from chasing the Road Runner no matter how disastrous his previous infinite attempts have been, we can’t (shouldn’t) resist the opportunity to have a stab at glory.

Our chances are somewhat better than the Coyote’s, as there have been some DAC winners in Windsor over the years. Plus, unless you have a racquet manufactured by a company called “ACME”, it shouldn’t blow up in your face, strangle you, slam you into a wall, or throw you off a mile high cliff. Hopefully, it will simply hit the ball … within those red lines.

If you are keen to improve your squash, then it is imperative that you do not miss out on events like these. There are not a lot of tournaments available to us in Detroit, so you should take advantage when you can. Playing matches outside of the DAC walls, on courts you aren’t used to, against people who don’t know you and simply want to take you to task, is an experience you won’t get any other way. Learn how to handle such conditions, learn what it takes to win under pressure and what is expected of you. Simply put: Toughen up.

And to compete successfully in Windsor is tough. Their categories are A (5.0+); B (4.0 – 4.9); C (3.1 – 3.9); D (3.0 and lower); 40+; 50+; Women’s A; Women’s B; Doubles A, B and mixed. Because of a wider range of players within each category, you will need to be ready to work extra hard and push yourself. It will be challenging, but as I mentioned above, it is a vital practice for everybody. There will also be an Open category where I will be playing.

Click on the poster to see all the details and how to enter. Registration deadline is October 13. You will need to register directly with Windsor. If you are on the fence, let me push you off it… do it.

Friday, September 19, 2014

BATTLE OF WITS FOR THE BLITZ



Blitz Tournament – Friday October 10

What’s with all push for fitness, huh? Run further, jump higher, lift heavier… Whatever happened to cutting corners? Taking the easy way out. Why drag something out when you can end it straight away and then move on? Of course, that attitude would completely contradict every philosophy about squash, but don’t let that stop us as we rush you through the first Blitz Tournament of the season!

I think Usain Bolt has it right. All this guy does is run for less than 10 seconds, and he’s hailed as a God, adored by the world and has enough money to buy whatever he wants. It’s not as if he’s doing anything special – just about anyone can run for 10 seconds. Since we are in the realm of absurdity here, I read somewhere that Bolt receives around $250,000 per meet, which if you calculate the 9.8 seconds he runs his race, makes him earn $91,000,000 per hour! It got me thinking what other sporting events take only a split second of time to complete, but nothing I found comes even close to Bolt’s figures.

Which brings us to Blitz Squash. Matches in this event have known to last less than 60 seconds. Mind you, we’ve also had games lasting longer than 10 minutes, so you definitely may need to work hard anyway. You’ll get (approx) 4 matches minimum, each match being one game to 15 points. Handicaps will be assigned and in some cases it is not unusual for one to walk on court with a 13 point lead. (It is also not unusual for such match-ups to last only 2 rallies as the chasing player clobbers 2 tins in quick succession!) For a lucky few that survive the group stage, there will be a knock-out draw to determine the top 3 place getters.

As is customary for such events at the DAC, we will wheel the keg out. Now, don’t get tricked into thinking that your consumption prowess needs to match the theme of the tournament. No extra points will be awarded for downing your beverage in record time, it may, however, impress any witnesses. Or disgust them.

Don’t be shy – players of all levels are invited to participate. Experience new opponents and meet new people. These events are built on the social side. We need a minimum 16 players to run it; you do need to be a Blackballer to play. Registration deadline is Wednesday, October 8. Your hourly rate for this event? Zero. But we give you beer. And a good social time.

Monday, September 15, 2014

PLENTY OF ‘W’S IN WINDSOR



Cross Border Challenge

“Whipping.” “Walloping.” “Worked.” “Whacking.” “Wrecking.” The one ‘W’ that we didn’t do is “Win”. As usual, however, I do like to emphasize positives and even though it was our goal to bring victory for the DAC and return proudly with the Cross Border Trophy, we can all be satisfied with our splendid efforts for one, and two, for the fact that we had 22 participants! Considering that the event took place in Windsor, that’s a record!

Also gratifying was the amount of ‘new’ faces that made the short journey through the tunnel. The interest is growing - especially at the 3.0 level and below - and it is definitely one of the best things one can do to gain invaluable experience. If only the 4.0+ level players would follow suit.

The day started off evenly enough for the two clubs. There were 3 matches to kick off the day at 2pm. Patrick Petz and Mike Petix dominated their doubles match and took all 3 games comfortably. Our 2 singles competitors didn’t fare as well, and we lost one in 3 and the other 3-2. But the day was young. As it turned out, that day turned rather bleak fairly quickly. We didn’t win another match for 2 hours.
Graham Duguid, Doug Fields, Mike Counsman, John Dunwoody


Of the next seven matches completed that continuously added notches in the Windsor win column, only 2 of them were 3-0. Three of them were 3-1 and in all honesty we did stand a decent chance of grabbing those victories. They would have needed to be at the top of their games to do so, but they were by no means blasted off the court. The other 2 matches went 5.

‘Match of the Day’ must be handed to Josh Gershonowicz. Playing against Peter Ryan, I was a little skeptical that Josh stood much of a chance. But he unmistakably proved me wrong. Losing the first game 12-10, he hustled himself to a 17-15 game 2 win. Josh’s counterpunch had Peter coming back with one of his own as the 3rd game went Windsor’s way. Josh swung back and muscled through the 4th to set up the grueling 5th neither player really had the lungs for. But that didn’t stop them from fighting for every rally and back and forth it went - all the way for fitting tie-break. Josh had his chance at 11-10 up, but a cross court from Peter (un)luckily found the middle of Josh’s chest, handcuffing him completely. It was the only opportunity he would get as Peter somehow scored the next two points for the 13-11 victory. Lady Luck was not on our side.

Not to be outdone, running himself into exhaustion was Shri Rangaswamy. He had it tough against a shooter and after the first game I thought Shri had no chance. But he stormed back with plenty of better, tough length, which of course makes it difficult for anybody to hit winners from. Another 5-setter was ours for the taking, but once again it slipped from our (Shri’s) fingers. He gave it all he could - and I’m sure he felt every piece of it on Sunday!

In a good trend, we had 4 women sign up to represent. It was a nice touch that Windsor managed to give each of them a female opponent as well. Unfortunately for us, they were all a little too skillful for our tastes and our ladies went 0 for 4. But, it was great to see them out there and I’m sure we’ll be seeing some of them come over to the DAC for some ladies only practice sessions.

The DAC’s second win came from our ever more reliable Sante Fratarcangeli. Sante took care of business 3-1 with a solid performance. Naturally, playing just once is never enough for him, and Sante was kind enough to step in for a DAC player who cancelled late in the day. He won that match too (also 3-1) for our third victory. Our fourth and final win was from new member Ian Edwards who scored all 3 games against Michaela Birley.
Tom Porter and Andy Adamo

For the final match of the day, Andy Adamo had it tough against the wily Tom Porter. Obviously we had lost the day, but that didn’t stop Andy from pushing Tom the entire match. Tom is an awkward customer to handle with his flicky technique and unanticipated angles. Andy almost pulled off the upset, but it would another 2-3 result to ponder.

Overall we lost the day 16 matches to 4. Wow. I knew we would have it tough when I saw the match-ups, but I did think we could have made it closer - we had our chances to do so. We still would have fallen short even if we had won all the 5-set matches. No matter, we need to do better. And we’ll get our chance in April when we host them at the DAC. Most importantly, we all had a great afternoon of squash and socializing. Thank you to Windsor and Dave Guthrie for being the gracious hosts and thrashing us with such friendly smiles!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

AMERICAN SQUASH-WOLVES IN LONDON



Nash Cup, September 26-28

Remember the classic film? The American backpackers are attacked by a werewolf in the Yorkshire moors, killing one and turning the survivor into a werewolf himself. Every full moon, he would transform into the creature and go hunting for victims through the streets of London. Similarly, we have all been bitten by the dreaded “squash-wolf”, which is a darn sight worse since we don’t have to wait for full moons to morph into beer-thirsty, racquet swinging fiends, searching for drinks and hungry for victory. We are like that permanently.

Now is your chance to take that hankering to the quaint little village of London and unleash your inner beast upon the local population. The “Nash Cup” is ready to accept your presence for their ever more popular annual squash tournament. It is scheduled for the weekend of September 26-28, which – in case you haven’t been keeping up with the DAC calendar – is the same time as the “Back-to-the-Club Night” party. Now I know that it is tough to compete with our biggest bash of the year, but if you are so inclined to join me in London, it would be a fantastic chance to not only play some very tough squash and gain a ton of experience in the process, but you will also get the opportunity to watch the professionals and learn even more! That pro men and women! It would also be a chance to let your hair down (grow) and attack the neighboring establishments.

Going from past years, the standard at this event is very high. You have a number of categories to choose from:
  1. Open. If you can compete with me, enter this one.
  2. Men’s A. If you can compete with Jed (our club champ), enter this one.
  3. Men’s B. If you are a 4.5 – 5.0+, enter here,
  4. Men’s C. If you are a 3.5 – 4.4, this is your domain.
  5. Men’s D. If you are 3.4 or below, you belong here.
  6. Women’s A. If you are female, and can play with Jed, enter here.
  7. Women’s B. 4.5 – 5.0+.
  8. Women’s C. 3.5 – 4.4.
  9. Women’s D. 3.4 and below.

You will definitely need to bring your ‘A’ game, your animalistic determination to do well at this event. Squash-wise that is. Party-wise, I think we should have that covered! And party at this tournament is almost a requirement of entry. The women’s pro final will be scheduled for the Friday night (Sept. 26th) and the men’s pro final for the Saturday night, beer pong tables will be set up, you will be hard pressed not to enjoy yourself. All for a $70 CAD entry fee. Bargain.

For registration and accommodation information, check out the link: http://www.nashcup.com/amateur-draw/ . The deadline to enter is September 21. Ready to be an American Squash-Wolf”? This is a weekend you should absolutely sink your teeth into. Don’t make me the only DAC representative. (The lone wolf…!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WINDSOR REDEMPTION



Cross Border Challenge - Saturday, September 13 @ Windsor

Our winning streak over the Windsor squash club came to a spectacular crashing halt in April when they pulverized us 20 matches to 8 – not to mention that within those 8 victories, 4 of them were on the doubles court! Even our uber-patriotic uniforms could not deter them from walloping us (it probably gave them good reason to laugh, though!). The 28 matches was a record for the Cross Border and although I don’t expect we’ll reach such heights this time around, we should be able represent in solid numbers.

Even though we had great participation, it’s hardly worth calling the Guinness Book of World Records to see how far off we were from the most registrations ever for a single event. There was recently a table- tennis tournament in Tokyo that had 791 players (and an estimated 188 million viewers in China alone… squash could use a number like that!). Sounds like a lot, but the record number for a single table-tennis event stands at 2,038. (Before the event started, there were a lot more, but 288 of them no-showed! I wonder how frustrated the organizers were?) Squash hasn’t quite been able to eclipse that participation level. The best I’ve heard about is still impressive: US Squash Junior Open had over 800 players in 2012. That event attracts players from all over the world.

A fencing tournament in Ohio this year attracted more than 4,300 musketeers… ummm, I mean fencers. That’s one huge sword fight. But all that pales in comparison to a woman’s only bowling event that attracted over 77,700 of them. It took 96 days to complete. Who has three months to play a tournament? I wonder how many courts we’d need to run a draw of that size…? The parking must have been a nightmare. As the line for the loo. (Makes our DAC Classic look puny!)

This will be our 16th meeting over the years with Windsor, and currently they lead the overall head-to-head with 9 victories to our 6. We need to close the gap and we need you to help us. Singles or doubles, step up and represent the good ol’ U. S. of A. and more importantly, the DAC! Patriotism is definite must. I’m sure with help from Sante, we can utterly overdo the red, white and blue, splash it around shamelessly. Clothing, flags, tattoos, badges… whatever screams “America”, display it with pride!

E-mail me if you wish to be a part of our team and join in on all the fun. Matches will be at Windsor, starting around 3pm. A keg will be available for all to enjoy (it will probably be Canadian beer in it, but in this case, we can hardly complain about that!). It doesn’t matter what level of player you are – along with Windsor’s pro – Graeme Williams – we will attempt to find a competitive match you. Registration deadline is Monday, September 8.

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